Learning German

Illustration of a tablet with an Austria map on it. © OeAD/Daniela Bisail

Please bear in mind that German is the official language in Austria and the main language of instruction at Austrian universities and UASs (Fachhochschulen). Only a few programmes are taught in English.

Therefore you have to prove sufficient knowledge of German. At some universities you need proficiency in German corresponding to level B2, at others, a corresponding level of C1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages is required. It is necessary to prove a German level of at least A2 (according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, CEFR) if you want to be admitted to a University Preparation Programme German course before starting your regular study programme.

Good German languages skills are not only important for your studies. Even if you are enrolled in an English-language degree programme and hardly use German at university, it’s definitely worth learning the language of your host country. You will feel more at home in Austria if you have good language skills. Knowing German can help you get settled in faster, participate more intensively in Austrian life and make friends much easier.

There are different diplomas that are accepted, e.g., the Österreichisches Sprachdiplom Deutsch, which is Austria’s officially recognised examination system for German as a foreign language with licensed examination centres all over the world. If you would like to learn German, you have two choices: you can start taking a course in your home country or you can study German in Austria.

Courses in your own country

The Österreich Institute (Austrian Institutes) conduct German language courses outside Austria (Rome, Ljubljana, Warsaw, Krakow, Bratislava, Budapest and Brno).

The ÖSD Österreichisches Sprachdiplom Deutsch (Austrian German Language Diploma) is a state-approved examination and assessment system for German as a Foreign Language / German as a Second Language. ÖSD exams can be taken all over the world (at more than 200 examination centres in over 40 countries worldwide).

Courses in Austria

Many institutions and organisations offer a variety of German language courses for foreigners. For more information consult Campus Austria, the association of Austrian language schools.

University Preparation Programmes

The University Preparation Programmes offer intensive German language courses for foreign university applicants in order to prepare them for supplementary examinations prescribed by the universities. Attention: Only students who have been admitted by an Austrian tertiary education institution can attend these courses. For an admission it is necessary to prove a German level of at least A2 (according to the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages, CEFR).

"Österreichisch" for beginners

Griass eng                           hallo
Echt leiwand                       really good, cool
I muass rean                       I have to cry
Kukuruz                               corn
Gschpusi                             affairs, love attachment
G‘hupft wie g‘hatscht       it doesn‘t make any difference
Patschert                            clumsy, bumbling
Jausn                                   snack
Beisl                                    unpretentious pub
Busserl                                kiss
Pfiat eng                             goodbye