Whether you are artistically inspired by Mozart, intrigued by Sigmund Freud’s childhood, or simply a fan of “The Sound of Music,” universities in Austria boast exciting academic and cultural experiences for international students. This German-speaking country, situated at the heart of Europe, is a gateway to Europe’s rich history of art. There are unlimited opportunities to explore art in all its forms, with inspiration all around you! In Austria you can tour majestic castles and palaces, get lost in the heavily wooded countrysides, or simply enjoy a cup of coffee in a kaffeehaus with a delicious serving of kaiserschmarren.
Austria is home to breathtaking natural escapes like views of the Alps, both cultural escapes too, from museums to palaces. Choosing where to earn your degree and which of the Austrian universities for international students is your cup of tea may take some serious thought.
Considered Europe’s capital of classical music, the capital city Vienna is an ideal place to earn a degree in music or the arts. Walking through the cobbled streets on a fine summer afternoon may give you the musical inspiration you had been searching for! The University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna is a specialized university where international students can obtain an artistic or musical degree. The University of Vienna, an internationally recognized institution, is also a top choice for degrees in linguistics and geography. In your free time, you can visit the baroque Schönbrunn and Belvedere Palaces, explore the Imperial Palace, or watch theater plays and performances. The kaffeehauses scattered through the city center are perfect to escape to, and a good way to experience Viennese culture.
Innsbruck, the capital of Austria’s western state of Tyrol, is also a popular choice. If you study here, you can stroll through the Hofgarten, or Old Town, as well as pay a visit to the holiday villages and summer houses. The city is surrounded by sunny alpine plateaus that will always keep you mesmerized. During the winter break, don’t miss the internationally renowned winter sports center: the perfect place to put your skiing skills to the test.
Located on the German border, Salzburg gives you distinct views of the Eastern Alps, and is also popular for its baroque architectures. After Vienna and Innsbruck, it has the largest student population in Austria. Home to the University Mozarteum Salzburg and the University of Salzburg, both Austrian universities are popular choices for many local and foreign students. It is the birthplace of musical genius Mozart, and you can take the opportunity to visit his residence and learn about his childhood. Salzburg is also the setting of the film “The Sound of Music”! No wonder Austria is a popular destination for artists.
Degree Programs in Austria
Given the popularity and international recognition received by music and art institutions, universities in Austria are definitely a top choice for students who wish to pursue their degrees in this field. However, there are also popular degrees in science, and some of the popular majors at Austrian universities are in the arts, business, social sciences, and European culture.
Most of the universities in Austria offer a broad range of degree programs, from humanities to applied science. This country is known for its teaching method, which is a combination of a long tradition of higher education plus state of the art research. Whether you are planning to pursue a bachelor, graduate, or postgraduate degree, state and private Austrian universities for international students in Salzburg, Innsbruck, Vienna, and all other major cities, will offer the specialism that you are looking for.
You can earn a bachelor's degree in six to eight semesters, however classes are typically taught in German so a good command of the language is necessary. Make sure to contact the university to confirm language requirements. Graduate and postgraduate degrees are taught in English, and there are several research programs specifically designed for international students in different fields. Unlike other European or American universities, the academic year usually starts around the first week of October, and ends in the last week of September. Schools observe winter and holiday breaks, so be sure to make the most of these!
Whether it is music, fine arts, or applied arts, Austria’s unique position as a meeting point of different artistic styles and traditions provides opportunities for public performances.
For business and social science majors, Austria’s exceptionally developed social market economy lays the ground to learn about the volatility of the world market. You will get a chance to be exposed to the nature and processes of the big international companies, such as Siemens and Porsche Holdings, and even get a chance to do your internships with them!
Earning a degree in European studies is also interesting for those who would like to have a deeper understanding of the culture, history, and society of Europeans. You can also feed your interest in literature, poetry, and prose with this degree. You can find inspiration on what to write by merely taking short walks around the city centers!
Accommodation & Visas
On a more practical note, visa applications and figuring out your accommodation can be a little stressful. However, you can definitely ace both with a little preparation.
Whether you prefer sharing a room with a friend in an apartment, living in dormitories, or staying at student residences, the Austrian Exchange Service (OeAD) can assist you. Typically, applications can be a little tough because of the bulk of applications that the institution receives, so it is important to apply six months before your intended stay at universities in Austria. You can also contact a university’s international office for more specific guidelines.
The same goes for visa applications, especially for non-European students. Application documents vary from one country to another, so it is a good idea to visit the Austrian Embassy in your home country for more specific information on the application process. Students from E.U. and E.E.A. member countries and Switzerland do not need a visa, but they do need to register at the Austrian Immigration Office upon arrival.
Benefits & Challenges
Deciding to earn your degree in Austria comes with certain considerations. Generally speaking, it is an ideal destination for people who are into music or the arts. On the plus side, it will give you cheap access to cultural performances all year-round, and offers a student-friendly environment.
It is also a gateway to thousands of opportunities for internships, and connections with big international brands and different institutions related to the United Nations, if you plan on pursuing a related career. If you plan on taking trips, Austria is right in the middle of Europe, so it’s easy to spend a day or two in Prague, or a weekend in Munich.
On the other hand, the relatively high standards of living might be a concern for you. On average, you might spend €800 to cover your expenses for the month. But there are definitely several ways for you to spend less, such as getting a bike, and planning and cooking your meals!
Not being able to speak or understand the German language can be a little frustrating, especially if you want to attend cultural activities in between classes that are only hosted in German. But don’t fret: the majority of people are fluent English speakers.
Choosing to earn your degree at one of the many Austrian universities for international students, especially considering it’s a non-English speaking country, may give you the jitters. But as they say, they best way to learn is to embrace fear, and you’ll be surprised to see yourself adopting and owning the experience of getting your degree abroad!