IES Abroad Vienna - European Society & Culture
94% Rating
(34 Reviews)

IES Abroad Vienna - European Society & Culture

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!

Locations
Europe » Austria » Vienna
Europe » Austria
Subject Areas
Art History
Cultural Studies
European Studies
Finance
International Business
Philosophy
Sociology
Theater, Drama and Dance
Women's Studies
Degree Level
Bachelors
Timeframe
Academic Year
Fall
Spring
Accommodation
Apartment
Language
English
Steps
Online Application
Official Transcripts
Age Requirement
GPA Requirement
Health Requirement
Starting Price
$0.00
Currency
USD
Price Details
Contact IES Abroad or see website for details: www.IESabroad.org/vienna
Other Locations
Vienna

Questions & Answers

Program Reviews

  • Academics
    74%
  • Support
    94%
  • Fun
    92%
  • Housing
    91%
  • Safety
    96%

Program Reviews (34)

Default avatar
Taylor
Female
21 years old
South Carolina
Wofford College

Studying and Living in Vienna

9/10

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.

Default avatar
Avery
Female
21 years old
Raleigh, North Carolina
North Carolina State University

Great for Diverse Learning and Language Immersion!

10/10

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.

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Thomas
Male
20 years old
United States
University of Wisconsin- Madison

Immerse in Learning!

10/10

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.

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Molly
Female
21 years old
United States
Boston College

IES Abroad Vienna Review

9/10

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.

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Claire
Female
21 years old
San Diego, CA
University of San Diego

Best Decision!

10/10

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.

Default avatar
Mara
Female
22 years old
Galesburg, IL
Knox College

A Semester at the Opera

10/10

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.

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Julianne
Female
23 years old
Weston
University of Rochester

The Perfect Study Abroad Experience

10/10

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.

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Jacqueline
Female
22 years old
Williamstown
Williams College

Different than expected, but still WUNDERBAR!

9/10

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.

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Saphir
Female
Tampa, FL
Emory University

Vienna Spring 2015

6/10

Academic:
The classes are not demanding allowing students to travel often or go out and explore the city. Classes did not take up all of my time with homework or frequent exams/papers, so there was always still more than enough time to explore the city and beyond. I appreciated that many of my classes made an effort to take us on field trips around the city to make real world connections relevant to the course. Each class works to intertwine the history and culture of Vienna and Austria into the subject matter and we often compared our own cultures to Austrian culture. There is a library, computer lab, and printers on site that students are able to use.

Staff:
The staff was always available for us and willing to offer cafe suggestions, travel tips, local advice, etc.

Living:
The location of my apartment was incredible! I was placed in the 6th district central to the U4 line (main subway line), the Naschmarkt (outdoor market), Mariahilferstrasse (main shopping area), and so much more. The location is extremely important when you study abroad because I was always able to drop my stuff off after class and continue my day walking around the city. My apartment houses six of us- a single room for our Viennese RA, a double room, and a triple room.

There were options of living in large houses with spacious accommodations in the suburbs. However, the commute was extremely long and many of those students weren't able to participate in many social events after classes because their commute could be over an hour and a half.

Food:
Austrian cuisine is extremely heavy and meaty. However, there are many options for other types of food. There was a wonderful sushi restaurant next to my apartment I would go to often with friends. The cafe culture is integral to Austrian history, so that is where you'll find great coffee and Apfelstrudels. Many people cooked for themselves and brought lunch to the IES Center because Vienna is pretty expensive.

Social Integration:
I lived with an Viennese RA, I had a language buddy, and I attended many local events. However, I still did not feel integrated with the locals. IES classes are strictly with American students in the IES center away from the University. There is an opportunity to take sports classes through the University and also classes in the University, but they are taught in German.

Culturally, I felt that I sought spots in the city and events only locals would go to and I was able to find some pretty unique spots/events by googling and asking the staff and my RA.

Health:
I was sick twice during the program and I was able to easily access medicine in the pharmacy.

Safety:
Vienna is absolutely one of the safest cities I have ever been to. There was honestly never a moment I felt unsafe or scared to be alone.

School Preparedness:
My home university prepared me with meetings with my study abroad advisor and a larger meeting with everyone going abroad in the spring that included any and all topics that would be relevant to being abroad.

