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:
See what our alumni Sarah says about her study abroad experience!
What to know about attending an Austrian high school:
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.
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.
Access your High School Curriculum Guidelines for Austria here!
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.
Spring 2020 applications are now closed, please apply for a Fall 2020 start date.
Exact dates will be provided closer to your start date!
Final Deadline to Apply: March 15th, 2020
Apply Early and Save! $300 off Trimester and $500 off Semester/Year Early Application Discount for Fall 2020 Programs: Apply by December 6, 2019
Exact dates will be provided closer to your start date!
Can’t commit to going during the school year? Check out our 2-4 week summer option for a German language camp in Berlin 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:
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 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 may not be able to 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. Each student will be addressed on a case by case basis.
These include, but are not limited to:
If the student’s mental health issue has been managed (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.
Placement destination guarantee in Vienna available for an additional fee of $400 euros.
Worried about the program fee?
Our goal is to help make travel accessible to everyone and we are here to help when you are deciding if this experience is financially do-able. Each year we offer scholarships for high school study abroad students! We also have a guide to fundraising your program fee, and many high school students fundraise in their hometown ahead of their program.
We also offer discounts for applying early (plus there are many other benefits to applying early!) for each start date and for US families that have hosted an exchange student with Greenheart Exchange.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions about the program fee, scholarships, or fundraising for your program.
As a High School in Austria participant, we will support you and welcome you to the program in a variety of orientation activities.
2-Day Optional Welcome Camp in London (Extra Cost ~$500 USD)
For those who are interested, there is an option to buy a 2-Day Welcome Camp in London for an extra cost before arriving to Austria. This is a fun introduction to Europe with other exchange students who will be placed in Austria and other European countries.
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:
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!
Host families have many reasons why they want to welcome you! Our host families are volunteers, meaning they don’t receive compensation for housing and feeding students during their program. Many host families love the experience of cultural exchange – they learn just as much about your country as you do theirs. Many are also former exchange students and want to return the favor, or they have children who have gone or will go to study in the U.S. Having an exchange student exposes their children to new languages and cultures.
In your Austrian school 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!
Greenheart Travel will support you before, during, and after your program. From the very first question you have, all the way to when you get home, you’ll be working with either Jessica or Allison to coordinate everything for your successful program.
Once you arrive in Austria the program staff there will be there to support you on the ground for your entire program. Your Local Coordinator will be your main point of contact if you need anything and they will do their best to support you and make sure you are having a great program. Here is the High School in Austria team that will support you when you arrive!
In addition to our traditional academic year and semester program, we also offer a short-term summer program with all of the same basic program details, just short term (1 month!). If you only have the summer to spend away, this is a perfect way to get abroad for that time! This is geared towards students who have commitments that do not allow them to commit to a full semester or year in Austria but want to travel during their summer vacation.
Greenheart Travel welcomes travelers identifying as LGTBQ+, and is committed to helping you find the best program for you. We can provide information on the cultural norms of our destination countries and are prepared to advise you on the best programs based on your needs and interests.
No. You are not expected to be fluent in German. If you have no pre-knowledge of German, an intensive German course is required, which will be an additional fee.
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 you to be fluent when you first arrive and will help you improve your language skills. As long as you try your best, you’ll pick up the language sooner than you might think!
You must be flexible about where you are placed within Austria unless you upgrade to a destination guarantee program in Vienna. We can offer a Vienna placement guarantee for an additional fee of 400 euros.
I know a family in my program country that would like to host me. Is this 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.
Unless you choose a destination guarantee in Vienna, it is very unlikely you will be placed in a major 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.
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.
All students studying on semester or academic year programs will be required to obtain a student visa to Austria. It is the students’ responsibility to obtain this visa, but Greenheart will provide you guidance and the proper documentation you’ll need to apply.
Round trip airfare from New York City (JFK) to Vienna is included in the cost of the program. If JFK is not convenient for you and you wish to book flights on your own we will deduct the flight from your total fee.
Yes! Our in-country partner staff or your host family will be eagerly waiting for you when you arrive! They’ll then take you to your new host town.
You are not permitted to travel on your own during the program. There will be opportunities to travel through the program and/or through your school, but you are must be accompanied by an approved chaperone to travel. Some schools will offer optional field trips.
It’s likely that teachers and students at your school will speak English. However, remember that you’re there to learn German!
All classes will be taught in German as this is a full immersion program.
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!
Most students have their own rooms. However, houses are smaller in Europe and depending on your host family, you may be expected to share a room with a host sibling of the same gender.
You will be required to have a local Austrian phone number. Please make sure that your U.S. phone is “unlocked” as to accept a SIM card from Austria! We give you tips and advice for communication while abroad during your program.
All host families (and most every person) in Austria have internet in their homes. There is also 4G internet widely available throughout the country.
If you have a laptop we recommend bringing it, as it will be helpful for school and for communicating with home.
We follow the CDC’s guidelines for travelers to Austria. You are required to submit a record of immunizations during application process.
Comprehensive medical and accident insurance will be included in the cost of your program. This will cover you for most medical expenses you might incur, like prescriptions, ER visits, doctor visits, dental accidents, and hospitalizations.
If you get sick, your host family or local coordinator will help you go to the doctor.
