IES Abroad Vienna - European Society & Culture

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About

Open to students at all language levels, our program brings more than 60 years of experience to a variety of unique courses taught by faculty from top European institutions. Courses are clustered into the following topics: German Language, European Business, Economics, and Politics, Society and Self, The Arts.

Can you imagine learning about Freud’s theories of psychoanalysis and then touring his home and the office where he practiced? Or studying politics and international organizations and visiting the UN, the OSCE, or OPEC? How about exploring art history in Vienna’s world-famous galleries and museums? Wherever possible our courses take advantage of the city’s historical, artistic, and cultural sites and include a hands-on, practical component.

With sufficient background in German, you can also enroll in courses at the prestigious Universität Wien, where you experience the Austrian education system and have the option to participate in student activities.

Interested in seeing our Center through a Virtual Tour? Check out https://www.iesabroad.org/study-abroad/virtual-tours to learn more!

Questions & Answers

Reviews

94%
based on 41 reviews
  • Academics 7.3
  • Support 9.5
  • Fun 9.3
  • Housing 9.1
  • Safety 9.7
Showing 1 - 15 of 41
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Mary Claire
10/10

I had an amazing time!

I had an amazing time with IES Abroad! They did an amazing job with, especially with orientation and getting us settled. They made sure to prepare us for the cultural differences we would be experiencing, how to navigate around the city, find our niches and interests, and gave us tips on how to blend in in the city. I felt a lot more prepared and comfortable with my program than my fellow peers studying elsewhere. IES also provided a lot of options for academics - I did not have to take a semester away from my main courses and the professors were very qualified and great resources to use.

How can this program be improved?
Final exams / projects could flow better with how the courses were for the semester. The classes had a flow for the whole semester of what was taught and expected, but for finals it felt like they added a lot more work and projects. It wasn't unbearable, but I wish midterms were heavier than finals so we could enjoy the end of our abroad experience - especially since it was finally warm at that time.
Yes, I recommend
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Sasha
9/10

I loved every second of my semester abroad!

I truly loved every second of my semester abroad. Going to study in Vienna was my first time leaving the country, and despite being nervous and a little afraid of what my five months in a different country, speaking a different language, was going to hold, I would do it all over again. IES gave me the opportunity to connect with American, Austrian, and other international students and really step out of my comfort zone. I loved how immersive my experience was and even though I had no prior German experience, the program prepared me for life in a german-speaking country. My favorite part of studying abroad through IES was going on IES-sponsored trips such as a weekend-long ski trip, and an excursion to the Wachau Valley. I got to see other places in Austria besides the city I was living in and had the chance to bond with other students and the IES staff. I really learned how to step out of my comfort zone and be myself!

How can this program be improved?
This program could be improved by having more opportunities early-on for participants to connect and get to know each other.
Yes, I recommend
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Cassie
10/10

A True Western Meets Eastern European Experience

Austria has a very unique history in Europe and I believe is one country that really ties relations with the majority of surrounding European countries. It's history and culture is old with wide-ranging influences, but yet was a country I previously knew little about nor had hardly heard of. Going to Austria opened up my understanding of a whole continent and it's recent history. Because it is a centrally located country as well, I also got to visit surrounding countries to tie into my understanding of Austria and the European view of the world stage. Austria was so complex and diverse, especially for being a small country; the learning and exploring never stopped.

How can this program be improved?
One of the classes I took I felt needed a curriculum overhaul, but the majority were extremely enjoyable.
Yes, I recommend
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Anastasia
9/10

An experience I will never forget!

I had a great time studying abroad in Vienna! I was able to take courses in both English and German and really improve my language skills. The program requires you to take at least one German course and there is a 2 week German intensive period. I really enjoyed the classes because most of them incorporated field trips around the city which was a really cool way to learn about the history and culture of Austria. IES is pretty strict about attendance, there is an attendance policy and a required German class on Friday mornings. There are ample travel opportunities though and I was able to engage in countless cultural experiences and events. IES provides a very safe environment and provide you with the resources you need to thrive. Vienna is a great place to live and learn and if you want a structured program with German language learning opportunities, this is the right program for you!

