A Guide To Gap Year Abroad in Austria
Austria is a small mountainous country bordering Germany on the northern slopes of the Alps. Keeping with its long history of cultural magnificence, Austria today offers one of the highest standards of living in the world amidst some of the most beautiful scenery to boot. Doing a gap year in Austria will be a rare opportunity to explore one of Europe’s most impressive countries. Home to some of the greatest artists, musicians, and thinkers in history, doing a gap year in Austria will be an enriching experience for those seeking a global perspective and fresh breath of inspiration.
Austria is a fairly small country with a population of just over 8 million citizens. Most of the country lies at a high altitude in the northern and eastern regions of the Alps, which makes for world-class hiking, skiing, and other outdoor adventure activities. Quaint green alpine towns huddle together in mountain valleys between the big cities creating unparalleled views that create lasting, vivid memories to be acquired during Austria gap years.
Vienna. You’re so ambitious for a juvenile…when will you realize, Vienna waits for you? 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. Vienna is also Austria’s capital and largest city by far, home to nearly one-third of the country’s population. Most gappers choose to settle in for their program in Vienna the country’s capital and largest city.
Other cities that are common locations for gap year programs in Austria include Salzburg, Graz, and Linz. While no other city comes close to Vienna in size and global influence, these alternative destinations can offer a more quaint and authentic experience of the Austrian lifestyle. Many gap year programs in Austria will further take you to several cities and towns across the country, so you do not have to choose just one!
You’ll find a wide range of activities to fill up your gap year in in Austria. Here are a couple of the most popular activities for gappers looking to do a gap year in Austria:
Language Immersion. While many Austrians speak English fluently as a second language, German is still the native tongue spoken across the country, offering a great opportunity for gappers to enhance their language skills in everyday conversation. Language courses are typically offered at all levels, from beginning to intermediate to advanced. If you already have a little German under your belt, then taking a gap year 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 while taking a gap year in Austria!
Ski Instructor. Austria is home to world-class ski resorts and runs and places a mountainous emphasis on the après ski culture. So why not spend a gap year in Austria working as a ski instructor? Wannabe ski instructors can spend their summer training and qualifying and have a guaranteed job working as a ski instructor in Austria in the winter. Plus, you get a free lift ticket to shred all the powder you want between lessons and on your days off. Der Berg ruft – the mountain calls!
Costs. Austria is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, so suffice to say it will not be the cheapest place for a gap year abroad. Still many costs of living are covered in general program fees, so gappers will not have to worry too much about on-the-ground expenses. To help cover the costs of a gap year program in Austria, students should make an effort to take advantage of all the scholarships and funding opportunities, like FundMyTravel, before heading to Austria.
Accommodations. During a gap year program in Austria you will likely be put up in either a homestay or enjoy dormitory style living. Each option has its perks; homestays are a great way to immerse yourself fully into Austrian family life and practice the language on a regular basis, while dorms can also be a fun environment living with other gappers from all over the world.
Visas. Students coming from within the European Union will not have to obtain a visa to travel to Austria, while those coming from outside of Europe face a different situation. Some citizens are afforded the opportunity to stay in Austria for up to three months visa-free, while others will have to apply for a visa before entering the country, all depending on what nation you are coming from. Be sure to check out the GoAbroad embassy directory for more information.
Safety. Austria is one of the safest countries in the world, with one of the lowest levels of serious crimes and street crimes in the world. However, since Austria attracts more than 25 millions tourists each year, the level of pickpocketing and bag snatching are high on main touristic areas. ATM frauds are likely your biggest threat so exercise caution while withdrawing money from the ATM, keep your credit card in sight, and monitor your transaction statements regularly.
Austria is the best of both worlds. No country waltzes so effortlessly between the urban and the outdoors as Austria. One day you can enjoy the perks of city life and the next you can meander through deeply carved valleys, past glaciers, and through flower-freckled meadows. Austria’s lyrical landscapes will sparkle like gemstones in your gapper eyes.
Gap years are an immense learning experience. And you can’t learning without overcoming a challenge or two. The language barrier, cultural adaptation, and cost of living can be challenging obstacles, but facing them you will help you grow immensely as a person and as an international traveler.
You are sure to fall in love with the Austrian culture and its own sound of music when you do a gap year in Austria. A land of beauty and global importance, Austria is a gap year destination enticing many to flock to its doorstep. By leaving your comfort zone and venturing on a gap year program in Austria, you will come to many realizations about the larger world around you—especially when viewing it from the top of the Alps!
Keep reading! How to Decide When to Take a Gap Year.
Take a Gap Year in Austria
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