Austria is immaculate — pristine nature mingles with high culture to create endless opportunities for self enrichment. Mozart’s symphonies soar past alpine forests 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. Celebrated for its exceptionally high standard of living and GDP, it has become a model for the developed world to follow and a great place to learn about a new field as an intern in Austria.
Where to Intern Abroad in Austria
Austria is a landlocked country in Central Europe; its location has made it a site of unique global importance for centuries. 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. Here are some of the best cities for interning in Austria.
Vienna. Dripping with history from the likes of famous composers (Mozart, Beethoven, and Strauss) and the Habsburg monarchy, this imperial capital lies in northeastern Austria at the extension of the Alps. With its cobbled lanes, cozy coffee houses (Kaffeehauser), and elegant castles, this city will sweep you off its feet with its charm. Not to mention you can fill up on hearty dishes and fine wine to your heart’s delight. Here you can find internships that range from governmental to arts to music positions.
Salzburg. The birthplace of Mozart and the setting for “The Sound of Music,” this storybook city with baroque architecture of looming domes and spires is located in western Austria. Being a favorite tourist destination, your jaw will ache from dropping at the sights of the Salzburg Cathedral, Hohensalzburg Castle, and the Untersberg mountain. The backdrop of the stunning scenery makes for an excellent location for an internship.
Graz. You won’t want to miss out on visiting this UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site and university town in this city located in eastern Austria. The Old Town area boasts different architectural styles from Gothic to Contemporary with influences from neighboring countries. Outside of Old Town, you can explore Schloss Eggenberg, a Baroque palace, or view the city at Ruine Gostling.
Popular Fields for Internships in Austria
From liberal arts to law, you’ll find a wide range of internship opportunities in Austria. Most internships require a proficient to advanced level of German, and many offer classes to help you pick up German faster. Here are a popular types of internships for international students in Austria.
Education. Colleges and universities look for interns to help with administrative tasks, such as filing, proofreading documents, research, and other office tasks. Some of the placements coincide with a study abroad program in Austria, so you can take German classes and earn college credits while you’re there as well.
Fine Arts. Are you interested in music, theatre, or the arts? Austria offers internships in these areas, so you can explore the performance culture of Austria. This is a great way to learn from top instructors with one-on-one instruction. On the side, you could tour the vineyard regions or ski in the Alps if you’re feeling frisky.
Business. You can also find internships that are more business-oriented, such as research, computing, hospitality, commerce, manual trades, marketing, accounting, criminal justice, consulting, and more. Many of these placements also offer several intensive German language lessons per week, so you’ll work part-time and learn part-time.
Costs of Interning in Austria
Unfortunately, most internships are unpaid, but most program fees cover living expenses, such as the cost of food, housing, in-country transportation, some excursions, and language classes. Some programs do offer small monthly stipends around $250, but that’s only to cover personal expenses while you’re in Austria. You’ll also likely need to cover the cost of international airfare and visa costs, and FundMyTravel and scholarships are helpful ways to fundraise money for your trip.
Accommodations in Austria
Most Austria internships 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. Just be warned, the average rent can be between $800 to $1700 a month for an apartment, so it’s best to room with others or look at other housing options. If you decide to hit the hay in a dormitory, you’ll have the opportunity to meet locals and people from all over the world.
The Austria visa application requirements to intern here depend on the length of your internship program. You won’t need a visa if your internship program is less than 90 days, but you will need a passport that is valid three months after the departure date. If your internship is between three to six months, then you’ll need to apply for an entry permit. While if you’re staying longer than six months, you’ll need to apply for a residence permit. Check out GoAbroad’s Embassy Directory for more information.
GoAbroad's Insider Tips
While Austrians speak English throughout the country in the business world, Austrians speak German natively. Outside of district areas, many of the locals do not speak English fluently. Try to learn some German before going.
Lucky for you, Austria has a temperate climate with four seasons — there is varying beauty throughout the whole year worth seeing, though snow can sometimes cause road closures during the winters, the snow blankets forests and glitters in the sunlight.
Whether you’re savoring bowling-sized dumplings or waltzing through mountains, you’ll fall in love with the Austrian culture and its own sound of music.