Budgeting:
Vienna is a very expensive city and it's hard to live on a student's budget.
Money was mainly a concern towards the beginning of the program because I constantly wanted to explore new cafes and museums with friends. After about a month of constant spending, I began cooking my own meals and taking lunch to the IES center and budgeting my expenses. I made a list of priorities that I was comfortable spending money on and lessening how often I ate out at cafes.
At the beginning of your program, begin listing what you spend your money on and noticing what you should expect to spend more on and what you should expect to spend less on.

Language:
We were required to take German class three times a week for about an hour and a half each class. We had activities where we were required to go out into the Naschmarkt and use German to order our groceries. The class had an oral, reading, and writing focus. We had a test every two weeks and a quiz almost every class. My German teacher was very kind and willing to help us truly learn the language.

Everyday really does go by so quickly so make the best of everyday. Go out and explore a new street or cafe every single day. In the long run you'll be glad you made the most of your time abroad.

How can this program be improved?

Diversity of schools represented- IES tends to attract students from Penn State

Default avatar
Fionna
Female
24 years old
Brentwood, California
University of Pittsburgh

An Amazing Experience

9/10

I chose my study abroad program based on the classes I needed to take to graduate on time. Though my original reasons for coming to Vienna were academic in nature, the program and the city itself made the experience truly fantastic.

The IES Vienna program provides many opportunities to experience the local culture and meet the local people, and the staff is filed with friendly people who are always happy to recommend new places to go. As residents of Vienna, the IES students are able to register in the Sports University, which offers almost any sport you can imagine with local students. Students are also encouraged to sign up for language buddies. This allows us to break out of the"American Bubble" American students at a program like this might find themselves in. Of course, you are still required to attend classes, but these are not overwhelmingly difficult. The professors tend to be passionate about their respective subjects, and many classes offer regular field trips to explore the city. Each class works to intertwine the history and culture of Vienna and Austria into the subject matter.

It did not take me long to fall in love with Vienna. Though a decently large city, constant community events make her feel like a much smaller town. At any given moment there could be a festival in front of the Rathaus, a market in front of Schönbrunn, or even a ball in the Hofberg. The city is a center for culture and history, but also has plenty of choice regarding bars and nightlife, combining the old with the new. The city is full of interesting museums, but you don't need to enter one to fully experience the history of the city: all the buildings speak of the influence of the Habsburg empire. Friends meet up to lounge in one of the many parks, or drink coffee in one of the many coffee houses. Since the city is located in the middle of the Vienna Woods, it's easy to leave the city to hike or enjoy the view from on top of Kahlenberg.

Vienna is ideally located in the center of Europe, making it a perfect home base for visiting the surrounding countries.

I never expected to love Vienna as much as I did, but it's hard not to fall in love with this beautiful city. Spending a semester there was a great choice, and one I'd happily make again!

Default avatar
Aaron
Male
24 years old
Home
Indiana University- Bloomington

All about Wien.

9/10

My time in Vienna did a lot of good for me. I'd like to first talk about the IES staff. The group was rather silly at times, but they do their jobs extremely well and gave me some great advice over the course of the semester. The housing was pretty nice and provided for my needs. Everything in Vienna is easy to get to, so that's awesome. As for Vienna, it's still the imperial city, and there's nowhere in Europe or possibly the world that does it better. The grandiose architecture is beautiful, the giant palaces are breathtaking, and there are enough museums to keep even a giant history nerd like me satisfied. Not to mention that cities like Bratislava, Salzburg, Budapest, Prague, and Munich are an easy train ride away. Being in so many foreign environments really gave me an opportunity to learn about myself, who I truly am and what I care about, and that's the most important thing I'll take away from this (along with several kilograms of souvenirs).

How can this program be improved?

Tell whoever made us have German class on Friday because parents were complaining we travel too much to shut up.

