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IES Abroad Vienna - European Society & Culture Semester/Year Program

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Great city, great program.

Vienna was the perfect location for study abroad. It immerses you in Europe's current political situation, being so centrally located, and it's easy to frame that experience in a historical context. The city itself is ranked the best place to live every year for good reasons—clean, safe, and cheap public transit, beautiful architecture, the excitement of a city surrounded by the escape of the countryside... But one of the greatest parts about my experience in Vienna was the IES staff. The people in charge of IES Vienna feel more like a family than anything else, and that made it so much easier to grow accustomed to a new city and see it as a home. The teaching faculty was also enthusiastic, and the European professors seemed to love the chance to work closely with American college students in small, discussion-based environments. My teaching internship at a Viennese high school also connected me with a tutoring job for a young Austrian family, which was a great way to earn extra money while feeling immersed in domestic Austrian life. My time in Vienna inspired me to apply to a Fulbright and some other teaching assistantships in Germany and Austria for after graduation, an opportunity I would not have pursued otherwise.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    8

Improvement.

Study abroad was incredible for me. It was really a time for me to get to know myself. It was my first time in an apartment, and I learned that I can handle that. The Center Staff was just amazing. They provided a lot of fun events over the course of the semester and were always there with travel advice. Vienna itself is an amazing city with so many museums and so much culture that it took me all five months to finish my bucket list. Then there was travel. I was able to travel to so many different places with many countries being reachable by train from Vienna. I learned a lot from experiencing so many different cultures. More than that, I learned about myself. Being in so many different foreign environments helped me learn who I really am and what's truly important to me, and I honestly believe I am a better person for having studied abroad in Vienna.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

A Great Semester in Vienna

I spent this past fall in Vienna, Austria and had an amazing experience. Vienna is an amazingly beautiful city that offers a large variety of cultural experiences. While studying abroad in Vienna, I was able to go to ballets, operas, museums and experience many of the delicious cafes. Vienna is a city that is very easy to navigate as it has a great public transportation system. IES is incredibly helpful in getting you set up in the city and the staff is a great support system to help you adjust to your new surroundings. IES gives each student housing and I lived in a great apartment with five other American students. The staff was incredibly helpful and willing to assist me whenever I had a question. Academically, IES offers a large amount of classes covering many different academic areas. Specifically, I enjoyed taking classes that had weekly outings to different museums and historical locations throughout the city. I felt that these classes really helped me to learn a lot about the city. Overall, I had an amazing semester abroad experience through IES in Vienna.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

An Incredible Semester in Vienna!

Studying abroad helped me become a more independent and confident person. Through IES I was able to meet new people and learn about different cultures while familiarizing myself with Vienna. Vienna is now a second home to me, and throughout the semester I was able to get outside of my comfort zone and explore new things!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    9

IES Vienna Fall 2014

I studied abroad in Vienna, Austria for my Fall 2014 semester, and it was truly everything I could ask for. Academically, it was challengingly, but not overwhelming, and the classes I took included so many valuable and interesting excursions that helped me better understand the city I was living in. A highlight of my semester was having class every week in one of the most incredible art history museums in the world, the Kunsthistoriches Museum! Also by having to take German, I felt a lot more comfortable living in a foreign city and felt more immersed in the culture. Instead of one of my classes, I had an internship, which gave my abroad experience an added, different dimension, and allowed me to understand how the European workplace is different from the American one. But the IES Abroad Center was more than just the great classes I took there. The staff is incredible. They are so kind and helpful, and are constantly on the lookout for things the students can participate in and how to enhance their experience. I was able to take a ballroom dancing class, attend a Viennese ball, eat at the best Heurigers, and go to the best Christmas markets, all because of the resources provided to me by the staff. IES Vienna also offers great trips, one to Poland and Germany, and then three trips in Austria, one of which is a ski trip in the Alps! I attended every trip, and highly recommend them all. There was plenty of time to make my own travel plans on weekends other than those, and the trips IES organized were some of my most memorable. As for my living situation, I lived in an apartment with two other girls from my program. Although we were a bit far from the city center and school, I had very few issues with my apartment and I felt safe in my district and during my commute. Overall my experience in Vienna was everything I could have hoped for and more. The only way that I can truly explain to someone how incredible this experience was is to tell them they have to go see for themselves!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Social Life

