Austria is a country of diverse possibilities, from historic cities like Vienna to the stunning views of the Alps. Austrians are known for Gemutlichkeit, their characteristic way of enjoying life, arts, strong coffee and sports. Austrians are direct communicators interested in discussing current affairs and environmental issues. Healthy lifestyles, music and people enjoy attending concerts or playing musing, as well as taking walks—Spaziergänge—are popular national pastimes. Throughout history, Austria has always played a special role in the centre of Europe: as a bridge-builder, as a meeting place, and as a venue for cultural exchange.

Teenagers in Austria enjoy spending time together, at home, in cafes, cinemas, dance clubs or by participating in youth and community activities. Soccer, biking, and alpine skiing are among the top sports throughout the country.

People & Community

Most host families live in suburban areas. Mealtime is is a family affair and time to share your day.


You will likely attend a traditional public, university-preparatory high school. School normally runs from 8 am until 2 pm, however, you may be required to stay as late as 5 pm on some days. Saturday morning classes are sometime scheduled. You will have six to eight classes a day, depending on the extra-curricular classes you choose. 


Austrians love rich food and drink, so you will surely have some tasty treats while on the program. Meals usually consist of soup, meat (often pork) with potatoes, salad, vegetables and dessert. Other favorites include sausages, sandwiches, pastries (like Strudel) or desserts (like the classic Sachertorte, a chocolate cake with jam and icing), eggs, many different cheeses and apples.


The official language of Austria is High German, although each region also has its own dialect. Other languages spoken are: Turkish, Serbian, Slovene, Croatian and Hungarian. You should have a working knowledge of German before the exchange. AFS Austria will provide you with an online Rosetta Stone language course to learn German before and during your exchange.

Explore the Programs Available in Austria