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Alli
Female
24 years old
Boston, MA
Boston College

A Great Semester in Vienna

10/10

I spent this past fall in Vienna, Austria and had an amazing experience. Vienna is an amazingly beautiful city that offers a large variety of cultural experiences. While studying abroad in Vienna, I was able to go to ballets, operas, museums and experience many of the delicious cafes. Vienna is a city that is very easy to navigate as it has a great public transportation system. IES is incredibly helpful in getting you set up in the city and the staff is a great support system to help you adjust to your new surroundings. IES gives each student housing and I lived in a great apartment with five other American students. The staff was incredibly helpful and willing to assist me whenever I had a question. Academically, IES offers a large amount of classes covering many different academic areas. Specifically, I enjoyed taking classes that had weekly outings to different museums and historical locations throughout the city. I felt that these classes really helped me to learn a lot about the city and Vienna’s history. The professors at IES were very knowledgeable and understood the different aspects of a study abroad experience the students were looking for. Overall, I had an amazing semester abroad experience through IES in Vienna.

Default avatar
Katie
Female
24 years old
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
University of Pittsburgh

Do yourself a favor, and study abroad.

9/10

When I decided to study abroad I had 3 main goals:
1. Meet locals
2. Learn the host culture
3. Explore places less traveled
I accomplished all of these and more to the point where I have a life in Vienna that is calling me back.

I skateboard so naturally I wanted to find people to skate with. For the first few weeks, I'd set out on my longboard exploring the city, finding skate parks, meeting people and having them draw on my map of new places I should go (I highly recommend you doing this, the map thing).

This routine led me to meeting a few other female skaters who were my access to 'the other side'. I hung out with more Austrians than Americans in my 4 months abroad. All it took was the effort to get myself out there and be the kind of good, cool American they'd want around. Anyone can do this as long as they are willing to adapt to their surrounding environment and culture. There is #2.

Sitting back and quietly observing Europeans has made a huge impression on me. I love the simplicity and solidarity of Viennese manner. I have adopted this into my own manner, as I know how much I can learn by simply watching.

After living amongst European culture, American culture defines itself as much more stereotypical. I do see us as lazy, overindulgent, gluttonous when compared to the simple way Europe runs and has been running for years. Basically, now that I've stepped out and back in to the dome that is America, I've withdrawn from 'the juice' and see through it; America doesn't seem to be chalked up to what it always has been. This is a personal opinion so don't take too much heed to this...

What you need to know is that studying abroad will be the best thing you'll ever do for yourself. It doesn't matter where you go (although some places are cheaper than others (Budapest, Prague)). What matters is that you temporarily leave what you've always known to go off and experience something completely different, where you'll learn new things and see in a different, worldly view. Any apprehension should dissolve because if you choose a great program with IES there is an incredible team of locals who are there to make your experience the best it can be. They are super helpful and want to make sure you're safe and comfortable.

I hope this helps to get you excited about the journey you'll hopefully be making soon! You can try to prepare yourself as best as you can (pack light, keep track of expenses, DELETE FACEBOOK, DON'T BE SO CONNECTED TO HOME) but really there is no way you can expect what your abroad experience will be like. It will be better than you can ever imagine. Get out there and see the world!

How can this program be improved?

Class descriptions could be more clean-cut so students know exactly what they're getting in to. There really isn't much I can complain about now that I'm back in America and looking back on the best time of my life.

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Lauren
Female
24 years old
New York
Colgate University

IES Vienna

10/10

THe IES program in Vienna was incredible. The staff is a wonderful community, all of whom are willing to help with anything and everything. The classes are interesting with professors from varied backgrounds. One of my professors was a curator at the Art History Museum, allowing us to have class there once a week. Vienna is a beautiful city full of culture.

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Ben
Male
24 years old
United States
Wofford College

Best time of my life

7/10

Studying abroad with IES was my best decision in college so far. Being located in the middle of Vienna, I was able to see the magnificent beauty of the city. The IES classes allowed me to engage and understood the way that I learn. Also, IES gave me the opportunity to grow my friend network across the country.

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studyabroadinaustria
Male
24 years old
North Carolina
Wake Forest University

Ich liebe Wien

9/10

My time spent with IES Abroad in Vienna was one of the most enriching experiences of my life. Living and learning in the heart of central Europe allowed me to travel to much of Europe, including places I had previously not thought about going to such as Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Slovenia. The classes were engaging and the teachers took an interest in every student. IES made it easy to socialize with many trips and events throughout the semester. I cherish my time spent in Austria and hope others will too!

How can this program be improved?

I would change having class on Friday, it was unnecessary.

