Study and find schools in Austria

Located in Central Europe, the country of Austria is a beautiful Alpine country; a country which is completely landlocked and has a total land area of 32,377 square miles.  It is a close neighbor of Germany among several other countries, and the majority of its 8.5 million residents speak the Austro-Bavarian dialect of the German language, which in its original or standard form is the official language of Austria.  The capital seat of this parliamentary representative democracy is Vienna, which is also the largest city, with a population of 1.7 million.  One of the richest countries in the world, Austria boasts a nominal per capita GDP of roughly $48,350, and is one of the most oft toured European countries for its beauty and location—a favorite destination among winter sports enthusiasts.
Austria is fairly homogenous from an ethnic perspective, with just 15 percent of its population born outside of Austria as of the 2011 census.  Of this percentage, the largest non-German speaking minority groups consist of people who have come from countries once part of the Yugoslavia Republic, including those of Serbian, Croatian and Bosnian descent.  Other minority groups consist of individuals born in Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Albania, Turkey, Poland and China.  Roman Catholicism is overwhelming the most popular religious affiliation in Austria, followed by Lutheran and several other Christian denominations. 
As a former world power, Austria has a rich cultural environment and has made many contributions to the arts, particularly music.  Home to famous composers with names such as Haydn, Liszt, Schubert and Strauss, Austria is a popular tourist spot for music lovers around the world.  Galleries and museums abound in this historical city, and its stunning ancient architecture, particularly seen in old churches around Vienna, is a treat for sightseers.  Austria has produced several Nobel Prize winners in areas such as science and medicine, and no bookshelf is complete without the collective works of Franz Kafka, an Austrian novelist.  The cuisine still demonstrates the influences of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and is famous for its proportionate balance of beef, pork and countless vegetable varieties.
Education in Austria
Responsibility for the public education system in Austria is shared by the individual states and the federal government.  All students are required to attend school for nine years, typically from age six to fifteen, beginning with primary education and culminating with secondary education.
Volksschule, or primary education, in Austria spans four years, beginning at age six.  Class sizes, which average 20 students, are generally very manageable for the lone instructor, and the school day lasts from approximately 8 AM to 1 PM.  During their primary years, students receive basic instruction in reading, writing, mathematics, science and social studies, and are evaluated twice a year with a type of report card system.
As is the case in many other European countries, particularly Germany, secondary education in Austria consists of two main types of schools:  Gymnasium and Hauptschule.  The type each student attends depends on their grades and other assessment tools from primary school.  Students who prove the most able will typically attend the all-academic Gymnasium type of school and in their final year will take a proficiency exam called the Matura, which is required for entrance into the country’s universities.  Students who attend the Hauptschule, on the other hand, will be prepared, through both vocational education and basic general education, to enter the workforce in a career of their choosing. They can also continue their studies through one of several advanced vocational academies, after which they will qualify to take the Matura.
Higher education in Austria takes place at the country’s public and private universities and is open to any student who has passed the Matura.  As a member of the European Union, Austria has recently switched to a standardized credit and degree system outlined by the Bologna Process that helps facilitate student transfer between universities throughout Europe.  The degree structure is three-tiered, consisting of Bachelor, Master’s and Doctorate-level degrees, typically spanning three, two and roughly four years respectively.  As of 2006, certain programs, including those leading to medical degrees, require students to pass an entrance exam prior to being admitted.  Higher education in Austria’s public university system is free to all EU students, as long as they do not exceed a certain acceptable time-limit, usually defined as the normal timeframe to complete the degree program plus two additional years.

Language Courses in Austria

Students seeking to learn German through a language immersion program often assume that their only option for foreign study is in Germany – all too often, they overlook the possibility of studying the German language in other countries such as Switzerland and Austria. Austria, with its rich history, distinct culture, and many exciting cities, is an especially good choice. Many of its cities, such as Salzburg and Vienna, have existed since the days of the Roman Empire, and the country itself was unified long before Germany. For those seeking an immersion experience in the German language, Austria is an excellent choice.

