High School in Austria
High school in Austria is a fantastic way to experience life overseas while growing academically.
Studying abroad in Austria gives students with an interest in music an up close look at the birthplace of some of the most talented composers. Even if you aren’t drawn to classical music, Austria is a geographical goldmine if you enjoy exploring the outdoors. Located in Central Europe, Austria is world famous for its ease of travel and inspiring mountain views. As a Greenheart Travel exchange student living in Austria, you will have the experience to live like a local. This is your chance to strap on your hiking boots and take the study abroad experience of a lifetime.
Program at a Glance:
- Host family accommodation will provide a full immersion experience
- No prior German experience is required — beginners welcome!
- You can choose between trimester, semester or academic year lengths
- Straightforward online application process
See what our alumni Sarah says about her study abroad experience!
Austrian School System
The school year in Austria will begin for foreign students in mid-September. In most cases you will go to school five days a week, except in some schools, where they have classes on Saturdays too. On the other hand, the school days are fairly short. Lessons start just before 8 o’clock in the morning and finish around an hour after lunch during weekdays and around 12 on Saturdays.
Austrian youths study eight years at high school (Gymnasium). Austria has different kinds of schools e.g. sports orientated gymnasiums, music orientated schools, science orientated schools, economics orientated gymnasiums, tourism orientated gymnasiums, handicraft orientated schools, pedagogic and kindergarten orientated schools, and agricultural high schools.
The compulsory subjects for Austria are German, English, Mathematics, Biology, History, Physics, Chemistry, Sports, and Music. The most common subjects (basic subjects) are English, German, Mathematics, History, Biology, Sports, Music, Physics, Geography, French and Latin. You can substitute one or two of them. This means, that instead of Latin or French, you can take part in a lower grade in German, where they teach more grammar. All classes are taught in German.
In Austria there are no school uniforms. There are mostly public schools, but some schools are private schools with a school fee. There is also a fare to pay if you go to school by bus or train. Some students can walk or ride a bike to school.
Before You Go Abroad
You should meet with your US high school before you leave and share the general curriculum guidelines of your host country with your guidance counselor and/or teachers. Please consult with them about the credits they will potentially grant you for the classes you take while abroad.
Because the curriculum will vary by country, it is important that you arrange required classes required for your graduation, such as U.S. History, before or after your time abroad. There are no guarantees that you can take certain classes at your host school. Greenheart Travel will be able to provide information about the general curriculum for your age level in your host country; however, in most cases you will not be able to sign up for specific courses until AFTER you have arrived in your host country.
Once You’re Abroad
Please keep in mind that the grading system in other countries is different than the US. Most host schools will not grant grades or transcripts as it is too difficult to evaluate your work due to the language barrier. If your host school is able to award you grades, they won’t be an exact match to what you would get in the US.
Activities & Excursions
In schools you can join many sport activities, and for students with an interest in music, different musical activities are also offered. Every school arranges trips, either for sport or cultural activities. The trips are a lot of fun to take part in, but not included in the program fee.
Its close proximity to lakes, forests and mountains enables Austria to offer a great variety of activities. Alpine skiing began with local competitions in the Austrian Arlberg area, where many well-known ski resorts are located. Most families go on short ski trips, or go skiing during the weekends in the mountains, so you can expect to join your host family at least once on a skiing weekend! Snowboarding, surfing, sailing, horseback riding, soccer, tennis and volleyball are also popular activities.
If you play an instrument, you will have the chance to join the town or school orchestra, where you can practice and play with more than 40 musicians. When you live in a town, or take a trip to a city, there are museums, theatres, musicals and more to enjoy!
Please note:Dates subject to change.
Short Term Dates (2 Month Option)
|Term||Approximate Dates||Deadline to Apply|
|Spring||January – March||October 1st|
|Fall||September – November||April 15th|
$300 Early Application Discount for Fall 2018 Programs: Apply by Feb. 2, 2018
|Term||Approximate Dates||Application Deadline|
|Spring||January – April||October 1st|
|Fall||September – December||April 15th|
$500 Early Application Discount for Fall 2018 Programs: Apply by Feb. 2, 2018
|Term||Approximate Dates||Application Deadline|
|Spring||January – Early July||October 1st|
|Fall||September – January||April 15th|
Academic Year Option:
$500 Early Application Discount for Fall 2018 Programs: Apply by Feb.2, 2018
|Term||Approximate Dates||Application Deadline|
|12 months||September – July||April 15th|
Can’t commit to going during the school year? Check out our 2-4 week summer option for a German language camp here.
In researching a study abroad program, you have already shown you are a leader and open-minded in your academic pursuits. These are just a few of the traits that our exchange students possess. You’re motivated to immerse yourself in another culture and flexible enough to live outside your comfort zone. You should also:
- Be between 15 and 18 years of age
- Be from the United States or Canada
- Possess a high school cumulative GPA of at least 2.75/4.0
- Be in great mental* and physical health
- Have a genuine interest in becoming a part of your host family and community
- If no pre-knowledge of German, an intensive German course is compulsory, additional fee applies
- Be willing to learn the German language
Interested in gaining German fluency before you go? Check out our Teen Summer Language Camp in Berlin!
*What does it mean to be in good mental health?
Moving to a new culture and staying in unfamiliar surroundings without your normal support structure can be very stressful, even to the most well-adjusted student. Sending a student with pre-existing conditions on a long term exchange program could exacerbate whatever challenges the student was previously facing. In order to ensure the safety of our participants, we must be rigorous in our pre-screening of (High School Abroad/Teen summer Language Camp) candidates. Learn more in our FAQs section.
