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 16 - 30 of 41
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Saphir
6/10

Vienna Spring 2015

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
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Fionna
9/10

An Amazing Experience

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!

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Aaron
9/10

All about Wien.

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.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Alli
10/10

A Great Semester in Vienna

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.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Katie
9/10

Do yourself a favor, and study abroad.

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.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Lauren
10/10

IES Vienna

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.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Ben
7/10

Best time of my life

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.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
studyabroadinaustria
9/10

Ich liebe Wien

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.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Bridget
9/10

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

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.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Elizabeth
10/10

The Perfect Semester Abroad!

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.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Meredith
10/10

Semester Abroad 2014

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.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Alex
10/10

An Incredible Semester in Vienna

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!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Gustav
9/10

An Unbeatable Experience

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.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Drew
10/10

Wien

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.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Katherine
10/10

IES Vienna- An Unforgettable Semester!

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!
Yes, I recommend this program

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...