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 35 reviews
  • Academics 7.3
  • Support 9.4
  • Fun 9.2
  • Housing 9
  • Safety 9.6
Showing 16 - 30 of 35
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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Maggie
10/10

My Best Decision Yet

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.

Yes, I recommend
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Dominique
10/10

Year in Vienna

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.

Yes, I recommend
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Ashlyn
10/10

Such a Blessing!

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.
Yes, I recommend
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laurelbeans
8/10

A step into Europe, or a step into the past

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.
Yes, I recommend
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teragramknife
10/10

Amazing Study Abroad Experience

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.
Yes, I recommend
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Marie
10/10

The View From Hietzing

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.
Yes, I recommend

About IES Abroad

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