In this section, you will find information concerning various aspects of living in Austria, including the following:
You plan to travel through Austria or Europe?
Then you will find all the necessary important information about travelling by bus, train or plane here. Austria is a very small country, but has an extensive public transport system. You do not really need a car to get around Austria or to different parts of Europe. Vienna is the only city, which has a metro – all other cities have a good bus or tramway system for getting around. For a detailed overview of the public transport network in your town or city, check out the town's website.
One very cheap and easy was to get around a city is by bike. In Vienna you can use the CityBike, which allows you to drive around Vienna almost for free. To become a Citybiker you need to register one time only. After your registration and payment of the registration fee (1 euros), you can hire a bike from any bike station. The first hour you use the bike is free of charge.
Travelling by train is the easiest way. The OeBB (Österreichische Bundesbahn) is the public railway company and offers special rates for travelling within Austria or to neighbouring countries. If you want to save money, book a SparSchiene Ticket, which is available for as little as 9 euros. If you want to discover Europe, you can travel with a SparSchiene ticket starting at 19 euros to the most beautiful cities in Europe. Visit the homepage of the OeBB to find out more about the different leisure tickets.
The Westbahn is the first private railway company in Austria, which offers a passenger train service between Vienna and Salzburg. They offer cheap tickets and you can also buy the tickets right on the train!
Vienna is a good starting point if you want to fly to other cities. Additionally, cheap airlines also start from Bratislava, which is only about one hour away by bus or train. If you want to save money, book your ticket in advance on the Internet.
If you only need a car for a weekend trip or a shopping trip, you can try out acar sharing agency. Cars are available at different locations in Austria and if you combine it with the train, it’s even cheaper!
Throughout the world Austria is recognized for its rich cultural past and present. This wealth of artistic achievements is represented in architectural monuments, like the Stephansdom (Saint Stephen`s Cathedral), Schönbrunn Palace, Hofburg Palace, the "Goldenes Dachl" in Innsbruck, Melk Abbey, the "Loos-Haus" or the "Hundertwasser-Haus" in Vienna. An extensive programme of art exhibitions, theatre, concerts, festivals and folklore events complete the cultural offering. World renowned choirs (Vienna Boys` Choir, Arnold-Schoenberg-Choir) and orchestras, such as the Vienna Philharmonic, the Wiener Symphoniker, the Camerata Academica Salzburg, the Concentus Musicus and the Vienna Art Orchestra, act as ambassadors for Austria. Throughout Austria, you will find extensive cultural choices and sports facilities. Daily newspapers and special agendas provide information on current cultural and sporting events.
On the website www.kulturleben.at you will find up-to-date tips for special events, exhibitions or initiatives. The Cultural Catalogue provides links to all areas of culture. At present, many of the linked websites are only available in German, but the sections in English are being regularly enlarged.
For students, reduced-price tickets for the theatre, concerts and cinema are available and it is always worth asking for a student discount. For further information, please contact the ÖH Cultural Departments (Kulturreferate) at the university of your choice.
Sports and free time
Whether you want to be active or simply relax in a café with friends, there are many opportunities and options for spending your leisure time. Further, each institution has a network of associations that bring students together for academic activities, sports and recreation. All of these associations are run by students, and some of them are internationally oriented. Two of the larger international student associations areAIESEC and the Erasmus Student Network (ESN).
If you want to keep fit, then choose one of the sports courses offered by the university sports department (USI). Whether you want to try out something new, like Zumba, or just go running with other students, you will meet other new students and potentially make new friends. If you want to travel around Austria or to different parts of Europe, please visit our section on Travel for more information on this topic.
The Austrian College Sports League offers American college sport at Austrian higher edcuation institutions. For more information, please consult the website of ACSL.
Advice and help
Whether you are doing research before your arrival in Austria or have already arrived, there is no doubt that you will need help navigating the University system and, of course, the city of Vienna. Many questions will arise, and not just in the first few weeks. It is useful to contact, as soon as possible, institutions that can actively help you with your studies and everyday life in Austria.
OeAD at your service
For all questions regarding cooperation, exchange and mobility in education, you are in the right place:
- I am from abroad – how can I study in Austria?
- Where can I get financial support for studying in Austria?
- How can I find a post-doc position in Austria?
Find out more about our services on thewebsite of the OeAD! Es gibt auch die Möglichkeit, vor Ort Informationen einzuholen: Information on site is also possible: In Austria you can visit us at an education fair or invite OeAD staff to your institution; abroad we are available at international fairs and in the OeAD branch offices.
You want to pursue an entire degree programme in Austria? Every university in Austria has an Admission Office. This service is responsible for the admission process at the university and provides you with basic information on the application procedure. As soon as you start planning your stay in Austria, it is important to get in touch with the Admission Office at the university of your choice – by e-mail or phone. You can inquire about the application procedure and admission requirements before your course(s) begins.
You can find the contact details of all Admission Offices in the appendix of our Study Guide. If you are an exchange student within a bilateral or network agreement, like Erasmus, you can contact the so-called International Office of your host university. Our Study Guide contains a list of all International Office addresses.
Austrian Student Union
In Austria, each university has a student union, to look after students’ interests. All students have to pay the Austrian Student Union (Österreichische Hochschülerschaft, ÖH) fee and will automatically become a member of the student union. The university student unions have a national umbrella organization - the National Austrian Student Union. The Austrian National Union of Students is located at Taubstummengasse 7-9 in Vienna. They offer advice and guidance on many different topics and also a variety of helpful brochures. Student union membership entitles you to a variety of student discounts – and student unions also organise many different activities for you to take part in.
Do you have a problem or question relating to your studies at an Austrian higher education institution? The Austrian Student Ombudsman is ready to help with expert advice, assistance and guaranteed confidence. You can contact the Student Ombudsman at any time by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or call the toll free hotline 0800 311 650 (Monday to Friday from 9 to 4 pm)
Help service for foreign citizens
As it is not always easy to find one's bearings in a foreign country,www.help.gv.at for Foreign Citizens offers foreign nationals an orientation guide in English. Structured in accordance with individual life situations (e.g. work, car, retirement pension), HELP.gv.at for Foreign Citizens provides information and support to foreigners who have come to Austria in order to live and work. For this target group, our objective is also to guide foreign users step-by-step through the required administrative procedures. This service describes the most important steps that have to be taken, from reporting one's place of residence to starting a business.
The additional websites mentioned in this section are great resources for finding additional information on Austrian culture, language and customs. Learning about Austrian culture and society helps you to get to know the country and its people. Despite being a small country, Austria has a rich cultural tradition.