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Bridget
Female
24 years old
Bloomington
Indiana University- Bloomington

My Semester in the Country of Mountains and the City of Music

9/10

I spent Fall 2014 in Vienna with IES and it was one of the best decisions I have made in my time in college so far. I had studied German for two semesters before arriving in Vienna, but I was definitely not that confident in my speaking ability at first. However, the intensive German classes and my language pledge apartment helped me develop my skills and have fun speaking German as much as I could. I especially enjoyed the option to take a class in German in which we got to visit numerous cultural sites and many of the outstanding museums in Vienna with German speaking guides. It is a fantastic way to feel like a part of the Austrian community, to see Operas in German, or the Wiener Philharmonic or wander through the Kunsthistorisches Museum or Belvedere (Both famous art museums). And all of these opportunities are available to you whether or not you speak German well or just like to try like me. The city is incredibly easy to get around and well laid out. The IES community is also quite open and friendly. There are many opportunities (from filed trips, to small classes, or even just meeting in the famous Café houses at random) to develop lasting friendships and have your horizons expanded not just from an international perspective but also through classmates from all over the US. Fall is an excellent time to study in Vienna as you begin with summer, witness the leaves changing in fall and still are around to experience the Christmas Markets and the first of the balls in the fairytale Ball Season. However, I utterly recommend the experience any time of year. Vienna is well worth the trip and IES will help you make the most of it.

How can this program be improved?

Vienna is an expensive city, and there is really no way around that, but perhaps IES could tell us more about where our money goes to. It would be good if grades got to us faster as well.

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Elizabeth
Female
24 years old
wellesley, MA
Boston College

The Perfect Semester Abroad!

10/10

My time in Vienna was an incredible experience. IES helped me find a balance between academics, exploration, and travel that made my time in Vienna exactly what I wanted. Unlike some other abroad programs, IES values a rigorous academic schedule that allows you to get the most out of the city by learning about it's past while you are living it's present. Classes not only encourage students to explore, but also take students on excursions throughout the city of Vienna. Lastly, the program organizes trips all over Europe and Austria that are available for students to participate in. Additionally, they aid students in planning their own fun and safe travel. The staff were incredible, helpful, and extremely knowledgable about the city. They were always accessible to all students. IES did everything they could to support us without being an overbearing presence. I was independent, but always felt I had the support I needed. That independence gave me the time to figure out that Vienna is an incredible place to live. From the delicious bakeries on every corner to the impeccably run public transportation system, Vienna was easy to call home. I learned about a new language, the beauty of classical music, and the history of a fantastic place. Walking through the streets of Vienna was like living in a fairytale. My experience with IES Vienna was invaluable and I could not ask for a better semester abroad. I recommend this program to all.

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Meredith
Female
24 years old
Sewanee, TN
University of the South

Semester Abroad 2014

10/10

I had an amazing time in Vienna! The city is amazing and such a fun place to study. As a psychology major, I really enjoyed getting to learn about Freud and Jung in the places where they taught and studied as well. I absolutely loved IES. It was an amazing program that catered to the needs of every student and made sure everyone had an amazing time. All of the staff and students in the program were so fun and I met so many great people. IES is helpful in all regards and the center is beautiful. It is located in the heart of Vienna, making it easy to see everything that Vienna has to offer. I highly recommend this program to anyone who loves to travel and have a great time.

How can this program be improved?

I would have liked to know ahead of time that there are Friday classes, because many programs only have class Monday-Thursday to offer more time to travel, but this program does not. I enjoyed the class I had on Friday, but I do wish I had known ahead of time.

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Alex
Female
24 years old
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
Wake Forest University

An Incredible Semester in Vienna

10/10

Studying abroad helped me become a more independent and confident person. Through IES I was able to meet new people and learn about different cultures. Vienna became a second home to me, and throughout the semester I was able to get outside of my comfort zone and explore new things!

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Gustav
Female
24 years old
Boston, MA
Williams College

An Unbeatable Experience

9/10

Studying abroad with IES Vienna European Studies could not have been a more positive experience. I did not know much about Vienna before arriving, but it turned out to be a great place to study abroad. Every night there are tons of cultural activities going on in the city and it is also one of the safest cities I've ever been to, so I never felt inhibited because of that. The program was also very good about organizing events for the students and helping out with any issue we had or any housing complications.

How can this program be improved?