    8

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Academics

    9

IES Vienna Spring 2014

I spent Spring 2014 of my junior year abroad with IES Vienna. I would jump at the opportunity to study another semester with IES! Going abroad opened my eyes to new cultures and how much more there is in the world outside of my college bubble. I had the experience to travel around Europe, ski in the Alps, watch a Football match in London, sky dive in Italy and see the tulip fields in Amsterdam. I was able to experience new cultures and try new things that I will forever be grateful I had the chance to do! While in Vienna, I was able to have a teaching internship at a local school through IES, assistant teaching English to children ages 10-18. No previous German language was required! I also had the chance to immerse myself in a German speaking culture and vastly improve my German speaking and writing skills! My music class with IES had a component that required us to visit concerts and operas and write up reviews which was a rewarding way to engage in all the city had to offer. I took two of my classes in German and they offered so many different courses! IES sponsored several student trips and excursions which were a highlight and great way to see new places. I lived in an apartment with other IES students and was very well situated not too far from school which was in the heart of Vienna! In a few months, Vienna became my home. The people were all so friendly and welcoming. The city was clean, safe, and beautiful. I attended a ball, went ice skating by the Rathaus, spent hours in the Naschmarkt shopping, going to mass at Stephansdom, and exploring die Donau, the river that runs through Vienna. I absolutely loved my time with IES Abroad and highly recommend anyone interested in studying abroad to take advantage of the opportunity to go!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Social Life

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Academics

    10

Everything you could ask for

Throughout my time there I was constantly being surprised and awed by the city. One of the most beautiful sites to see was during the end of my first semester when they opened up the Christmas markets. I was so stunned, because they opened them up all over the city, each one more beautiful than the last. There had live music playing, drinks, and food at all of them. I loved going to them to look over all of the beautiful objects, and to get some gluhwein with my friends and enjoy the atmosphere. I would say they rivaled the awe I had at the first time I saw Schloss Schonbrunn, and walked through their gardens and zoo, and the beginning of my first semester.

I am an art history major who was also studying German, so I wanted to go to a city where I could study art and German. I knew I did not want to do an exchange, because I wanted the support of a staff like at IES that can help me with any problems that might arise, so I can concentrate on school. They offered a variety of classes in art history that specifically brought you to museums, and used art available within Vienna to discuss. I thought the hands on experience in this program was much better than any other program I researched. Plus, they offered an arts internship which I wanted to do, and several already planned trips I could sign up for. Furthermore the program starts out three weeks of intensive German, and no other classes, which I liked because it gave me time to adjust without being thrown right into classes. Also after intensive is over there is a week break before classes starts, which gives a lot of time to travel. Overall this program looked like the best overall experience in both traveling ability and academics.

I lived first semester in an apartment further from the city, with 3 other American students and one Austrian student. It was all modern finishing will a large balcony, and fully furnished. That apartment had three bedrooms, the Austrian student had her own, while the other two rooms were split with two girls each. It took about 40 minutes to get to class taking public transportation, and the laundry was downstairs which you shared with all other tenants in the building, and had to get special coins to use. I switched apartments second semester to and older one, but much closer to the city center, about a 10 minute walk. I shared that apartment with two other American students, and had my own room. This apartment had a shared laundry room too, but unlike the previous one laundry was free. In both apartments the landlords were great, helpful with anything questions we had, or willing to buy us anything else we needed, like a coffee maker. Nether apartment had air conditioning, a dryer so you had to hang dry all of your clothes, or had a separate living room, but just a large kitchen.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Social Life

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Academics

    10

The program is what you make it!

