Exploring the Culture of Austria

Throughout history, Austria has always played a special role in the center of Europe: as a bridge-builder, meeting place, and venue for cultural exchange. Austria is a country of diverse possibilities, from historic cities like Vienna to the stunning views of the Alps. Austrian culture is known for its characteristic way of enjoying life (Gemutlichkeit), art, strong coffee, healthy lifestyles, and sports. Popular national pastimes include attending concerts, playing music, and taking walks (Spaziergänge).

Study abroad in Austria Host an Austrian student in the U.S.


People and Community

Students in Austria hiking

In the culture of Austria, a typical person could be described as open-hearted, but cautious in dealing with unfamiliar things. Austrians don’t mind working hard, to satisfy their basic needs and in order to be able to design their surroundings according to their wishes. A lot of time and effort is invested in making a cozy “nest.” Austrians want to be proud of the home they have created for themselves and they like showing it to others. Austrians also value their country’s beautiful landscape and work hard to preserve it.

Most host families live in suburban areas. Mealtime is a family affair and a time for family members to share their day. As both parents often work, shared meals are extremely important. Older children are expected to know how to prepare their own lunch.

Language and Communication Styles

People at a market in Vienna

The official language of Austria is High German, although each region also has its own dialect. Other languages spoken are Turkish, Serbian, Slovene, Croatian, and Hungarian.


Austrian dessert called Sachertorte

In the culture of Austria, people love rich food and drink! Back in the days of the mighty Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Austrian people picked up dishes from places like Italy and Eastern Europe. Popular foods include wiener schnitzel (a breaded veal or pork cutlet), sausages, and goulash (a stew made of meat and vegetables). For dessert, you won’t want to miss Austria’s cakes and pastries, such as the mouth-watering apple strudel or the classic sachertorte (a chocolate cake with jam and icing). The country also has a historic kaffeehaus (coffeehouse) culture, so many an afternoon can be spent lingering for hours in a café and sipping a hot drink!

Explore the Programs Available in Austria