Studying abroad in Austria gives students with an interest in music an up-close look at the birthplace of some of the most talented composers. Even if you aren’t drawn to classical music, Austria is a geographical goldmine if you enjoy exploring the outdoors. Located in Central Europe, Austria is world-famous for its ease of travel and inspiring mountain views. As an exchange student living in Austria, you will have the experience to live like a local. This is your chance to strap on your hiking boots and take the study abroad experience of a lifetime.
Program at a Glance:
- Host family accommodation will provide a full immersion experience
- No prior German experience is required — beginners welcome!
- You can choose between trimester, semester or academic year lengths
- Placement can be guaranteed in Vienna for an additional ~$1000 USD.
*Video courtesy of Ryan Shirley
Application Deadline: March 15th
- Trimester: September – December
- Semester: September – January
- Academic year: September – June
Exact dates will be provided after school placement. There are different school start dates in Austria depending on the region.
Arrival and Departure
All students are required to book flights on their own. An airport transfer upon arrival is included in the cost of the program. We will provide your exact arrival and departure dates after you’re placed in a host family and school, as well as the exact timeframes you should arrive/depart, so that you can start to search for possible flights. We require prior approval of a proposed itinerary before you purchase any flights.
Packaged into the Price:
- Airport pickup upon arrival
- Host family accommodation and 3 meals per day
- Comprehensive medical/accident insurance
- Full-day orientation (Conducted by the Austrian Staff, 4 weeks after arrival)
- Certificate of Completion upon successful completion of the program for use on college applications.
- $1,500 Application Fee due by the program deadline to formally apply.
- $5,000 Commitment Payment due 14 days after acceptance
- Remaining balance is due 16 weeks prior to your start date. If your program starts within 16 weeks of acceptance, the remaining program balance payment will be due at the same time as the commitment payment.
So, what about credits?
Your host school abroad will not provide high school credit. All credit must be granted through your home school in the U.S. or Canada. All U.S./Canadian schools have different policies.
In Austria, we cannot guarantee your host school will provide you an official transcript. If your school will not, some host schools will provide documentation, letters, and any other materials you require upon request. You must have good behavior, attendance, and performance in order for the school to fulfill this request.
Then, you should take this documentation back to your home school as proof of your participation in the program. Your home school is responsible for awarding you credit for this program or not.
Before You Go Abroad
You should meet with your US high school before you leave and share the general curriculum guidelines for Austria with your guidance counselor and/or teachers.
Because the curriculum will vary by school and we cannot guarantee you’ll take any specific classes, it is important that you arrange the required classes required for your graduation, such as U.S. History, before or after your time abroad.
You will not know your course schedule until after you arrive in the country and start attending school.
Once You’re Abroad
Please keep in mind that the grading system in other countries is different than the US. Most host schools will not grant grades or transcripts as it is too difficult to evaluate your work due to the language barrier. If your host school is able to award you grades, they won’t be an exact match to what you would get in the US.
What to know about attending an Austrian high school:
- The school year in Austria will begin for foreign students in mid-September.
- In most cases you will go to school five days a week, except in some schools, where they have classes on Saturdays too.
- Lessons start just before 8 o’clock in the morning and finish around an hour after lunch during weekdays and around 12pm on Saturdays.
- Austrian youths’ study eight years at high school (Gymnasium).
- Austria has different kinds of schools:
- sports orientated gymnasiums
- music orientated schools
- science orientated schools
- economics orientated gymnasiums
- tourism orientated gymnasiums
- handicraft orientated schools
- pedagogic and kindergarten orientated schools
- agricultural high schools
The compulsory subjects for Austria are German, English, Mathematics, Biology, History, Physics, Chemistry, Sports, and Music. The most common subjects (basic subjects) are English, German, Mathematics, History, Biology, Sports, Music, Physics, Geography, French and Latin.
You can substitute one or two of them. This means, that instead of Latin or French, you can take part in a lower grade in German, where they teach more grammar. All classes are taught in German.
In Austria there are no school uniforms. There are mostly public schools, but some schools are private schools with a school fee. There is also a fare to pay if you go to school by bus or train. Some students can walk or ride a bike to school.
Support and Services:
- Visa Assistance in applying for the visa ahead of arrival, including visa paperwork and extensive directions and support.
- Extensive pre-departure advice and support from your US-based program coordinators! They will be with you from your first inquiry, all the way through preparing to leave and your arrival in Austria.
- Support from in-country staff upon arrival to Austria.
- Online pre-departure cultural and logistical orientation before you leave.
- 24-hour in-country and emergency support for the duration of the program, including 24-hour emergency phone numbers to reach a program manager at any time.
Additional expenses to budget for:
- Airfare to/from Austria
- 2 Day Optional Welcome Camp in a major European city ($800 USD)
- Local transportation costs
- Any excursions or extracurricular activities
- Personal spending money and items like toiletries
In researching a study abroad program, you have already shown you are a leader and open-minded in your academic pursuits. These are just a few of the traits that our exchange students possess. You’re motivated to immerse yourself in another culture and flexible enough to live outside your comfort zone. You should also:
- Be between 15 and 18 years of age (at the time of travel)
- Be from the United States or Canada
- Possess a high school cumulative GPA of at least 2.75/4.0
- Be in great mental* and physical health
- Have a genuine interest in becoming a part of your host family and community
- If no pre-knowledge of German, an intensive German course is compulsory, additional fee applies
- Be willing to learn the German language
- Fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before departure
*What does it mean to be in good mental health?
Moving to a new culture and staying in unfamiliar surroundings without your normal support structure can be very stressful, even to a well-adjusted student. Sending a student with pre-existing conditions on a long-term exchange program could exacerbate whatever challenges the student was previously facing. In order to ensure the safety of our participants, we must be rigorous in our pre-screening of all high school abroad applicants.
Therefore, we may not be able to accept students who have struggled with any kind of mental illness, specifically within the last 2 years and/or are reliant on medication to address their existing mental health condition. Each student will be addressed on a case-by-case basis and ultimately it is the in-country partner who holds the right to accept or decline a student based on their individual policy.
These include, but are not limited to:
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Eating disorders
- Chronic debilitating migraines
- Bipolar Disorder
All students who currently experience one or more of these conditions will be required to submit an addendum to the terms and conditions as well as a letter of support from their current mental health specialist. If the student’s mental health issue has been managed (post-medication) for over 2 years, we will still require a note from his/her relevant practitioner (psychologist, therapist, psychiatrist, etc.) as part of the application process. We encourage you to discuss your specific situation with us directly, before securing these documents.
Please note that students who have been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD will not be guaranteed any academic accommodations plans by the host school abroad.