Joing an austrian cheerleading squad is my most memorable experience from Wien! It was so interesting to me to see the different style of cheerleading they have from what I am use to back home. I loved going to the football games and even practice with my Austrian squad. We had lots of fun tumbling and stunting together, and I loved being able to get into the Wien cutlure. It was a eunique experience and an amaying oportunity! Some of my best friends from that semester came form the cheer squad.

I chose this program because they offered a wide aray of courses in both German and English. I also loved the location because of the cultural experience I would encounter in such a diverse meltingpot in Europe.

I lived in a large villa-stlyed home with 5 other American roommates and one Austrian RA. Everyone except 2 people had their own bedroom. My bedroom had a bed, desk, chair, lamp, wardrob, night stand, and piano in it. The kitchen was large with 2 friges and plenty of counter and shlef space. We also had a nice dinning room conected to a living room. The backyard was spacious for Austria with a nice small deck. We had a laundry machine on the first floor and had to pay 40 euro to use it for the semester. The villa was located about 40 min away from the IES center, but IES also offers nice apartment styled housing closer to the city center.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

everything you could ask for

This study abroad program had everything you could think of to make a great study abroad experience. The staff makes adjusting to a new city easy and fun, starting from the orientation weekend and settling into our housing. The housing is great, a lot of the apartments are near the city center and close to other student apartments. Throughout the year IES hosts several different trips for students, and throughout both semesters I went on each of them. Not only were they inexpensive, but I got to see a lot of different areas of Austria I would not of seen otherwise, and they were a lot of fun. The ski snowboard trip was my favorite because of the deal we got on the rentals, and the fact that we went with so many other students, there was always someone to ski with whether you were just learning or experienced.
The best part of the program was the range of academics they offered, since you could take classes at both the IES center and the University of Vienna. The teachers at IES are great because they really try to get you out of the classroom and explore the city, and really engage the students. For example in my art history classes we spent most of the time in different museums, and even got free museum passes from them.
Overall Vienna is an amazing city to live in, since there is always something to do, places to explore, and events the city is planning. IES is very good about informing students of the different events being hosted, or places they should explore. One can even get internships through IES. If someone wanted to live in Europe, I could not think of a better city, centrally located in Europe, and a better staff to help you get the most out of your time.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Academics

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    N/A

  • Social Life

    N/A

The program is what you make it!

As a student living in Wien (Vienna, Austria) you have everything you could possibly want right at your fingertips. IES makes it easy and exciting for you to explore and connect with those interst on your level! You are studying in the center of a large city full of culture and history. There is so much to do or see you won't have enough time to do and see them all - it's amaying! The living situations are very nice and fully fernished, and most of them are close to the city. Because Wien is such a large place, they have a very advanced public transportation system that makes traveling around easy and afordable. The IES program offers a wide varriety of classes, and, if you are interested, you can take classes taught in German. You also have the oportunity to study at the Universty of Wien, but all of the classes there are taught in German. The faculty and staff of the IES group are all extreemly freindly and willing to help you with any needs you may have. They make studing abroad a blast and a blessing!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

An Amazing Experience

I chose my study abroad program based on the classes I needed to take to graduate on time. Though my original reasons for coming to Vienna were academic in nature, the program and the city itself made the experience truly fantastic.

The IES Vienna program provides many opportunities to experience the local culture and meet the local people, and the staff is filed with friendly people who are always happy to recommend new places to go. As residents of Vienna, the IES students are able to register in the Sports University, which offers almost any sport you can imagine with local students. Students are also encouraged to sign up for language buddies. This allows us to break out of the"American Bubble" American students at a program like this might find themselves in. Of course, you are still required to attend classes, but these are not overwhelmingly difficult. The professors tend to be passionate about their respective subjects, and many classes offer regular field trips to explore the city. Each class works to intertwine the history and culture of Vienna and Austria into the subject matter.