How can this program be improved?
The program could give students more freedom with class choices and class attendance however this was never really an issue for me personally.
Yes, I recommend
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Emily
10/10

What an amazing program for my amazing experience

What an amazing program IES is. They provided the support that I needed to make my family feel comfortable to send me overseas for 5 months and for me to go abroad by myself! The initial contact with the staff in Chicago was so helpful and I never even formally met them. The staff in Vienna? Blew me away. So knowledgeable, so helpful, so welcoming. The staff was always looking for ways to help- giving us tips on where to travel, hosting a cooking class to learn how to cook authentic Austrian food, showing us all the cool local places, and having an answer to any question we had! They made my experience comfortable and easy by providing wonderful housing, hosting classes in a palace(!!), providing knowledgeable and pleasant professors for my classes, and hosting trips to travel with the IES staff to some places around Austria for some really unique experiences. They even had a networking event to allow students to meet past alumni who were back living in Vienna! I know I would not have had the same experience if I had simply gone on my own as an exchange student, and I benefitted all the more from it. I definitely recommend going with IES if you are looking to go abroad!

How can this program be improved?
Giving the students more choice on how they would like their semester to go. This is one of the only programs I know of that have classes on Fridays. They say it is to encourage students to stay in Vienna and get to know Vienna more, but I believe it should be the student's choice to decide if they want to stay in their host city for the weekend or travel elsewhere. They are in their host city for most of the week- one day is not going to make a significant difference. This was the only limiting thing I experienced.
Yes, I recommend
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Jessica
10/10

The Greatest Experience of My Life

I studied abroad with IES Vienna this past spring and had an absolutely amazing time. Through my experience in Vienna, I was able to take psychology classes in an essential location for the foundations of psychology, while also applying skills and ideas in an internship in a Psychotherapist's office. I was able to learn and apply so much in that one semester, and narrow my career and educational foci at the same time. Outside of the classes for my major, I was also able to study German and apply the language through living and communicating in Vienna. Learning the language was definitely a challenge for me, but I loved it, and grew a lot throughout the semester. While learning and living in Vienna, I also made great connections with my fellow students, the Center Staff, native Austrians in my housing complex, and the individuals I worked with in my internship. So many great connections were made, and I honestly just had so many amazing experiences, large and small, throughout the 4 months. I grew immensely academically, professionally, and personally during my time with IES Vienna, and that my study abroad experience was the best one of my life so far. My favorite memory of my semester in Vienna was attending the Viennese Ball in the winter! My friends from the program and I got dressed up and felt extremely elegant with the native Viennese.

How can this program be improved?
I honestly don't have any improvements for the program at this time. I had an absolutely wonderful experience, and if I could go back, I wouldn't change a thing.
Yes, I recommend
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Yasemin
9/10

Studying Abroad in Vienna as an International Student in the US

As an international student studying in the US, I had a different approach to "studying abroad". I was already abroad so why would I go? Well, I'm glad I did! For me, it wasn't my first time traveling or staying at a different country for more than a month. For me, it was a great opportunity to be back at a culture that is relatively similar to mine and be back in a city where I can explore every single day and be surprised each time.
With IES Abroad, I got to feel at home in this new city right from the start! Everything was organized so well and a sense of community was already built! I initially thought that having an orientation in a different city than Vienna was a bit unusual and unnecessary --I was so wrong! Being in the same resort for a few days right from the start was the best thing possible to form close friendships right from the beginning. We had nothing to do but sight seeing in Mariazell, play endless volleyball games, hike around and chat for hours, all as a group! I made so many good friends right there and then.
To talk more about the program itself and life in Vienna, I can start by saying that it was great to live in a city with great public transportation, take classes in a magnificent old building -a palace-, and attend great events. As one of the cultural capitals in the world, Vienna had so much to offer. And IES made it much easier and much more accessible. We could get Opera tickets, attend rehearsals, have a Heuriger trip and Thanksgiving celebration and much more. Every month there were at least 2 or 3 events that the IES Staff and RA's (Resident Austrians who were living with some of the students and were in charge of technical things like talking to the landlady/landlord etc. --they were pretty cool and great way to learn more about the Austrian culture and make Austrian friends!) were organizing. These events were great to immerse us into the culture and into the city life without being stressed about organization and other details. There were also a few weekend trips organized by IES that were simply amazing! We had wine-tasting in Wachau (one-day trip), skiing in Salzburg and weekend in Graz! We had a really cool and friendly staff who would organize dodgeball trips, tell us cool places to go for a weekend, give advice on restaurants and always send information on events happening all around.
I really enjoyed my time in Vienna as well as all across Europe --I went to many trips with my friends from the program! I definitely recommend going to Vienna for a semester, learning German with amazing professors, get immersed into the culture with organized trips, travel to many countries that are only 2 hours away and just enjoy the cafes of Vienna!