Because I only took classes with Americans and lived with Americans, it was very difficult to meet Austrians. There is a language buddy system where IES sets students up with other Austrians but I would like to see more events like this to get the IES students more involved with Austrians.

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Drew
Female
24 years old
Clemson, South Carolina
Clemson University

Wien

10/10

Day in the life of an IES Vienna student - Take the flawless public transportation to your school which is a palace in the heart of a clean and safe city. Go to class which usually consists of a German lesson and then a few other classes that involve cultural awareness enhancing field trips to Freud's apartment and a hydroelectric dams in Slovakia. Grab lunch at a local supermarket with fresh and delicious sandwich options unless you opt for a tasty falafel stand and eat it in one of the many parks of Vienna that provide ample viewing of the endless sights and scenes of Wien. Go to another class that is taught by a friendly and eccentric Viennese psychologist. Perhaps take the bus out to the furthest district of Vienna for an afternoon hike amongst vineyards and wine cellars in the hills. Come back into the city for an evening public opera viewing in the streets of Vienna. Grab a beer with some fellow students before you take a stroll along the Danube admiring the tasteful and legal graffiti that is confetti along the canal. Head home while the street musicians make their way into the public. Make a family dinner with your fellow IESers and talk about your upcoming weekend trip to Prague since it's all of a few hours away.

How can this program be improved?

The German classes were a bit sub - par.

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Katherine
Female
24 years old
United States
Boston College

IES Vienna- An Unforgettable Semester!

10/10

I spent the Spring 2014 of my junior year abroad with IES Vienna- European Society and Culture. I would jump at the opportunity to study another semester with IES! Going abroad opened my eyes to new cultures and how much more there is in the world outside of my college bubble. I had the experience to travel around Europe, ski in the Alps, watch a Footbal match in London, sky dive in Italy and see the tulip fields in Amsterdam. It was the opportunity of a lifetime. I was able to experience rich cultures and history and try new things that I will forever be grateful I had the chance to do!
Vienna is a unique and beautiful city. The natives are all so friendly. There are many markets, seasonal festivals, and the IES School is located in the heart of the city. Vienna is the place to be for music, the arts, or just a desire to immerse yourself in a city rich with culture that will soon feel like home.
The program begins in a small town outside of VIenna, where you meet your classmates and learn about the program. There are lots of outings and opportunities to start exploring Austria right away!
The academics with IES are taught by excellent faculty and offer a wide range of music, econ, psychology, history, arts, and German classes. You start off the semester with three weeks of intensive German, a useful beginning to be able to jump into life in a German-speaking country. We went on outings and field trips for many classes, from Beethoven's house, to his grave site, and could really learn about the place we were living.
While in Vienna I was able to have a teaching internship (they offer many different types of internships that many students partake in!) at a local school through IES. I was assistant teaching English to children ages 10-18. No previous German language was required! I felt like an integral part of the community and cherished this opportunity. I also had the chance to immerse myself in a German speaking cultuer and vastly improve my German speaking and writing skills. My music class with IES had a compnent that required us to visit concerts and operas and write up reviews. This was a rewarding way to engage in all the city had to offer. I took two of my classes in German.
IES sponsored several student trips and excursions, which were a highlight and great way to see new places. Some involved skiing, trips around Austria, and a spring break multi-city trip. There were also museum trips, group dinners, cooking classes, and concerts organized for students to go to.
I lived in an apartment with other IES students and was very well situated not too far from school. It didn't take long to navigate public transportation! In a short time, Vienna became my home. The people were all so friendly and welcoming. The city was clean, safe, and beautiful. I attended a ball, went ice skating by the Rathaus, spent hours in the Naschmarkt shopping, going to mass at Stephansdom, and exploring die Donau, the river that runs through Vienna. The food was wonderful, from Wurst stands, cafes (they are everywhere!) Sache Torte, Mozartkugeln, schnitzel, and more! There is so much to explore in Vienna and I would love to go back and see what I was not able to!
The faculty and staff were very helpful and attentive. I ended up getting sick abroad and felt like I was taken care of and looked out for. I loved my time with IES Abroad and highly recommend anyone interested in studying abroad to take advantage of the opportunity to go, it is a once in a lifetime opportunity to learn about new cultures, learn about yourself, and explore what the world has to offer! I highly recomment IES Vienna!!!