It did not take me long to fall in love with Vienna. Though a decently large city, constant community events make her feel like a much smaller town. At any given moment there could be a festival in front of the Rathaus, a market in front of Schönbrunn, or even a ball in the Hofberg. The city is a center for culture and history, but also has plenty of choice regarding bars and nightlife, combining the old with the new. The city is full of interesting museums, but you don't need to enter one to fully experience the history of the city: all the buildings speak of the influence of the Habsburg empire. Friends meet up to lounge in one of the many parks, or drink coffee in one of the many coffee houses. Since the city is located in the middle of the Vienna Woods, it's easy to leave the city to hike or enjoy the view from on top of Kahlenberg.

Vienna is ideally located in the center of Europe, making it a perfect home base for visiting the surrounding countries.

I never expected to love Vienna as much as I did, but it's hard not to fall in love with this beautiful city. Spending a semester there was a great choice, and one I'd happily make again!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

You need to do this for yourself.

Now that I’m back in America, reaquainted with my friends, family, and life I’d left behind, I’ve come to realize that the question, “OMG, how was your time abroad?!” is both the best and worst question; what makes it so difficult is the thought of summing it all up in one answer. The question is usually met with a sigh and a distant look as I recollect on my 4 months creating a life for myself, where every new turn led me on a life-shaping adventure. Studying abroad is hands down the best decision I’ve ever made for myself and I recommend it to anyone who wants to push their boundaries and forever see the world differently.

Now that I’m back, I can’t help but compare most everything I encounter; the buildings, the people, the customs that I was once so conditioned to follow. You can never really prepare yourself for the lasting impressions such an experience will leave. It’s hard to explain how I feel so different because it is simply a part of me now, but I can share that once you return from exploring parts of the world that never existed in your mind, there will be a constant buzz of excitement within you to get back out there and explore even more.

I went into this experience knowing that it wouldn’t last forever, so I worked hard to get the most out of living in a foreign city. My 3 main goals were:
1. Meet locals
2. Adapt to the culture
3. See places less traveled
It wasn’t easy, and it took some effort, but the friendships and memories I have because of that hard work will live with me forever and hopefully see me back in Vienna soon.

The IES team was a huge help for me to achieve these goals. The 2 receptionists were seen as living guides to Vienna. Any question was met with a slew of optional answers, which I see now as a push to get us out exploring. Beyond the receptionists was the team with whom every student made a special relationship. I never felt unwelcome when I would come to them with questions or just wanting to talk. These were local Austrians and they knew everything there is to know about living in Vienna and functioning in European society. They frequently went out of their way to make our experience the best it could be.

I took 15 credits between my classes: German Novice I, Austrian Art and Architecture, Comparative Youth Cultures, Experimental Screen Printing and a teaching internship where I taught English to school kids between the ages 11 and 16. This was the perfect course load for me as it enabled exploration and education of the city and history around me. The teachers were understanding of our goals as students here, so they catered their class schedule around our intentions of travelling and exploring.

Now that I’m back at my home University especially, I feel so much of a difference in myself and in comparison to others. After seeing so much of the world, I view any issue as a miniscule bump in the road. I can see how my friends at school have changed in the past 4 months, and when I compare it to myself, I feel all the more grateful that I’ve had this experience to make me a more worldly and thoughtful person.

I can’t stress enough how much this experience will change your life in all the best ways. You will see everything differently once you’ve seen it in Europe. I’ve changed many personal views and opinions, especially on America itself. I’ve learned that I can’t believe everything I’ve been told, so I rely on myself and my own perception to make sense of my world, which I believe to be one of the most important things for a person to do for themselves. I wish everyone could have this knowledge under their belt, but unfortunately not everyone has the means of doing so. If you can, then take this opportunity and run with it and come out a new person on the other side. It’s amazing over here.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    8

