IES Abroad Vienna – European Society & Culture

COVID-19 Program Updates

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

Video and Photos


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.


IES Abroad Scholarships
IES Abroad Scholarships and Financial Aid

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

$500 - $5,000

Questions & Answers

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

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


9.4 Rating
based on 43 reviews
  • Academics 7.3
  • Support 9.4
  • Fun 9.3
  • Housing 9.2
  • Safety 9.7
Showing 17 - 24 of 43
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Different than expected, but still WUNDERBAR!

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

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Vienna Spring 2015

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.

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

What would you improve about this program?
Diversity of schools represented- IES tends to attract students from Penn State
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

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!

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

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).

What would you improve about this program?
Tell whoever made us have German class on Friday because parents were complaining we travel too much to shut up.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

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!

What would you improve about this program?
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.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

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.