How can this program be improved?

I would encourage more opportunities to connect with locals and the city of Vienna itself. Not all students are able to stay an extra month and take classes at the University of Vienna (Uni Wien) so more opportunities to connect with the community we are living in would be great!

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Maggie
Female
24 years old
Clemson, South Carolina
Clemson University

My Best Decision Yet

10/10

Located on the Danube, Vienna, Austria is in the center of Europe and is a hub of immense culture with a huge emphasis on the arts. This city is rich with different cultures and through the architecture and different parts of the city, one can see all of these cultures come together. It is the only capital city in Europe that makes wine. Traveling throughout the country and Europe is extremely easy to manage because of its central location.

From the moment I stepped off of the plane, IES Abroad staff members were there to greet me and take the rest of the students to orientation. They answered any possible questions we had and made sure we knew as much about the city as possible before we lived in it. They immerse you in the Austrian culture by first taking you to the countryside outside of Vienna. We were well informed about the public transportation, how to get to school, the culture that we would face, and how to live in this brand new city. The staff is this helpful for the entire semester and it is wonderful. The staff also organized 4 different field trips including a Germany trip, a ski trip (in the Austrian Alps!, and 2 trips around Austria).

There are a variety of classes from music, psychology, business, art, and, of course, German. The instructors know that traveling is a priority for students. They make an effort to immerse you in the Vienna culture while learning by going on field trips. There are also internship opportunities that can further immerse you in Vienna culture and help you connect with locals. The teachers are from a variety of backgrounds. Some are alumni of the program which is always a great connection to have. The academics are not too rigorous. You learn, but you have a lot of fun while doing it.

The IES staff will help anyone that encounters culture shock and makes it a requirement at the beginning, middle, and end, to discuss each phase of culture shock we would be facing. The city is extremely clean and safe. The housing that IES provides is fantastic. There are homestays and apartments. Most people stay in apartments with other IES students and are scattered throughout the city. I loved that my friends were all in different locations. I could explore the city while going to everyone's house. Vienna has multiple districts and each one is unique and has it's own history.

If you are looking for a culturally rich city that is easy to navigate and become accustomed to, then this is the right program for you. Even if you are not too into classical music or opera, you can still appreciate the lifestyle that these people lead. You will want to travel and discover more of Europe, but you will also want to stay for a lot of weekends to discover Vienna. There are lots of parks and fun places to go to for night life or museums and things to explore during the day.

Any difficulties I may have encountered I overcame during my stay. They were mostly related to the culture being different and that is something that everyone can relate to while traveling. I would recommend this program to anyone that asked. I made wonderful memories.

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Dominique
Female
24 years old
Chicago, Illinois
University of Illinois- Urbana-Champaign

Year in Vienna

10/10

This study abroad program had everything you could think of to make a great study abroad experience. The staff makes adjusting to a new city easy and fun, starting from the orientation weekend and settling into our housing. the housing is great, a lot of the apartments are near the city center, and close to other student apartments. Throughout the year IES hosts several different trips for students, and throughout both semester I went on each of them. The three city trips were inexpensive and a great money savor. I got to see a lot of different areas of Austria I would not have seen otherwise. The ski and snowboard trip was my favorite because of the deal we got on rentals, and the fact that there was always someone to ski whether you were just learning or experienced.

The best part of the program was the range of academics they offered, since you could take classes at both the IES center and the University of Vienna. The teachers at IES are great because they really try to get you out of the classroom and explore the city. For example in my art history classes we spent most of the time in different museums, and even got free museum passes from them.

Overall Vienna is an amazing city to live in, since there is always something to do, places to explore, and events the city is planning. IES is very good about informing students on the different events being thrown around the city. The public transportation is easy to understand and learn, and efficient. Plus students can feel comfortable about safety, not once did I feel scared to use public transportation at night.

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Ashlyn
Female
24 years old
Vienna, Austria
Wofford College

Such a Blessing!