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    8

Ich liebe Wien

My time spent with IES Abroad in Vienna was one of the most enriching experiences of my life. Living and learning in the heart of central Europe allowed me to travel, make new connections, and grow as a person. Vienna's location in Europe made it easy to travel to much of Europe, including places I had previously not thought about going to such as the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovenia. With IES Abroad, I was able to study in the heart of the city in a beautiful palace, a perfect environment for learning with the great teachers IES brings in. The courses offered were diverse and I was able to be placed into most any class of my choosing. I appreciated that my teachers took the classes seriously, unlike so many abroad programs where students are not engaged. The teachers take a personal interest and truly wish for their students to get the most out their time abroad. IES Abroad offers trips and events throughout the semester that make socializing easy. I cherish my semester abroad and hope that students enjoy their time in Austria as much as I did.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    9

An unbeatable experience

Studying abroad with IES Vienna could not have been a more positive experience. I did not know much about Vienna before arriving, but it turned out to be a great place to study abroad. Every night there are tons of cultural activities going on in the city and it is also one of the safest cities I've ever been to, so I never felt inhibited because of that. The program itself was really good about organizing events for us and helping out with any issue we had from sicknesses to housing complications. Because I only took classes with Americans and had taken no German prior to the program, it was tough meeting Austrians and practicing German outside of class. Other than this, I absolutely loved my time abroad and would recommend it to anyone!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    9

Denkwuerdig, Kulturell, Das Heim, Bildend, und Historisch

"The most memorable study abroad experience... My choice to KNOW Vienna.

My roommate and I did decide to travel to Italy, Greece and France throughout our stay in Vienna, but we spent most of our weekends walking around and learning about our new home. We knew short cuts, what was close to where, and the most delicious hidden restaurants. I loved how much we knew about the city and how comfortable we felt there. My mom and dad each came separately to visit me. I didn't even realize it until they told me later that I hadn't shown them any of the same things, I completely showed them different parts of the city, restaurants, museums, etc. They thought that was super funny. I thought it was impressive that I was able to create itineraries to best suit them. I was proud of that. While most of our friends jetted off to another foreign land each weekend, my roommate and I fell completely in love with Wien. It'll always be a place I call home. I am so grateful I chose to get to know another place. I became part of the pulse and beat of the city. I blended into the locals and comfortably immersed into the culture. I loved our weekend in Wien adventures."

I was going to get a degree in German and I wanted to study abroad. I had already been to Germany a few times and knew I loved it so I decided to go to Austria instead!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Social Life

    6

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Academics

    8

Regrets? Had none.

The internships offered allowed me to interact with the Austrian community and it immersed me into the culture as well as learn more about the people there. Also, I got to learn a new language! I never had any exposure to German so going there, learning the history and the culture, it wasn't like anything I had ever experienced!

The cost was a lot cheaper than going to school back at the actual college, but overall, I was just hoping to go abroad for a change of scenery.

I was living in an apartment outside of Vienna's center. I was living with a couple other American girls and while we weren't that close, it was still nice to have someone to talk to when we were homesick. It was essentially like living in the dorms, but in an apartment setting and commuting back and forth to class every day.

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Academics

    8

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    6

Regrets? Had none.

One of the best experiences I've ever had and probably will ever had. I didn't know what I was getting myself into, but when I went, not only were the students there to help me, but especially the staff. The staff was always there to help you out and it was just like a really big family. I absolutely loved it.

Health and Safety:
Safest place ever. Just make smart choices and it'll be fine.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    9

IES Vienna

The IES program in Vienna was incredible. The staff is a wonderful community, all of whom are willing to help with anything and everything. The classes are interesting with professors from varied backgrounds. One of my professors was a curator at the Art History Museum which allowed us to have class in the museum once a week. Vienna is a beautiful city full of culture.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    7

