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As the home of talents from Mozart to Arnold Schwarzenegger, Austria is an ideal place to learn about art, music, and history. Join students from across the globe on a study abroad journey that is bound to challenge and inspire you. By attending a local high school and living with a host family, you’ll get to experience Austrian life from the inside. This is your chance to get to know the language, the customs, and the people of this multi-faceted country. And with Austria’s active culture and picturesque location on the Alps, you’ll be able to spend your time abroad exercising both your body and your mind.

Things to know about Austria

Austrians tend to be direct communicators, and don’t usually “beat around the bush.” They usually dress well, even for a trip to the grocery store. You can expect to be surrounded by people who take pride in their appearance, so make sure to pack your favorite clothes! Austrians also value their country’s beautiful landscape and work hard to preserve it. Even though you’ll probably find that most people around you are passionate meat-eaters, following a vegetarian diet shouldn’t be a problem.

Eligibility Requirements

Current high school students are eligible. Specific age requirements may apply; contact AFS for more details.
Must be in good academic standing (recommended GPA of 2.5 or above).
Basic German language skills preferred, but not required.

Your journey to Austria

Your journey to Austria will begin in New York City, where you’ll meet your fellow AFSers from the US. Together you’ll attend an overnight orientation, and then travel to Vienna where you’ll be met by AFS staff and volunteers. After you arrive, you’ll go by bus to an arrival camp where you’ll have a crash course on Austrian culture.

Soon you’ll be ready to travel to your new community. Along the way you might catch sight of the snow-peaked Alps, where Austrians love to go skiing. As you take in your new home, it shouldn’t be long before you get a sense of Gemütlichkeit, which is German for a feeling of ease, friendliness, and belonging.

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Meeting your Austrian Host Family

AFSers have lived in communities all throughout Austria, but you’re most likely to have a host family that lives in a suburban area.

Like anywhere in the world, all families in Austria are different. Most are small with one or two children, but family time is still very important. You can expect your host family to gather together for meals and recount the events of the day.

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Settling into daily life

Teenage life in Austria

If you enjoy the fresh air, you should fit right in with Austrians who love sports and Spaziergänge (taking walks). Soccer and biking are popular, but the country is most famous for winter sports like alpine skiing. Whether you’re a beginner or an expert, you’ll get to enjoy absolutely breathtaking views from atop snow-capped mountains. On the weekends, it’s common for students to participate in youth and community activities, or just take off on their own to hang out in local cafés.

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Food you'll encounter

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 if your idea of the perfect afternoon is lingering for hours in a café and sipping a hot drink, Austria just might be the place for you.

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Your Austrian High School

During your study abroad in Austria, you’ll likely attend a traditional public high school. Since the education system in Austria is known to be rigorous, you may find your new school more academically challenging than your school at home. You can plan for all classes, including English, to be taught in German. Schools have classes Monday-Friday from 8:30 am to around 2 pm or later, and some have classes on Saturday morning too. To help you feel comfortable with German even before you get to Austria, you’ll be given access to a Rosetta Stone language course. You’ll start learning German through this online program before you leave, and of course continue improving your skills once you arrive.

What's Included

  • 70+ years of experience delivering high-quality programs through a worldwide network of 50,000 dedicated volunteers
  • Accommodations with a vetted host family
  • Round-trip international airfare for the designated program dates
  • School enrollment fees
  • Worldwide, 24-hour emergency assistance
  • Access to an in-country support team and network, as well as our Participant Support Department based here in the U.S.
  • Orientations and intercultural education before and during your program
  • Secondary medical coverage
  • Visa support and guidance
  • Inclusion in a worldwide returnee and alumni network of over 1,000,000 people
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Returning Home

“Life-changing” is hard to describe, yet it’s nearly always the first thing that AFSers say when asked about their experience abroad. “Transformed” is another one.
When you return home from your study abroad in Austria, you’ll bring with you a sense of accomplishment unlike any other. You’ll have gained maturity and independence, discovered new passions, and developed the confidence and resilience to accomplish anything you set out to do.
That transformation isn’t only visible to you, though – others see it as well. AFSers gain critical skills for college and careers. Second language fluency, intercultural competence, creativity, and critical reasoning will help you succeed, whatever path you take. “Life-changing” means it’s only the beginning.
It’s not just an adventure abroad; it’s a whole new reality. The perspectives and personal connections you gained will stay with you and likely draw you back to the second home you found in Austria.

In fact, our alumni reviews have made AFS one of the top-rated organizations in the study abroad industry.

A new you awaits.

Apply for High School Study Abroad in Austria!

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