If you have an emergency on program, we have a 24/7 emergency number you can call. Our in-country partner staff and your host family will be there to assist you. Greenheart will be in touch with your parents regarding your emergency.
Our programs are based on a full, cultural immersion experience so friends are not allowed to study abroad together in the same host town. You’re welcome to both go to Austria at the same time but you would not be placed together. Don’t worry though; making friends in your new host town will happen quickly!
No. Visits are not allowed during the high school program. If your family wishes to visit, they should plan to meet you 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.
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, you will receive guidance in strategizing creative ways to give back to your community, have access to tools for tracking your impact and receive incentives for your efforts as a global leader. This is a great chance for you to get to know the local community outside of the classroom while you study abroad.
You will not be able to take the SATs while abroad. We highly recommend taking the SATs prior to or after the program.
We recommend you apply a minimum of 6 months prior to your desired semester.
The sooner you can apply the better, as acceptance, gathering documents, etc. can take a long time. Read more about why applying early is a good idea.
Our final deadlines for fall start dates are March 15, and September 15 for spring departures.
Yes, on a case by case basis, we can accept already graduated students for High School programs in Argentina, Austria, Belgium, France, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, and England.
We also have a list of mentors (teens and parents) that are past participants open to chatting about their experience with potential new participants. Please inquire here if you want to be put in touch with a mentor.
Committing to studying abroad can feel daunting, but we are here every step of the way to make the application process as simple as possible! Below are the various steps you’ll need to take to be accepted on a high school abroad program.
1. Start Your Application Here: Greenheart Travel Application. Once the initial form is complete, you will be connected to a High School Abroad program manager who will speak with you and a parent to go over the details of the program.
2. Sign the Terms & Conditions (Approximately 10 Minutes): After you complete Part 1 of your application, you and one parent will be asked to read through and sign our Terms and Conditions which outline the requirements and policies of the program.
3. Submit your deposit (Approximately 5 minutes): Next, you will submit your $1,000 non-refundable deposit which reserves your spot on the program and is subtracted from your total program fee.
4. Skype Interview (Approximately 30-45 Minutes): After submitting your deposit, you will schedule an interview with Allison. During this interview, Allison will ask you questions about living with a host family, adjusting to new situations and homesickness, among other things. She will also explain the overview of the next few months and what you can expect. This is done via Skype, and at least one parent should also be in attendance. If you do not have Skype, please download it before the interview.
5. Secondary Application Form (Approximately 30 Minutes): This part of the application process will help us get to know you and assess the best match for your host family abroad. You will need to provide detailed information about yourself, why you want to study abroad, and what you hope to gain from your experience. You can do this prior to the Skype interview should you wish.
5. Second Parent to Sign the Terms & Conditions (Approximately 5 minutes): Your other parent will be asked to read through and sign our Terms and Conditions which outline the requirements and policies of the program.
6. Submitting Your Documents: You will also be required to submit documents (outlined below). You can be collecting the documents during the application process, but all documents will be due 14 days after you submit your deposit.
7. Secondary Skype Interview with Austria staff: The final step is to Skype with in-country Austria staff. Allison will organize this with you after you finish all prior steps.
Once you’ve completed all the steps, Greenheart Travel will thoroughly review your application and will contact you within 2-3 weeks about your acceptance. Then, you’ll get more information about preparation, visas, and placement.
In addition to completing an application, you will also be required to submit documents. You can be collecting the documents during the application process, but all documents will be due 14 days after you submit your deposit.
The following documents will be required for all destinations:
For payments, a $1,000 non-refundable deposit will be due with your submitted application. This is a deposit, not an application fee, and will be deducted from your overall program cost. If your application is submitted after the deadline, the deposit will be $2,000.
Once you are accepted onto the program, a $5,000 commitment deposit will be due within 7 days of acceptance. Remaining balance is due on June 1st for fall departures and November 1st for spring departures.
You’ve Been Accepted, Now What?
Start getting ready for your adventure! Your program manager will be in regular communication with you to make sure that you are on track in your preparations to go abroad.
Greenheart Travel has been working with high schoolers for many years, and there are advantages of applying for this program through us:
We also have some unique offerings to our Greenheart Travel students and alumni!
Greenheart Global Impact Grants (GIGs)
Greenheart GIG Grants are funds awarded to Greenheart Travel participants to use for community development projects in their host or home country. A GIG is the opportunity to create, improve, or maintain an impactful, community-focused project abroad or at home. Grant funds could be applied to supporting women’s cooperatives, schools, community centers, or health clinics, for example. Grant winners will be featured on our website, social media, and blog. You can see our past winners on our blog here.
Greenheart Alumni Program
We created the Greenheart Travel Alumni Program to provide resources and a community to support alumni in their advancement as global leaders, and a way to celebrate and reward our participants for being ambitious, inspiring catalysts of cultural exchange!
Junior Greenheart Global Leaders Conference
Each May Greenheart offers full-ride scholarships to around 10 teen alumni to attend our annual conference in Chicago. You can see more about what Jr. GGLC is and what you could do at the conference here.
Have questions or want to talk to one of the program coordinators? Set up a time to have a phone call below.
Take a glimpse into life in Austria through some student’s photos. Make sure to also check out #greenhearttravel on Instagram for more!