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Health and Safety

    8

  • Social Life

    8

My Time Abroad

I studied abroad with IES Vienna in Fall 2014 and concentrated in the areas of politics and the arts. After months of planning, I could never truly prepare myself for the experience ahead. The orientation was held in a town called Mariazell, which is located in the Austrian Alps, and blew me away with its natural beauty and authentic Austrian culture. Amidst all the awkwardness and exhaustion, the administration did their best to make the whole cultural shift as painless as possible and help us to learn key German phrases. After orientation, we traveled to Vienna. I can without a doubt say that Vienna stole my heart with its splendor and beauty. My favorite part of the city remains St. Stephens Cathedral, which stood proudly in the center of the first district and always captivated me. In terms of my life in Vienna, I lived in an apartment conveniently located near the IES center, which is located in the historical first district. The apartment was large enough to accommodate four people and allow us to live together with minimal problems. My classes abroad were similar in workload to my home university. Among all the work, I was still able to travel to my desired destinations in Europe on the weekends, which shows the flexibility of the institution and the understanding that young college students want to travel. Also, the administration consists of amazing individuals that really wanted students to experience the best of Vienna and made themselves readily available to students if any problems arose. I could not have asked for a better way to spend four months in Europe and would recommend anyone to apply to this program.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    7

Study abroad for novices and veterans alike

Watching Richard Wagner's "Ring des Nibelungen" opera cycle at the Wiener Staatsoper: four operas spread out over two weeks! The IES Vienna trip to Steiermark (Styria) was also a wonderful experience. The trip is centered on the lovely city of Graz and its surroundings.

I chose the IES Vienna European Culture and Society program because I wanted a different German cultural experience than Germany and because I wanted to take courses through the University of Vienna not typically available through study abroad programs.

I lived in a language-pledge apartment with four other IES students and an Austrian residential advisor in Vienna's sixth district, about 2-3 kilometers from the city center. Our apartment had two bedrooms we shared as well as as two toilets, a bathroom, a kitchen, a living room, and a small dining room that doubled as our foyer. Our landlady lived in the apartment below us and was generally very responsive to any problems we had. The apartments were cleaned once every fortnight. There were 2-3 other apartments of IES students in the same building.

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Academics

    9

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Cultural Immersion

    7

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    7

Study abroad for novices and veterans alike

The European Culture and Society program of IES Vienna exists alongside the Music program as a full semester experience in the Austrian capital. The IES Vienna staff are enthusiastic and well-qualified. The official language of the program is English, however, with some prodding most of the staff will be happy to speak with you in German too. In addition to orientations and lengthier trips to destinations such as eastern Germany, Poland, Steiermark, and Oberösterreich, IES Vienna organizes a number of smaller events for students such as scavenger hunts, cooking classes, concerts, sport tournaments, and more. These contribute to a good dynamic amongst students in the program and usually help to ease the social and cultural transition into Austrian society.

Classes are offered both through IES Vienna and the University of Vienna. IES course offerings are quite varied and include subjects such as history, psychology, music, government, literature, film, German, and theater/drama. Only a handful of courses are taught exclusively German, however, and courses in the natural sciences and other more technical subjects are only available through simultaneous enrollment in the University of Vienna. The quality of instruction of IES courses is generally very good and most instructors occupy prominent positions within their fields of interest. Note that enrolling in the University of Vienna will necessitate staying beyond the end of the regular IES Vienna program for at least another month or two because the university semester does not end until late June/early July. It is a good idea to decide in advance whether you plan to enroll at the University of Vienna and book your travel to reflect this from the start. IES Vienna will allow you to continue staying in IES-provided housing between the end of the official program and your departure.

Students can also take part in an internship with numerous different organizations and businesses depending on their interests. These range from teaching English in local schools to working with Austrian organizations and businesses to translate documents, promote events, and work on smaller projects.

Housing options include living with fellow IES Vienna students, living with a host family, or seeking an apartment on your own. Living with other IES students can be fun, but it does limit your ability to improve your German skills and integrate into Austrian society. This can be remedied by opting to live with an Austrian residential advisor in a language-pledge apartment. Living with a host family also ensures a greater level of cultural immersion, however, this does limit your interactions with other IES students a little. Seeking your own apartment is a tricky undertaking that is usually not recommended. Most housing consists of a series of apartments located at varying distances from the city center with usually 3-6 other housemates.

