Get ’em young

7 Oct

This morning I had cause to walk past the university campus at about 8 a.m. I was simply astounded to see a group of what looked like students gathering at that hour on a Saturday for what looked like a kind of race, possibly as a team-building  activity. The semester started this week and various orientation efforts have been made by all the Viennese universities. One reason this made an impression on me is that such events are a relatively new phenomenon here, inspired, I believe, by what U.S. universities do for their new students (who, in contrast to the Austrian students, of course, pay quite a bit for their education).

Particularly interesting was the set-up activity. The students must be starting at the medical school because the sponsors of the event were clearly pharmaceutical companies (see photos below). A lot has been done in the last 25 years in Austria to break the grip of the pharmaceutical companies on doctors (in those days the presents–and the creativity with which the drug companies circumvented the, then much looser, regulations–almost defy description). Now the motto seems to be “Get ’em young,” before the regulations kick in.

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