How can this program be improved?
The academics can definitely improve! The classes all sounded very interesting and I was looking forward to them but it wasn't reaching my expectations and I felt like I wasn't challenged or -in one of my classes- was learning at all. German was amazing, 10/10 for sure! However, the social sciences and visual arts need to improve a lot. I think it was much better for the Music kids since the music program was very well-developed over the years and Vienna is a great place for musicians. They had great private tutoring for singers especially.
Yes, I recommend
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Taylor
9/10

Studying and Living in Vienna

Vienna is an amazing place to spend a semester abroad and the city has perfected mixing history with modern day. The academics are manageable and the professors are very understanding and are willing to work with you should you need it. The apartments are nice, but are definitely smaller and different from what American students are accustomed. The public transportation is affordable and very easy to figure out and is also very convenient. The city is safe and a lot of fun. It was so cool being able to walk by St. Stephen's cathedral every day or see a palace on the way into the city. I highly recommend Vienna to anyone thinking about studying abroad.

How can this program be improved?
I think it would be helpful for the program to try and have the American students interact more with the viennese students.
Yes, I recommend
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Avery
10/10

Great for Diverse Learning and Language Immersion!

IES Abroad’s Vienna program, focusing on European Society and Culture, was an absolutely amazing experience. Not only did I get to learn about new subjects that aren’t offered at my home university, but I got to actually go out and see manifest examples of the material I was studying. For example, after learning about the Hapsburg royal family of Vienna in my Vienna Past and Present course, the next class period was spent visiting their national treasury in the city hosting all of the family jewels, crowns, and royal robes. Another thing, that was immensely helpful at IES Vienna, was their language instruction. I arrived in Vienna with mildly good German, but the skill and care of the professors there helped bring my language proficiency to the next level. Our professors also helped push us into immersion situations in a very encouraging way. One example, was the provision of German buddies. The program had set up a list of locals willing to meet with IES students weekly to try speaking German in conversation. Aspects of the program, like these, were inexplicably helpful in learning the language. Outside of the studying aspect of the program, IES offered many extracurricular trips such as day trips to Austria’s stunning Wachau Valley, or a weekend trip to partake in a traditional apple festival and tour the beautiful city of Graz. Both of these trips that I partook in (among the many more that IES Vienna offers) were amazing and provided insights into Austria and its people and culture. These are experiences that were so real and unique, that I definitely would not have been able to participate without the help of IES’ planning. Overall, IES Vienna is an amazing program in one of Europe’s most stunning cities.

Yes, I recommend
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Thomas
10/10

Immerse in Learning!

IES offered so many ways to weave Viennese culture into the already-excellent academic experience. Field trips to the most amazing cities in Central Europe (Prague, Budapest), world-renowned professors from all over Europe, and a wide range of language courses were the most obvious examples. But IES did more than teach us about European culture and history. They taught us how to bite into Krapfen, delicious Viennese filled doughnuts. They taught us how be independent and curious, and encouraged us to fill our weekends with adventures around the continent. I saw 15 countries during my time at IES, and many of my favorite moments from the semester were spent with the incredible friends I made through my IES classes. I still correspond with three of my professors, as well as my internship supervisor. The adventures, friends, and memories I made through IES will be with me for my entire life!

How can this program be improved?
Greater transparency during the application process with respect to courses offered. On the first day of orientation, this is all available, though, and the selection of courses is impressive.
Yes, I recommend
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Molly
9/10

IES Abroad Vienna Review

I had such a positive experience. I learned so much about my host culture and about myself. I faced many new challenges that pushed me out of my comfort zone and promoted me to grow. I found all the IES Abroad Staff to be welcoming, supportive, and open for any questions. Abroad gave me the opportunity to travel to new places I never expected to be able to travel to. I found Vienna to be safe and relatively affordable. There are lots of great food options and fun places to go out at night. It has even encouraged me to consider living abroad in the future.