When selecting an immersion program or language course in Austria, perhaps the most important consideration is location. The majority of German-language immersion programs are concentrated in Austria’s cities, although there are many rural programs as well. Programs outside of the cities are likely to be found in the north of the country, near the German and Swiss borders. The German language has a longer history in these regions than in southern and eastern Austria.

There are two main cities in Austria where language immersion programs can be found: Salzburg and Vienna. It is difficult to compare the two cities, since they are vastly different. Vienna is one of Europe’s main centers of culture and history – here you can find art galleries, concerts of all kinds, and a huge range of historic buildings with interesting architecture. Vienna is also much larger than Salzburg, so it has more to offer if you plan an extended stay. Salzburg is usually described as cozier than Vienna, with fewer attractions but more warmth and depth. Salzburg has many old streets to wander and is less frequented by tourists. If you want a quieter study atmosphere where you can focus on language without being inundated with sights and sounds, Salzburg is the better option. Both cities are large enough to have plenty of transportation in and out, so traveling elsewhere in Austria or Europe is easy enough no matter which city you choose.
Another good reason to study German in Austria as opposed to elsewhere is that the country’s central location makes it an excellent base for exploring the rest of Europe. Short train rides will take you not only to Germany, Switzerland, France, Italy, and the Czech Republic, but also to the less-traveled destinations of Eastern Europe, the Balkans, and Greece.
Like most countries, Austria also has language programs aimed at non-traditional students such as working adults. While the majority of language courses will be oriented toward high school, college, and graduate students, there are also classes for expatriates and foreign volunteers who want to learn German as a second language during their stay in Austria.

Schools that offer language courses in Austria

abc Bildungszentrum

Vienna, Austria
The general German courses (A1 – C2) concentrate on improving every aspect of your German. In your class, you will work on speaking, listening, reading, writing, pronunciation, grammar and vocabulary. Our aim is to improve your accuracy and fluency, with an emphasis on effective communication. The Business German classes concentrate on improving your German at the workplace, a great asset to you for your work experience.

Exadan linguistics TM & BE OG

Exadan linguistics specialises in creating the environment best for you. We use the best teaching methods for each individual and group. It´s our goal to help you achieve your language goal and for that, we strive to the limit with an innovative learning concept.

German in Austria, University of Klagenfurt

Klagenfurt, Austria
The University of Klagenfurt is a university offering German Language education. It is located in Klagenfurt, Southern Austria, where the standard German language is spoken. They specialize on the four basic skills involved in learning languages which are listening, speaking, reading and writing with the course levels offered in the Common European Framework of Reference for Language Learning and Teaching (A1 – C2) system. German courses are taught at several stages such as: Intensive, Semester, Individual, Business, School Classes and online training. Some other languages are taught... See full description.

Masters Degrees, Graduate Studies and Professional Programs in Austria

After four to five years of undergraduate education, typically culminating in a degree or diploma of some kind, many students are now opting to pursue international graduate study and professional programs as part of a study abroad program—a program which allows students to live and study in a foreign country for a semester or year while still earning credits towards their intended degree or certification.  One of the places quickly becoming popular among study abroad participants is the scenic country of Austria, a historic nation of immense natural beauty situated in the very heart of the European continent.

Austria, officially known as the Republic of Austria, is a federal republic in Central Europe.  The landlocked country is home to a population of roughly 8.5 million inhabitants, and is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north; Hungary and Slovakia to the east; Slovenia and Italy to the south; and Switzerland and Lichtenstein to the west.  Austria, which has both a temperate and alpine climate, encompasses an area of 32,377 square miles (83,855 sq. km).

