Austria is immaculate. It is a country where pristine nature mingles with high culture to create endless opportunities for self enrichment. Mozart’s symphonies soar past alpine forests on their way to the snowy mountain sides surrounding Salzburg, and reminders of Habsburg’s Vienna stand impressively grand and white beneath eternally blue skies in the nation’s capital. Austria has produced international trailblazers like Sigmund Freud and Fritz Lang, and continues to present the world with talent in every sector of society. Celebrated for its exceptionally high standard of living, gross domestic product per capita, and human development index scores, it has become a model for the developed world to follow and a great place to learn about a new field or to continue to grow in an old one.
Geography & Demographics
Austria is a landlocked country in Central Europe; its location has made it a site of unique global importance for centuries. It was in the city of Vienna that the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire was first discussed, and Austrians held active roles in both world wars of the 20th century. Over 40 percent of the country boasts thick forests, and the precarious Alps make much of Austria uninhabitable. Quaint green alpine towns huddle together in mountain valleys between the big cities of Vienna, Graz, Linz, and Salzburg creating unparalleled views that travelers come back speaking vividly of.
Austria has a temperate climate with four seasons. The average winter temperature is 32 degrees Fahrenheit while summer temperatures average at a comfortable 68 degrees Fahrenheit. With four seasons, there is varying beauty throughout the whole year worth seeing, though freezing temperatures and snow can sometimes cause road closures on major transportation routes in the winter months.
Food & Culture
Austrians speak German natively, though local Austrian dialects are also used throughout the country. Historically, the area was a Germanic territory until the Austro-Prussian war in 1866, and since then Austria has developed a notable national identity. There are a large number of foreign nationals from the former Yugoslavia living in Austria, as well as immigrants coming from Turkey, Hungary, and Poland. Naturalization is common for foreign-born residents, though regulations have become tighter in recent years. Austria uses the Euro for its currency, and joined the European Union in 1995 at the same time as Finland and Sweden.
There is much more to Austrian food and culture than Wiener Schnitzel, despite the way it dominates most conversations about popular European foods. Vienna is also the birthplace of apple strudel, and delicious baked delicacies can be found all throughout the city. Even the buildings in Vienna look like wedding cakes, the architectural delights are just as impressive of an ingredient in Austrian culture as the cuisine. On any given evening, classical music can be heard spilling out of one grand opera house as people dressed for a 19th century ball pour into another. In the morning, city residents can be found reading the newspaper and discussing politics at Viennese coffee houses. Education is prioritized by the government, which provides public, nearly free education through university. Venturing out of the city could lead to a plethora of outdoor activities, including alpine skiing and trekking, and the Austrian countryside is always ripe for exploring with its mountain pastures and small town markets.
Interning in Austria
Internship opportunities in Austria vary to include anything from business and law to art and theatre. Individuals can intern for just a semester, or stay for a full year and pick up German language skills as they work. Most programs have housing options available, with the chance to live with an Austrian family or make yourself at home in student housing and apartment style living.
Planning excursions is as easy as checking the readily available bus and train timetables, and there are more than a few worthwhile music and art festivals to check out throughout the year. There are programs across the country and chances to learn from resident mentors and teachers in a multitude of fields.