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Study in Austria: Language & Culture

Austria has been inhabited by the Celtics and then conquered by the Romans. A milestone in the Austrian culture and history was the Habsburgs Empire, Austria’s most famous house, ruling from the 13th century until WWI. In fact, the Austrian flag is among the oldest in the world, dating back to 1191!

Nov 27, 2013
Wiesing, Austria

Austrian Culture    

Austria has been inhabited by the Celtics and then conquered by the Romans. A milestone in the Austrian culture and history was the Habsburgs Empire, Austria’s most famous house, ruling from the 13th century until WWI.

In fact, the Austrian flag is among the oldest in the world, dating back to 1191! Because the period of the Habsburg Empire was very long, one can find the remains of it in the historic buildings, castles and palaces (like the Schönbrunn Palace), existing until today throughout the country.

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The Austrian culture is recognized for its rich past and present and also its safety and high living standards, as Vienna has been voted for multiple years as one of the top places to live on earth. Austrians love spending quality time with family, exploring nature and practising sports while they value and highly respect their musical and art history and heritage. 

Vienna has been named as the music capital of Europe, home to world-class music schools and orchestras like the Vienna Philharmonic or Camerata Academica Salzburg and composers like Mozart, Schubert and Strauss. Austria has always been a hub for art and creativity and is the heart of the history of the European art, especially in the 19th century, as the home of artists like Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele.

Austrian Food Culture

As for the Austrian food culture, it could be perceived as a historical mix of nationalities and cultures, influenced also by its neighboring countries. Who doesn’t love the tasty Wiener Schnitzel? The Austrian cuisine mainly consists of meat and often pork, beef, chicken, and even goose. 

Breakfasts are mostly kept simple in contrast to lunch and dinner. Heurigers are a very popular night out for a family. The word means  “this year’s” because it only serves the latest version of wine. 

Austrians have a big sweet tooth. Pastries are very common in the country and are sold in a konditorei, a pastry shop. Desserts are called mehlspeisen. The most famous pastries include Sachertorte and Apfelstrudel and while being in a pastry place you can easily find in the menu more than 50 different cakes!

Coffee is also incredibly important in the Austrian food culture, especially if accompanied with a piece of cake in a typical Viennese coffee house (Wiener Kaffeehaus). Austria is also famous for their rich flavor of hot chocolate drinks.The beer culture of the country is also very strong as Austrians consume on average around 106 litres of beer each year.


Austrian National Language

The Austrian national language is German or more precisely, Austrian German (Österreichisches Deutsch) which is a variety of standard German. Austrian German has its roots in the mid-18th century, when empress Maria Theresa and her son Joseph II introduced compulsory schooling in 1774 in their Habsburg Empire. 

Although the majority of people believe that German and Austrian are the exact same, the truth is that there are a lot of differences between Standard German and the Austrian national language. If you are interested, a linguistics fan and want to be fluent in Austrian German, then the official Austrian dictionary, das Österreichische Wörterbuch, a classic, provides all the grammatical, syntax and spelling rules you need to know. However, there is a dialect of German still used in Austria. It is the Austro-Bavarian one with almost 7 million speakers!

If you want to impress your future Austrian friends, then you can consider also studying the Austrian dialect before your arrival. The Austrian Institute or Österreich Institute provides Austrian German language courses with the possibility to gain your ÖSD-Österreichisches Sprachdiplom Deutsch, the Austrian German Language Diploma upon the completion of the language level you choose to study. 

Even if you don’t plan to stay in Austria after your studies, learning a new language is always beneficial, as it will open you the path to integrate easier in Austria while living there, connect with people and understand how truly the local society functions. German is a very strong language in terms of business, as being able to speak the language might land you a workplace in one of the globally well known German companies and expand your global career. Plus, it is a highly valued language in tourism, research and science.

Study in Austria - Overview

Over 60,000 international students choose Austria as their study abroad destination every year. Click here to learn why.

Student Visas

Do you need a visa to enter Austria to study? Learn more about the student visa process, and what you need to enter the country, depending on your citizen status. You will also be required to bring certain documents with you to passport control at the airport, which we cover as well.

Education System

Want to learn about how the higher education system works in Austria? Austria is one of the popular destinations for a variety of students, given its diverse programs. Take a minute to find out more about the structure of the education system in Austria!

Housing & Living Costs

No matter where you study abroad, it’s important to create a budget in advance so that you’re prepared. Therefore, we’ve detailed average living and housing costs so that you can get a better idea of what you would be paying as a student in Austria.

Tuition Fees & Scholarships

Tuition fees for degree programs in Austria may vary. To cover the rest of the costs, there're some scholarship opportunities available.

Application Process

All countries have specific admissions requirements for students to gain acceptance into a university. Learn more about the ins and outs of admission to programs in Austria, and what you need to apply, depending on your citizenship.


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The content of this Study in Austria guide has been developed by OeAD - Austrian Agency for International Cooperation in Education and Research.

About OeAD

OeAD is Austria’s leading non-profit-making service organization in the field of international cooperation in education and research. The activities of the OeAD embrace general, academic, and vocational education with – historically grown – specific focus on academic mobility.

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