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Study Abroad in Austria

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

Based on differences in culture, strict government regulation of medications, and other local customs, it has been our experience that not all of our international AFS partners are able to support students with certain diagnoses, including but not limited to, severe allergies, strict dietary restrictions, ADD/ADHD, and those currently taking or who have taken psychotropic medications and/or received counseling for mental/psychological issues within the past year. If this applies to you, please get in touch with an AFS Study Abroad Specialist early so that we can determine the right experience for you.

Your Journey to Austria

Visa Information

AFS will provide visa guidance and support documents (if applicable). Visa processes can be lengthy and complex; you may be required to travel long distances to apply for the visa if there is not an embassy, consulate, etc. close to your home. Your passport should be valid for at least 6 months beyond a return date from your host country. We urge you to apply for or renew your passport as soon as possible if applying to an AFS program. We recommend not taking any trips (domestically or internationally) within 2 months prior to your AFS program as it may interfere with the visa application process and result in a late program start date.

Travel & Orientation

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.

Also during this time, 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, where you’ll be met by staff and volunteers…as well as your fellow AFSers from around the world! Shortly after arrival, you will attend an arrival orientation and get a crash course on Austrian culture, living with a host family, safety, and support structures.


Your Accommodations

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.


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.


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.

What's Included

  • 75+ years of experience delivering high-quality programs through a worldwide network of 32,000 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

Scholarships and Aid

We believe that studying abroad should not be contingent on personal finances. When you apply, we work with you to understand your family’s needs and match you with available scholarships and aid. 100% of accepted applicants with demonstrated need receive funds.

Learn More

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.

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.