The Austrian capital is a cultural mecca of operas, concerts, art galleries, plays, museums, and much more. Student tickets or standing-room prices will ensure that taking part in these events does not require significant financial outlays. IES Vienna staff and instructors do a great job integrating regular field trips and cultural activities in the city into both group activities and classroom learning.

Overall, IES Vienna is a great program for those venturing abroad for the first time and even veterans of the study abroad experience. My only criticism would be that the program does not do enough to encourage more cultural immersion through non-exclusive IES events and speaking German. However, if you have the desire to expand your horizons on your own, there are ample opportunities to do so and IES Vienna is usually happy to support you in these endeavors.

Overall Rating

5/ 10

  • Social Life

    5

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Program Administration

    7

  • Cultural Immersion

    6

  • Living Situation

    5

  • Academics

    4

Vienna Spring 2015

Academic:
The classes are not demanding allowing students to travel often or go out and explore the city. Classes did not take up all of my time with homework or frequent exams/papers, so there was always still more than enough time to explore the city and beyond. I appreciated that many of my classes made an effort to take us on field trips around the city to make real world connections relevant to the course. Each class works to intertwine the history and culture of Vienna and Austria into the subject matter and we often compared our own cultures to Austrian culture. There is a library, computer lab, and printers on site that students are able to use.

Staff:
The staff was always available for us and willing to offer cafe suggestions, travel tips, local advice, etc.

Living:
The location of my apartment was incredible! I was placed in the 6th district central to the U4 line (main subway line), the Naschmarkt (outdoor market), Mariahilferstrasse (main shopping area), and so much more. The location is extremely important when you study abroad because I was always able to drop my stuff off after class and continue my day walking around the city. My apartment houses six of us- a single room for our Viennese RA, a double room, and a triple room.

There were options of living in large houses with spacious accommodations in the suburbs. However, the commute was extremely long and many of those students weren't able to participate in many social events after classes because their commute could be over an hour and a half.

Food:
Austrian cuisine is extremely heavy and meaty. However, there are many options for other types of food. There was a wonderful sushi restaurant next to my apartment I would go to often with friends. The cafe culture is integral to Austrian history, so that is where you'll find great coffee and Apfelstrudels. Many people cooked for themselves and brought lunch to the IES Center because Vienna is pretty expensive.

Social Integration:
I lived with an Viennese RA, I had a language buddy, and I attended many local events. However, I still did not feel integrated with the locals. IES classes are strictly with American students in the IES center away from the University. There is an opportunity to take sports classes through the University and also classes in the University, but they are taught in German.

Culturally, I felt that I sought spots in the city and events only locals would go to and I was able to find some pretty unique spots/events by googling and asking the staff and my RA.

Health:
I was sick twice during the program and I was able to easily access medicine in the pharmacy.

Safety:
Vienna is absolutely one of the safest cities I have ever been to. There was honestly never a moment I felt unsafe or scared to be alone.

School Preparedness:
My home university prepared me with meetings with my study abroad advisor and a larger meeting with everyone going abroad in the spring that included any and all topics that would be relevant to being abroad.

Budgeting:
Vienna is a very expensive city and it's hard to live on a student's budget.
Money was mainly a concern towards the beginning of the program because I constantly wanted to explore new cafes and museums with friends. After about a month of constant spending, I began cooking my own meals and taking lunch to the IES center and budgeting my expenses. I made a list of priorities that I was comfortable spending money on and lessening how often I ate out at cafes.
At the beginning of your program, begin listing what you spend your money on and noticing what you should expect to spend more on and what you should expect to spend less on.

Language:
We were required to take German class three times a week for about an hour and a half each class. We had activities where we were required to go out into the Naschmarkt and use German to order our groceries. The class had an oral, reading, and writing focus. We had a test every two weeks and a quiz almost every class. My German teacher was very kind and willing to help us truly learn the language.

Everyday really does go by so quickly so make the best of everyday. Go out and explore a new street or cafe every single day. In the long run you'll be glad you made the most of your time abroad.