The territory of Austria is very mountainous due to the presence of the world-renowned Alps.  In fact, only about 32 percent of the country is below 1,600 feet in elevation, and its highest point is a whopping 12,461 feet (3,798 meters).  The majority of the Austrian population speaks local Bavarian dialects of German as their first language, and German in its standard form is the country’s official or national language.  Other languages that are given official status in certain areas of Austria include Hungarian, Burgenland Croatian and Slovene.

The government of Austria is organized as a semi-presidential, parliamentary representative democracy, and the country consists of nine federal states.  The capital and largest city in Austria is Vienna, boasting a population of just over 1.7 million as of the last census.  Austria has a very high standard of living and is one of the riches countries in the world, with a nominal per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $46,330.  Much of the country’s success can be attributed to the excellence of its education system, including its system of higher education, which features several universities that are consistently ranked among the world’s best.

Higher Education and Graduate Studies in Austria
Higher education in Austria is overseen and funded by the federal Ministry of Science and Research.  In total there are 23 public and 13 private universities in the country, each enjoying a high degree of autonomy and offering a full spectrum of degree and professional programs.  Vienna University, established in 1365, is Austria’s oldest institution of higher learning.
Due to reforms passed in the 1960s, the university system in Austria has been transformed from one serving the elite to one serving the masses, including thousands of international students each year.  The growing number of students at Austrian universities reflects the liberalization of educational policy, as evidenced by the 35 percent jump in university enrollment over the last two decades.
The structure of higher education in Austria is quite unique, especially when compared to that of the United States. Students enroll in one (or more) field of studies, in which they are expected to graduate after four to six years. Since the 1970s, the first degree was the Magister (Latin for Master, abbr. Mag.), offered in the humanities, economic and social sciences, law and natural sciences. The first degree in engineering and agriculture is the Diplom-Ingenieur (abbr. Dipl.-Ing. or DI).  More recently, the universities in Austria have begun to introduce a Bachelor degree (which comes before the Magister) into their curriculum, in accordance with the Bologna process, an educational reform measure aimed at standardizing the credit and degree structure at European Union universities as a way to facilitate student transfer.

Medicine is the lone subject area in Austria where a doctorate is the only degree available (after at least six years).  In most of the other subject fields where a doctorate degree is offered, students are required to submit a Diplomarbeit, a research paper averaging roughly 100 pages, but sometimes considerably longer. As the requirements differ strongly and are not always clear, some students spend years working on this thesis, thus (usually not deliberately) delaying graduation.

Since the 1990s, postgraduate degrees such as the Master of Business Adminstration (MBA), Master of Laws (LL.M) and Master of Finance have also been introduced into the Austrian higher education system.

Why Study Abroad in Austria
Austria offers several benefits for students studying abroad—benefits that extend far beyond the excellence of its universities and the expertise of its faculty.  Austria has a long and storied history that has shaped its culture over the years, and the people here are some of the friendliest in the world.  From a natural standpoint, one would be hard-pressed to find a country that is more beautiful than Austria, especially for those who enjoy the splendor and majesty of mountain landscapes.  Its proximity to the Alps makes it the perfect place for pursuing a wide range of outdoor activities, from skiing during the winter months to camping and hiking the many trails that traverse the Alps during the summer. 
The major cities in Austria, while certainly very modern and cosmopolitan, have retained much of their old world charm, as evidenced by the bounty of local landmarks and historical monuments.  When students receive a break from their studies, they’ll find that there is an immeasurable number of interesting sites and attractions to explore, including, but certainly not limited to, the following:
Austrian Belvedere Gallery
Located t southeast of the city of Karlsplatz, the Belvedere Gallery is located on a slope just above Vienna. Following the designs of the renowned Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt, the Belvedere was erected as a summer residence for Prince Eugene of Savoy. The complex comprises two palatial structures, each of which was built using a series of interlocking cubes. The interiors are dominated by flowing staircases, and the most notable attractions are the Gold Salon and the regal French-style garden.  The lower part of the gallery, known locally as Unteres Belvedere, or Lower Belvedere, was built between 1714 and 1716, while Oberes Belvedere, or Upper Belvedere, was completed in 1721.
Austrian National Library

