IES Abroad Vienna – European Society & Culture

COVID-19 Program Updates

Due to global health & safety concerns and travel restrictions related to the coronavirus, IES Abroad has decided to offer flexible booking options for some of their upcoming programs. Learn more about COVID-19 updates to stay tuned regarding program information.

Video and Photos

Beaming after a full 2 days of skiing at Kitzsteinhorn. (Outfits compliments of a thrift store in Budapest, Hungary. And yes, I got them all home. Space bags are wonderful)
Woke up to this, my first morning in Austria. (Orientation in Mariazell, Austria)
Gum-Butt looking over the Pest side of the incredible city that is Budapest, Hungary. (A must-go)

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.

Scholarships

IES Abroad Scholarships
IES Abroad Scholarships and Financial Aid

As far as we're concerned, financial limitations shouldn't prevent you from studying abroad with us. That's why we offer more than $5 million in scholarships and aid.

Value
$500 - $5,000

Questions & Answers

IES Abroad had about 180 students during the program time period that I was abroad although it felt as though there were a lot less. There was never a feeling of crowding while attending IES things felt balanced.

I didn’t stay in the residence hall, but one of my friends did and it is apartment-style living on the same street as the building that the IES school/classes are, so it’s in district 1 right in the city center! I think it’s a really good option and you don’t have to commute into the city center for school - just walk!

Reviews

9.4 Rating
based on 43 reviews
  • Academics 7.3
  • Support 9.4
  • Fun 9.3
  • Housing 9.2
  • Safety 9.7
Showing 1 - 8 of 43
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Reese
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Overall Fun in Austria

I enjoyed my time in Austria for the most part. I tried a lot of different foods, looked at a large variety of art and learned a lot about language. I had some difficulties with class structure and choices and the rigidity of the IES system. The people in the program staff were quite nice and helpful and usually available. There were a lot of difficutkirss getting adjusted to the culture abroad but it's all part of the process I suppose. Given this it still had its fun moments. Vienna has a lot of things to offer and the housing situation I was placed in provided me a lot of opportunities to go out and explore and see places close by. I found myself really enjoying getting immersed in the culture abroad. Food was fantastic. Public transport was easy to figure out and overall it was enjoyable.

What would you improve about this program?
Make the system more flexible to class choice changes
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Libby
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The Best Experience of My Life

The IES program in Vienna created the best semester abroad I could've ever asked for. I felt welcomed right away by the staff who were extremely attentive and very experienced in helping in various situations. They really created a home base for their students. One of my favorite parts were the incredible trips they organized, such as the ski trip on a glacier in the Austrian Alps (many people learned to ski for the first time on this trip), a journey through the beautiful mountain villages in the west up to Prague, and a weekend trip to the Wachau Valley for hiking and wine tasting. Pretty much all students lived in apartments. I lived in the 5th district of the city with an easy 20 minute commute to school (Vienna’s public transportation system is so easy to master). Classes take place in an old palace in the city center between the Opera house and St. Stephen’s cathedral. For many classes I got to tour museums during class period and really learn hands-on about art, history, architecture and psychology. The central location of the school enabled me to explore the ins-and-outs of Vienna on a daily basis after or between classes. The IES program helps make things happen for its students. They make known events from the film festival at the Rathaus to how to join a gym or sports club team. They help create incredible experiences, such as providing discounted tickets to attend an infamous Vienna ball and dancing lessons to prepare. I was able to see the dress rehearsal for a world premiere at the State opera house. We were able to have a big Thanksgiving dinner in a traditional countryside tavern. And they helped people get involved with locals through setting up local German language buddies and helping students get internships. The program at IES Vienna creates a community and enables its students to explore and soak up every possible second of the most incredible semester imaginable. I would give anything to be back in Vienna right now.

What would you improve about this program?
This program could be improved by encouraging its students further to get involved with the locals in Vienna and around other parts of Austria. It does a great job helping students immerse into the culture, but not necessarily by interacting with locals. They help set up German language buddy pairs, but I wish I had realized the importance of putting myself out there with the people in Vienna while I was there.
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Mary Claire
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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.
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Sasha
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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!

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

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.

What would you improve about this program?
One of the classes I took I felt needed a curriculum overhaul, but the majority were extremely enjoyable.
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Anastasia
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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!

What would you improve about this program?
The program could give students more freedom with class choices and class attendance however this was never really an issue for me personally.
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Emily
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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!

What would you improve about this program?
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.
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Jessica
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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.
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