- 2-Month Academic Program: $8,290
- Academic Trimester: $10,710
- Academic Semester: $12,870
- Academic Year: $15,030
Prices subject to change
Program fee includes:
- Roundtrip international airfare from designated gateway airport to Vienna
- Host family accommodations and 3 meals per day
- Medical/Accident insurance
- Support and counseling services from in-country staff
- 24-hour emergency support
- Pre-departure Orientation and Preparation
Cultural Pre-departure Orientation (via Skype)
General Pre-departure Orientation (in-person or via Skype)
- Full Day Arrival Orientation *(Conducted by the Austrian Staff, 4 weeks after arrival)
- Personal assistance from a Greenheart Travel program manager
- Letter of Recommendation upon request and successful completion of the program
The best way to learn about a new culture and language is to be fully immersed in it which is why all Greenheart Travel high school abroad students live with local host families. All of our host families are volunteers and will treat you as a member of their family. By being a part of your family’s daily life, you will learn to live and speak like a local.
Prospective host families undergo a rigorous screening process. Participants can rest assured that only suitable host families will be selected. In fact, many of our current host families have hosted students in the past, showing what an impactful experience it was.
In order to qualify as a host family, the prospective hosts must:
- Successfully pass a criminal background check
- Undergo and pass an in-person interview with program staff
- Agree to and pass a home inspection
We will connect you with your host family prior to your arrival in your host country. By e-mailing and speaking with them before arriving, it will help break the ice when you finally meet in person. It will also show that you are as excited to live with them as they are to host you!
Can I choose where I will be placed with my host family?
No. You can choose your destination country, but you must be flexible about where you are placed within that country. We can never guarantee placements in any specific city or region, and we match based on compatibility with the host family. Our priority is to identify a host family and community that are the best match for you.
I know a family in my program country that would like to host me. Is that possible?
This is possible as long as we have a support network in the family’s host community and there is an available nearby host school.
Will I be placed in a city?
No. It is very unlikely you will be placed in a city. A majority of our families live in small to medium sized towns outside of major cities, and it is important you be open-minded to small town life.
Will I have a host sibling my age?
There is no guarantee that you will have a host sibling your age. Your host family may have young children, teenage children, or grown children who no longer live at home. Regardless of the age of your host siblings, they’ll be excited to welcome into the family!
What if I don’t like my host family? Can I request a new one?
No. We do not change host families based on preferences or location. However, if issues arise once you are on the program, we will handle them on a case-by-case basis and may make changes if necessary.
The decision to send your teenager abroad can be difficult and there are a lot of questions to consider. We understand your concerns and the Greenheart Travel staff is there for you every step of the way! For us, it is important that parents be involved in the decision from day one.
We want to make the process of studying abroad as fun and painless as possible for you and your child, while also ensuring that it is a successful and life-changing adventure! You can learn more about our values and the services we provide to you and your child here.
Below are some of the common questions we get from parents as they consider our study abroad program:
What does it mean to be in good mental health?
Moving to a new culture and staying in unfamiliar surroundings without your normal support structure can be very stressful, even to a well-adjusted student. Sending a student with pre-existing conditions on a long-term exchange program could exacerbate whatever challenges the student was previously facing. In order to ensure the safety of our participants, we must be rigorous in our pre-screening of all high school abroad applicants.
Therefore, we cannot accept students who have struggled with any kind of mental illness within the last 2 years and/or are reliant on medication to address their existing mental health condition.
These include, but are not limited to:
- Obsessive compulsive disorder
- Debilitating anxiety
- Eating disorders
If the student’s mental health issue has been resolved (post-medication) for over 2 years, we will ask for a note from his/her relevant practitioner (psychologist, therapist, psychiatrist, etc) as part of the application process.
What kind of assistance will my child receive while abroad?
There is a strong network of people working together to ensure your child’s time abroad is successful. This includes the Greenheart Travel program manager in the U.S., the natural parents, the local coordinator abroad in country, the host school, and the host family. Immediate assistance will be provided by the local coordinator and/or host family according to a robust chain of communication, explained prior to departure.
Do you offer any scholarships, financial aid, or special discounts?
Yes. Every year we offer various scholarships for select high school program destinations. There are two Early Bird Deadline discounts offered each year as well. See our Discounts and Deadlines section for more information. If you have hosted a student for CCI Greenheart, you are also eligible for a Greenheart Host Family discount.
My child’s school requires service learning in order to graduate. How will they do that abroad?
Greenheart Travel is proud to offer the Greenheart Club for all of our students. The Greenheart Club challenges our participants to pursue a deeper level of immersion through volunteerism. As a member of the Greenheart Club, your child will receive guidance in strategizing creative ways to give back to their community, have access to tools for tracking their impact and receive incentives for their efforts as a global leader. This is a great chance for your child to get to know the local community outside of the classroom while they study abroad.
Can friends study abroad together?
Our programs are based on a full, cultural immersion experience so friends are not allowed to study abroad together in the same host town. Don’t worry though; making friends in the new host country will happen quickly!
Can my child come home to visit or can we visit them while abroad?
No. Visits are not allowed during the high school program. If your family wishes to visit, you should plan to meet your child after your program is completed. In this instance, Greenheart Travel’s National office and international partner office should be informed of your family’s plans.
Does my child need to be fluent in another language?
No. One of the main goals of studying abroad is to become fluent in another language while living overseas. The host family and school will not expect your child to be fluent when they first arrive and will help them improve their language skills. As long as your child tries their best, they’ll pick up the language sooner than you might think!
Can my child take the SATs while abroad?
You child will not be able to take the SAT’s while abroad. We highly recommend taking the SAT’s prior to or after the program.
My child has already graduated, are they still eligible?
On a case by case basis, we can accept graduated students for Argentina, Austria, Belgium, France, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
Can we speak to current high school students or alumni?