Semester — Spring 2020
Semester — Fall 2019
Year — Fall 2019
Aug 27-30, 2019 → Jun 27-30, 2020
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.
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.
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.
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.See where past AFSers have lived
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.
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.
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.
"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, if you’re like most AFSers, you’ll bring with you a sense of accomplishment unlike any other. You’ll have gained maturity and independence, discovered new passions, and feel like you can do anything you set your mind to. That transformation isn’t visible only to you, though - others see it as well. AFSers gain critical skills for college and careers, ranging from language fluency to intercultural competence and critical reasoning. "Life-changing" means it’s only the beginning.
Please Note: Travel date ranges are meant to help with general scheduling and are subject to change; please don’t book any travel based on these dates until you’ve received confirmation from AFS. All programs, prices, and travel dates are subject to change without notice.