The “Living Book Day” organized by UNIPort – the career advisory body at the University of Vienna -- turned the beautiful reading room of the University of Vienna Library into a exciting venue of exchange.
66 personalities from different fields -ranging from CEO’ s, the chiefs of HR, Journalists, Professors, Marketing Directors, Film Produces, and even UN representatives - were ready to act as living books telling students in a 25-minute one-on-one “speed-date” about their profession and experiences in life – what they achieved and how, where they came from and how they got there.
From 4 till 7.30 the “Living Books” were available for rent and there was a great rush in the entrance room where about 500 Students were wanting to speak to their most favoured books.
The books covered all fields, from the field of education, media, international organizations, NGO’s, and also big private businesses like the Austrian railways, the ÖBB, or the Austrian petrol giant, OMV, as well as the cosmetic company L’Oreal, and the telephone giant, T-Mobil.
The experiences, and the different steps in life which lead each Living Book to their current situation were meant to give the students hope for the future and help them understand the different creative options they have in life. It was not primarily a talk about what steps would lead to the right career but more a talk to understand the different paths of life.
Many students, notably ones at the end of their studies and already writing their thesis felt this was the perfect opportunity to finally have a view of life from a different perspective than the lecture rooms and get a glimpse of the real working life. They were also anxious to know what options they have and what chances they could take. If it was wise to join a big company or to try to start one’s own business. This was a perfect place to get to know interesting people and be able to engage with them in a personal dialogue.
While students may have been the ones benefitting from the short encounters, it was also obvious from the enthusiasm of each Living Book and their willingness to be lent out again and again that they enjoyed the event as much as their “readers” if not more.
Janos Tisovszky and Irene Hoeglinger-Neiva - the Living Books from the United Nations Information Service, Vienna – were fully booked through out the 4 hours, with students coming to them even in the breaks to ask about the different career paths and possibilities at the UN. Students were especially interested to understand how Irene and Janos got into the Oranization and how then they advanced in their careers and in turn wanted to know what they have to do to get there.
Many students from communication science were very keen to understand how UN communication works and many of them were indeed encouraged to apply and join UNIS as Interns in order to comprehend how the UN works from the inside.