How can this program be improved?
I wish there were more class offerings.
Yes, I recommend
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Claire
10/10

Best Decision!

One of the best decisions I have ever made was to study abroad in Vienna, Austria during my fall semester. Vienna is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and I constantly found myself discovering new things to do and places to see each day I was there. IES was so helpful and knowledgeable about the city, and I knew I was in good hands. Can't wait for other students to experience this amazing city!

How can this program be improved?
Although my housing situation was great, some students were not pleased with their original housing placement. IES could check to make sure the housing conditions are better before students move in.
Yes, I recommend
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Mara
10/10

A Semester at the Opera

Halfway through my semester in Vienna, I got the strong sense that every music student should have this opportunity. Vienna is not only a city with a rich musical history but also a city today with huge community support for the Classical arts. There are three different opera houses and each fill up; it is not unusual for the State Opera to sell out! This kind of mass communal support and enthusiasm, as far as I have observed, is absent from American culture. As an aspiring opera singer, Austria’s commitment to the arts was truly inspiring. I attended operas (at all three opera houses!) as much as possible and attended many concerts. Hearing so much great music performed by many fantastic musicians, I was eager to work on my own technique. I took voice lessons and received one-on-one coachings. I collaborated with other singers and instrumentalists during a performance workshop class. I took a class a specialized music theory class, studying Fidelio and Die Winterreise, both by composers who lived in Vienna. It was an ideal study abroad for me, and I feel lucky to have received the musical education and experience that I did.

How can this program be improved?
I would've liked the opportunity to interact with other music students from Vienna and learn more about what an academic Viennese music education entails. The IES library had limited hours and accessing some class materials was difficult. Some of the instructors commitment to teaching was not as strong as that of my professors at home. It was disappointing to have interesting course topics go poorly taught.
Yes, I recommend
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Julianne
10/10

The Perfect Study Abroad Experience

Vienna was the perfect location for study abroad. It immerses you in Europe's current political situation, being so centrally located, and it's easy to frame that experience in a historical context. The city itself is ranked the best place to live every year for good reasons—clean, safe, and cheap public transit, beautiful architecture, the excitement of a city surrounded by the escape of the countryside... But one of the greatest parts about my experience in Vienna was the IES staff. The people in charge of IES Vienna feel more like a family than anything else, and that made it so much easier to grow accustomed to a new city and see it as a home. The teaching faculty was also enthusiastic, and the European professors seemed to love the chance to work closely with American college students in small, discussion-based environments. My teaching internship at a Viennese high school also connected me with a tutoring job for a young Austrian family, which was a great way to earn extra money while feeling immersed in domestic Austrian life. My time in Vienna inspired me to apply to a Fulbright and some other teaching assistantships in Germany and Austria for after graduation, an opportunity I would not have pursued otherwise.

How can this program be improved?
Fewer students, maybe like 30 fewer.
Yes, I recommend
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Jacqueline
9/10

Different than expected, but still WUNDERBAR!

Before I studied away, I had this vague idea of a semester abroad as an easy, fun, exciting experience where I'd get to see some amazing art, eat awesome food, and learn a new language. However, homesickness hit me hard during orientation. Additionally, not speaking German well made previously mundane experiences like food shopping difficult. Fortunately, the IES abroad staff are awesome- they are extremely caring about their students and offers all sorts of tips, advice, and events that make living in Vienna not overwhelming. On the other hand, they also give you a lot of freedom to do what you want, meet cool people, and travel. The classes weren't too difficult (except for German!). Most of my teachers really made an effort at immersing us in Austrian culture too- my art history classes half the time at various places around Vienna, and my German class would sometimes go to cafes or other places to get better at speaking in specific situations. Definitely recommend, especially for a beginner German speaker.

Yes, I recommend

About IES Abroad

IES Abroad offers 140 programs worldwide for college students. We are a highly charged force of study abroad enthusiasts. Every day we have the privilege of witnessing how study abroad changes our students’ lives. We also believe that every student...