Settled in the heart of Europe on the northeastern slopes of the Alps, Austria has long been one of the most influential countries on the continent. It is a globally oriented nation with a high standard of living, magnificent architecture, and some of the most beautiful mountain scenery you could ask for. Home to some of the greatest artists, musicians, and thinkers in history, study abroad in Austria, a small country of 8 million people, will be an enriching experience for students of all academic interests.
Austria is a landlocked country, with a primarily mountainous terrain, sharing western borders with Switzerland and Liechtenstein, with Italy and Slovenia to the south, Hungary and Slovakia to the east, and Germany and the Czech republic to the north.
Vienna is Austria’s capital and largest city by far, home to nearly one-third of the country’s population. Known as the “City of Music” for its rich legacy in opera and classical genres, today Vienna is also regarded as one of the world’s most livable cities, because of its affluence, architectural beauty, and easily navigable infrastructure.
Salzburg is another popular destination for study abroad in Austria. A much smaller city than Vienna, Salzburg is a popular student town because of its three major universities and variety of smaller academic institutions. Infamous for being the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Salzburg retains a quaint charm, and its Old Town is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Other common destinations for study abroad in Austria include Graz, Linz, and Klagenfurt. Bear in mind that English may not be spoken as commonly in these smaller cities, so start brushing up on your German language skills if you are planning to study abroad in Austria off the beaten trail!
Studying Abroad in Austria
Those who study in Austria will likely enroll in courses either at a larger university alongside Austrian students or at a smaller international institution alongside fellow study-abroaders. However, your learning environment all depends on the study abroad program you choose and your level of German language comprehension, as most courses at larger universities are taught in the native language. No matter where you study in Austria, it almost guaranteed that you will be taking courses taught by fully accredited professors and earn academic credits that are fully transferable to your home university.
Popular subjects of study in Austria include Music, History, and Psychology (Vienna was the home of Sigmund Freud, after all). You will typically have a wider selection of courses to choose from if you enroll in courses at a large Austrian university; however, smaller study abroad institutions tend to tailor course subjects to international students, which can be highly rewarding too.
German Language courses are also usually undertaken by international students who study abroad in Austria, whether they are beginners or advanced speakers. If you are currently studying German, then studying abroad in Austria and making the effort to communicate with locals as much as possible will advance your fluency by leaps and bounds. If you are new to the German language, even learning the basics can be a big help navigating everyday life outside the classroom while studying in Austria!
Scholarships & Costs
Austria is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, so studying abroad in Austria won’t exactly be the cheapest venture you’ve ever taken. Just be sure to plan a careful budget and not go overboard while living and studying in Austria. There are plenty of free things to do in Austria’s major cities, you just have to look for them. Many universities will help provide financial aid for eligible students to offset tuition costs, and there are a large amount of scholarships out there just waiting to be utilized!
Accommodations & Visas
Homestays and student dormitories are the most common housing options offered to international students who decide to study in Austria. Homestays can be a great way to immerse yourself more deeply in the Austrian culture, as you will form close bonds with your host family and become part of a local household. Dormitories are also a great option, giving you the opportunity to interact with peers from all over the world around the clock.
Your study abroad program provider or host university should help you organize a student visa that is valid for the duration of your stay in Austria. If your study abroad program in Austria is shorter than three months or you are a citizen of the European Union, then you may not need a visa at all. More details about the Austrian visa policy and how it applies to you can be found through GoAbroad’s Embassy Directory.
Benefits & Challenges
The Great Outdoors. From hiking to skiing and snowboarding, Austria has some of the best adventure travel opportunities in all of Europe. How many other places can you so easily escape to the Alps for a weekend getaway?
History Speaks. Austria has found itself at the heart of many European struggles throughout history, most recently serving as a linchpin for both World War I and World War II. Studying abroad in Austria will allow you to learn all about the rich cultural tradition and political turmoil which have helped shape Austria into one of Europe’s most important countries.
Language Learning. German is an increasingly valuable language to know in the global market, and Austria is a thriving alternative destination (to Germany) where you can strengthen your language fluency. Most Austrians speak English well, so it will be up to you engage them in conversations in their native tongue.