Vienna is known as the “City of Music” because it has been home to many of Europe’s greatest composers, yet it offers much more than sweet melodies to the modern high school student. With nearly one-third of Austria’s population living in the metropolitan area, it is the second largest German speaking city in the world. Beautifully settled on the eastern end of the Alps, it has also been perennially ranked as the world’s most livable city. During high school programs in Vienna, it will be easy to see that all the praise is well deserved.
High School Programs in Vienna
Many high school programs in Vienna are focused on German language immersion. German learners at any level, from beginning to advanced, can greatly benefit from daily lessons, while also gaining regular practice in the city streets beyond. Typically language immersion programs will require students to attend 20 to 30 German lessons per week, with each lesson lasting under an hour. Placement tests are often given the first day of class.
Beyond language learning, most high school programs in Vienna will offer additional opportunities for Austrian cultural immersion. Frequent field trips to local museums, concert halls, and other fun cultural activities are common. Some high school programs in Vienna offer academic credit for courses completed, in extracurricular topics such as Austrian History and Music (you even might be able to play with a local high school orchestra!), turning the program into a study abroad experience.
Summer programs will last between one and eight weeks, depending on how long each student wishes to stay in Vienna. Courses are often taught at local high school campuses or outside language centers. Students are generally under permanent supervision during any high school program in Vienna, so safety need not be a major concern for parents.
Life in Vienna
There is a reason why Vienna tops so many lists of international quality of life and livability rankings. First, it is architecturally stunning. Certainly one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, many of Vienna’s most famous buildings have been standing in-tact for centuries. During high school programs in Vienna, students can visit the palaces of old emperors, the concert halls of great composers, and the homes of such famous Viennese as Sigmund Freud and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
The layout of the city is also very pleasant and accessible, and public transportation is a breeze. You can get around town easily by utilizing the public bus and metro system (called the U-Bahn), and Vienna is so efficiently connected by rail that many workers commute everyday from hundreds of miles away. Sprawling across the Danube River in a valley under the Alps, and up-keeping many charming public parks to boot, Vienna is truly a magical place for high school programs abroad.
Like anywhere though, moving to Vienna will come with its fair share of culture shock. Austrian customs may differ from your home country’s, so it is important to be patient with the transition. Make a sincere effort to learn the language and engage with locals, and you will take a lot out of the interactions and friendships you make in Vienna.
Scholarships & Affordability
Another aspect which makes Vienna one of the most livable cities in the world, it is one of the wealthiest cities in the world; unfortunately this also means that living in Vienna will not be cheap. Most high school programs in Vienna will include the costs of room and board in upfront fees, but it is still important to keep a budget. If affordability is a concern, there are many scholarship and fundraising opportunities which can help you cover the costs of the trip.
Accommodation & Visas
Most high school programs in Vienna provide accommodation either in a homestay or in on-campus housing. The former is a great way to engage intimately with the Viennese culture on a daily basis and become close with an Austrian family. The latter can be fun too, as you will have the opportunity to live among peers from all over the globe. High school programs in Vienna will differ in the housing options offered, so take this into account when searching for the perfect program.
Students coming from most English-speaking countries will not have to apply for a visa, unless they plan on living in Vienna for longer than three months. There are some exceptions though, so communicate with your program provider about any visa requirements you might need to complete. You can also check out GoAbroad’s Embassy Directory for more information from an Austrian consulate in your home country.
Benefits & Challenges
Improve Your German. Nothing will enhance your language acquisition more than living in a place where it is spoken regularly everyday. In a language immersion program in Vienna, you will have the opportunity to apply your lessons everyday to to life beyond the classroom.
Live in the Heart of Europe. Vienna has been, both geographically and culturally, a beating heart for Europe. Located at the very center of the continent, it has had an important influence in the cultural, political, and economic landscape of the country for centuries. Today it is one of the world’s top cities for international conferences and congresses.
Connect With Your Peers. It may be a daunting decision to leave home and travel the world alone, but in Vienna you will make friends from around the world who took a similar leap. It is a great chance to network and expand your cultural perspective.