The Austrian National Library is an architectural masterpiece, built in the style known as Viennese baroque.  Its architects were Johann Bernhard Fischer von Erlach and his son Emanuel.  The largest baroque library in Europe, it was initially founded in the first half of the 18th century as an independent wing of the Imperial Palace. Today, while the Austrian National Library is still functioning in its initial purpose, it is widely considered one of Austria’s most precious national monuments.
The Burgtheater, which is often referred to informally and lovingly as “the Burg” by the people of Vienna, is more than just a drama venue—it’s an institution.  First built in the 19th century, it is today one of the oldest continuously-operating theatres in Europe, surpassed only in that category by the French theater, Comedie Francaise. A sacred place for the German speaking world, Burgtheater represents an exhaustive scope of the Austrian dramatic arts; a theater that for years has produced and exalted the timeless classics of theatrical Europe.

Career Colleges and Vocational Schools in Austria

Austria, with its unique education system and its tendency to favor intellectual and cultural pursuits over technical vocations, has not had much history with vocational schools. Trades and crafts were historically learned on-the-job in apprentice programs and what we today would call internships. With increasing economic pressure on the education system, however, this is changing. For the last 20 years, Austria has had a system of vocational training based on the one that had already been adopted by their neighbors, the Germans.
Beginning in 1990, Austrian educational authorities developed a new system of career colleges, technical and vocational schools called Fachhochschulen, roughly translated as Universities of Applied Sciences. These schools, which offer training in career skills and trades in addition to the applied sciences, are the main form of advanced technical and vocational training in Austria.
A Fachhochschulen program typically takes 3 years to complete, as opposed to 4 years at an academic college. This shorter time frame is accomplished by limiting students’ freedom to set their own schedules and customize their curriculum. The goal is a quick, practical, somewhat Spartan education without the added intellectual perks of a four-year college.

Unlike vocational schools and career colleges in most countries, which tend to offer certificates instead of degrees, vocational schools in Austria actually offer Bachelor’s Degrees, but not of the same sort as the more traditional schools. They are also independent institutions, typically unattached to larger universities. In this respect, they differ sharply from professional schools, which also offer applied degrees and career training, but are usually part of a university.

A further development that has changed the nature of technical training in Austria is the recent decision by educational authorities to offer accreditation to private institutions. In many other countries, vocational training is provided primarily by private entities, not state-funded schools, so the accreditation of privately-owned and operated schools opens the door for a much wider variety of career colleges and vocational schools in Austria’s cities. Like in any country, there are also unaccredited “schools” in Austria, but since they do not conform to the standards of any regulating body they are often unreliable and their degrees and certificates are not given much credibility.

The evolution of Fachhochschulen in Austria has been heavily influenced by the Bologna process under the auspices of the European Higher Education Area, of which Austria is a member. The EHEA guidelines for vocational training cover the Fachhochschulen of Austria, and so the country’s educational authorities have been working on to integrating their curricular systems with those of other European countries. The advantage of this is that it enables Austrian graduates to do well in the highly competitive job markets of continental Europe.

List of career colleges and vocational schools in Austria

Austrian Master Classes & Classes for Kids

Zell an der Pram, Austria
The International Music Master Classes & Music Camps for Kids take place in the castle of Zell an der Pram and are aimed at young musicians, students, professional musicians and educators from all over the world. Master classes and classes for kids are offered for artists, playing various instruments – the piano, clarinet, violin, flute, and more. The youth and master classes of the Austrian Master Classes are distinctive with the exceptional choice of teachers, who come from the realms of music schools and universities as well as from the international concert scene. In both the... See full description.

Cities to study in Austria

CSA Study Abroad
Accredited study abroad programs all over the world for students of all levels.

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