years-experience access-alumni-network airfare airport-pick-up assistance-with-application-process community-service-placement continuous-support cultural-trips domestic-transport emergency-support field-trips global-competence-certificate grade-transcripts host-family-placement housing individual-contact-person internship-placement language-instruction meals medical-insurance orientations-during-your-time-abroad other pre-departure-orientation product-materials re-entry-orientation school-dipolma school-materials school-placement school-transport school-uniform stipend teaching-materials vaccinations visa-and-passport-fees visa-application-assistance world-wide-presence

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.

What's included in your experience

  • 70 Years Experience


Graduates Eligible? No, participants cannot have graduated prior to the start of the program
Minimum GPA 2.5
Age Range 15 yrs, 0 months to
17 yrs, 6 months at start of program
Language Skills Preferred, but not required
COVID-19 Vaccine Required

Your journey to Austria

In the months before your departure, AFSers have the opportunity to participate in various preparatory activities, including an online Student Learning Journey, which is an interactive course that brings AFSers from around the world together to learn how to develop essential global skills, intercultural communication techniques, and practice social impact, maximizing the outcomes of the AFS learning experience.

AFS-USA will coordinate and share your international travel with you. You will need to coordinate your own travel to the point of international departure. From there, your journey in Austria will begin when you land in Vienna, where you’ll be met by staff and volunteers …and meet your fellow AFSers from around the world! 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.


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.


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.


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.


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
  • International secondary medical travel coverage
  • Visa support and guidance
  • Inclusion in a worldwide returnee and alumni network of over 1,000,000 people

Visa Info

Do I need a visa/residence permit for Austria? YES. Visa or Residence Permit
How do I apply for the visa? (By mail, In-person, In host country) In-person
Visa/Residence Permit Process Difficulty Level (Easy, Average, Complex) Average
Estimated Visa/Residence Permit Expenses
($ – $$$)
Frequently Asked Visa Questions Visit our general visa FAQ page for more information.

Scholarships at AFS-USA

AFS-USA scholarships are made possible by the generosity of numerous donors who all have a deep connection with AFS and value intercultural exchanges as necessary for the promotion of peace and justice in the world. Upon submission, applications will be reviewed and matched with the most applicable scholarship, if available. All scholarships are partial, and scholarship award amounts will be determined based on program length. For additional funding resources, check out our Fundraising page. You can view all available national and local scholarships on our Scholarships page.


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.