If you love an outdoor winter adventure, Austria is the country for you! Located right in the middle of the Alps, its mountainous terrain will guarantee an amazing time on the slopes every time.
Not a skier or snowboarder? That’s not a problem in Austria, where you will have the opportunity to learn German, check out world-class art, and visit Vienna, the home of classical music. There is truly something for everybody in Austria, which is what makes it so perfect for anyone considering a gap year adventure!
Are you a little rusty on your German? Well you’re in luck as Austria provides numerous opportunities to perfect the language. Programs here will allow you to not only immerse yourself in the culture but the language itself, facilitating maximum learning. You will have a wide range of options from attending school in Austria as an 11th grader to attending a school that specializes in teaching German to an immersion program that gives the opportunity for its students to become a ski/snowboarder instructor at the end of 11 weeks of language instruction. Simply put, Austria is the place to go to learn your German.
Though Austria may be one of the richest countries in the world, there is still a big need for volunteers to help improve the community. In Austria, volunteer programs will allow you to interact with local communities, giving you an exclusive look inside the culture and allow you do something truly impactful. These volunteer opportunities can range from volunteering at a local school to helping the homeless. There will be an opportunity for you to make a difference wherever help is needed!
Let’s face the cold truth- anyone considering Austria as their gap year destination has to be thinking about all of those enormous mountains and all that soft snow. Situated right in the middle of the Alps, Austria features some of the most mountainous terrain you will ever encounter. This makes Austria the dream destination for any skier/snowboarder. If this sounds very tempting, know that there are opportunities for you to become a ski instructor or you can simply decide to travel the country trying out every mountain you see!
Planning Your Trip
Cost of Living in Austria
Generally speaking, Austria isn’t the cheapest place you can pick for a European gap year, but it isn’t unreasonable either! The cost your trip will largely depend on variables such as how often you eat out, how often you visit tourist destinations and the type/length of the program you choose. If you’re smart with controlling costs, you’re trip can definitely come under budget. On average, you can expect to spend 400-500 euros a month on all your basic costs, but again, this depends on the program you choose and the variables that are largely up to you.
Culture and Etiquette in Austria
Austrians are known to be very formal. When visiting family/friends or attending a business meeting, it is very important that you shake everyone’s hands. It is custom to shake hands with all of the women first (don’t be surprised to see men kiss the hands but know as a foreigner you don’t have to).
Keeping up with the formality, it is always important to be conscious of any titles that a person may have as they are an instrumental part of Austrian culture. Another tidbit to know is that Austrians’ take dressing very seriously so men should be to wear pants whenever they go out. Lastly, it is never okay to be fashionably late to anything so be sure to make an effort to be on time.
Austrian culture is very much based on its neighboring countries of Italy and Germany. It is known for being the home of classical music as it was once home to musical greats such as Mozart, Beethoven and Strauss. It is also a country that is also known to be very Catholic, as over seventy percent of the population identify themselves as such.
Health and Safety in Austria
Austria isn’t a place where you have to worry about safety as the country has a very low crime rate. In addition, the health-care system is considered to be very good and community sanitation is thought to be equal or be better than many U.S. cities.
Why Take a Gap Year in Austria?
Austria is one of the most diverse and beautiful countries you could ever visit. Its rolling mountainside and beautiful cities will be sure to capture your imagination. Whether you’re looking to learn German, hit the slopes or just check out what Vienna has to offer, Austria is the perfect place for your gap year adventure.
Contributed by Raj Patel
Want to earn $10,000 towards your gap year?
US residents ages 14-25 are eligible to apply for our USA Gap Year Fairs Scholarship, due Apr 15th. Register for a gap year fair to learn about eligible programs!