10/10

This program was AMAYIGN! The IES Abroad staf made studying abroad such a great experience, and they were a huge help when it came to any needs that arose. The living arrangements are clean and very nice. The academics are challenging but not life consuming wich left me with lots of free to to enjoy the culture and travel. There are a large aray of courses offered, and IES even offers courses in German. If you have the time to stay an extra month, IES will help you enroll and take courses directly at the University of Vienna for no extra cost! Because Vienna is such a melting pot, getting to now the locals and area was great! I even joind a cheerleading squad and made some life-long friendships. Oh, and if you are interested in history, go to Vienna! They have countless museums and historical sites. The city is beautiful, the locals are awesome, the culture is diverse and fun, and the IES makes study abroad an adventure! Go to Vienna!!!

How can this program be improved?

I highly disliked that the German language course (which every student is required to take) was graded on the Austrian scale rather than the Americna scale. All of our other classes were graded on the American scale, so it doe not make sense to me that this one class was graded on a different scale. It was also very annoying that no one was able to clearly explain to me what happens to my German language grade when it goes back to American. Is it then rescaled to the American scale? If not, how is my GPA affected by having a grade factored into it that isn´on the same scale? The rest of the program was beyond amazing, but that part was just annoying.

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laurelbeans
Female
24 years old
Minneapolis, Minnesota
University of Minnesota

A step into Europe, or a step into the past

8/10

Vienna was an absolutely beautiful cosmopolitan city. I had the most fun exploring hidden streets, cafes, or local hideaways revealed by the staff at IES. The academic classes were not that difficult, but I went to art museums, birthplaces of composers such as Beethoven, and attend operas and other music events, and they provided me the tangible evidence of history. I wish I could have immersed myself in the language more and taken advantage of the language buddy program, because they pair you up with an Austrian student and you get a chance to have a local critique your German, not to mention an Austrian friend. Being away from home for six months was challenging, but the chance to explore a city that deeply was one I never would trade.

How can this program be improved?

I would not room with five other people. It is much too stressful to try to get that many personalities to work together.

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teragramknife
Female
24 years old
United States
Johns Hopkins University

Amazing Study Abroad Experience

10/10

Vienna is literally all I could have asked for in a city in term of studying abroad. There is always something happening (concerts, operas, musicals, plays, festivals, parties, and so much more), it is an incredibly safe city, it is clean and green, surrounded by alpine mountains, full of life, and so so amazingly easy to get around in. Not a day has gone by since I have been in Vienna that I haven't found another reason to love this city. And I certainly think that IES Abroad Vienna has a lot to do with this. They provided my the resources and the knowledge necessary to make the most of Vienna. The IES staff are wonderful. Always so helpful, no matter how mundane your question is and just generally excited to show you as much of Vienna as they possibly can. However, I must say that IES can become sort of a bubble. You take all your classes with the same students in the same buildings. If you wanted to, you could easily limit yourself to the easy, comfortable life provided by IES. However, with just a little effort, it is fun and rewarding to step outside this bubble. For an example, I started taking two sports classes with Austrian college students at the Universität Sport Institut Wien (which IES staff helped me do).

One of my goals in this program is to not let a day go by without having done something new or exciting. This can be anything from going to an opera or trying a new restaurant, or going on a new hike. It is incredibly easy to make this happen. Most days it happens without any effort at all! It seems as though tons of amazing opportunities are simply everywhere in this city.

I have been enjoying all of my classes so far. I am a neuroscience major at my home school, so the idea of taking all history, literature, music, and language classes is both foreign and exciting. My professors have all been extremely well qualified and enthusiastic. I truly feels as though they are excited to teach this material and are excited by IES students. The language program has been wonderful. I adore my German class. I truly feel like my German skills have been improving every day and I have been enjoying it. Each class we find ourselves laughing and joking, all in German! It has truly been a great experience thus far.

How can this program be improved?

I would change the bubble-like nature of this program. It can be so easy to get sucked into a simple routine, in which you speak no german, see little of vienna, and stay within your comfort zone. Which certainly is not what studying abroad is about! I'm not sure in what way this would be possible, but it is something that I know every other IES Vienna student can relate to.

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Marie
Female
42 years old
Madison, WI
Drake University

The View From Hietzing

10/10

Years ago when I was selecting my undergrad college, the number two thing I sought was a school that would allow me to study abroad in Vienna. Unlike most students, I had the unique opportunity to tour Europe with my high school choir and of all the places we went (including Venice, Munich and Paris) it was, as the song says: Wien, Wien, nur du allein! The IES program is what my school offered so that is the program I applied to.

