Why US Students Should Consider College in Austria

I really love train travel. It’s just so easy and comes without all the stressors of air travel. Little things make it easy-like not having to worry about where my liquids are and arriving at the station just shortly before the train departs. More than any other city in Europe, I was struck by how many places one can easily get by train from Vienna. In under 2.5 hours, you can get almost anywhere in Austria, or to many cities outside of the country, like Bratislava (under 1 hour), Budapest (just over two hours), Brno (just over one hour). The trains were on time, clean, comfortable, and affordable. The most I paid for a train ticket was to Budapest, which cost 39 euros.

​Vienna is a strikingly beautiful city. While the most impressive buildings are in the city center, even the residential buildings are stunning, painted light pastel colors. I was able to walk almost every place I needed to go in under 30 minutes and only needed to use public transportation once. The city is easy to navigate, clean and safe – it ranked, yet again, as the world’s most livable city for 2023. Student residences can be found for 350 euros per month, though there are new higher end options with more amenities that cost 600 euros per month.

​Given my background working in mental health, I was super excited by the Psychotherapy Science program offered at Sigmund Freud University in Vienna. This program first introduces students to the different therapeutic modalities, and the students choose one to specialize in for their final year. There is also a focus on practice, with students starting clinical placements in their first year of study.

​Another school that impressed me was IMC Krems. Krems is a small city on the Danube river, and is just one hour by train from Vienna. The small population of 30,000 does not impact student life, since nearly half of those inhabitants are students! The campus is shared by the five universities and also holds one of the student residences, where single rooms cost around 350 euros a month. The city center is just a 15 minute walk from campus and holds ample opportunities for an active student life. There is also an ESN office on the campus which arranges trips, parties, laser tag, pub quizzes, holiday dinners and more. A small city like this can be a great option for international students. Since it’s a student city, there are many establishments that cater to students (cafes, pubs, etc), but the size of the city is less overwhelming than a large city might be. That said, Vienna is just one hour away so students still have access to city offerings as well.

​I planned this trip to Austria after reading about the Medical and Pharmaceutical Biotechnology program at IMC Krems. I was very impressed by the program and featured it also as a Program of the Month for our members. I had high hopes for their offerings, and was not disappointed! There are supports in place for international student from the time they enroll up until the time they graduate The International Welcome Center helps students with the logistics around housing, banking, visas and such when they arrive. The International Relations Office continues the support throughout the program. The school has strong relationships with industry leaders, which enriches the classroom experience and also leads to internship placements, which are required in all of the program. It’s often hard to visualize what a university in a foreign country looks like, and what their students are like. This video gives a glimpse into the campus and students at IMC Krems.

This same trip also took me to Brno, in the Czech Republic and Budapest, in Hungary, where I was equally impressed with schools and cultural life. Check those out as well!

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