Back in those days (I am an '87-88 full year abroad alum) the app process was slow and laborious and communication difficult, but I arrived in Vienna a few days before the start of my program with a basic knowledge of how to ask for directions in German and a desire to see things. Best decision ever! That first day I went all over the city on my own on public transit - 19 and full of confidence. I even hopped the U-Bahn and rode out to Schoenbrunn Palace - a place I would later consider my personal backyard.

By the time the program started, Vienna already felt like home to me. We were taken to Mariazell for orientation and to choose roommates. I had come alone and was an only child, so when no one chose to room with me, I took a single alllll the way out in the 14th district. Probably never would have done it had I not seen the city first. Again, best decision ever! I lived with a family and unlike my program colleagues I was hit gold. Hietzing is the "diplomats district" and is full of ambassadorial residences and wealthy people. My housing was a private flat in the basement of an enormous single family home. I had my own bathroom with shower and was allowed to use the family washing machine whenever I wanted to. Because I lived so far from the school (which is in a former palace) centrally located just off the Kaertnerstrasse I commuted daily by U-Bahn -- which is on the honor system but let me tell you, do NOT think you can get away with no ticket. You will be caught and fined. You had to register at the local police department when you arrived so that they knew who you were and where you lived. IES gave us directions on how to do this, but essentially everyone learned on their own.

Some highlights of my year: I joined the English speaking Catholic church across from the US Embassy and when they heard me singing they made me the regular Sunday cantor! Singing in a peace choir with some expat Brits and Irish at St Stephen's cathedral. Shopping at the Flohmarkt. Making friends with a Kansan who was au pairing with an opera singer and sitting front row at the Musikverein for a charity concert. Austrian Art and Architecture class. The Christkindlemarkt. Easter in the Tatra Mountains. Being followed through the Rathaus by a skinhead telling our study group that the holocaust was a fake. Hearing T'Pau perform live in the middle of the Hofburg courtyard. Commuting daily with hausfraus and their "rat dogs." Picnics on the Donauinsel. Lunch at the Hochschule fur Musik and hearing musicians practice through out open classroom windows. Those little Manner eirbiscotten (not available in the US). Nom-Mix yogurt. Schnitzel at "The Green Gasthaus." The recorded voice of the man on the U-Bahn and Strassenbahn. Stehplatz at the opera. Visiting the Tiergarten at Schoenbrunn. Hiking in the Wienerwald. Study trips to Krems, Melk, Prague, Krakow, Auschwitz, Moscow, Berlin and Budapest were quite amazing. And so much more!

Vienna is an immensely liveable city and to this day I often say it's a great place to live, but I wouldn't want to visit there. Its location at the intersection of east and west gives you so many many options. One piece of advice: don't limit yourself! Travel. Take risks. Explore beyond the city. Immerse yourself in Austria - she will never leave your heart.

How can this program be improved?

Back in my day the biggest flaw was poor communication. Other than that honestly, this was the best thing from my four years in college.

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WienFiend
Female
24 years old
New York, New York
University of Rochester

Wien is a Wien-ner

10/10

Mention Vienna to most Americans and they think Italy. Mention Austria to others and they gush about koalas. These people are missing out on knowledge about one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

Studying abroad in Austria was such an amazing experience. I find that everyday, I look back on my experience and smile about one thing or another, whether it is the new language I learned or the amazing people I met, not only from America, but from Austria, Chile, France, Italy, and Germany.

This was my first experience in Europe. Vienna itself is a gorgeous, clean city with easy to navigate public transportation and some amazing museums and buildings. In terms of travelling, Vienna is that wonderful border right between Eastern and Western Europe. Its citizens speak German, but they are pretty fluent with English as well. Crime is low and politeness is high.

In Vienna, I learned more about living on my own, away from my usual support systems but still supported. The important message to take from abroad is not the classes you take, although they can really add to your trip and teach you a lot about the culture, but to learn to survive in and accept a culture that is different from your own. With the resources provided by the program, it is an easy thing to do. I would highly recommend the teaching internships offered, where you go into Austrian schools and learn firsthand about the average life of a person who may not be too much younger than you and come to understand the similarities and differences between your life and theirs.

Ich vermisse Wien!

How can this program be improved?

More organized professors, and more German class to learn the language better.

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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 should have the opportunity to

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