IES is mediocre but living in Vienna is INCREDIBLE! Past Review

By (Connecticut College) - abroad from 05/24/2018 to 05/24/2018 with

IES Abroad: Vienna - Study Abroad With IES Abroad

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My favorite memories/ experiences from abroad were exploring Vienna and solo travel throughout Europe. Vienna is the most amazing city to live in. Solo travel gave me a lot of confidence and allowed me to meet amazing new people all over Europe. Vienna is an ideal city to explore the rest of Europe from because it is in the middle of the continent which makes about a dozen(+) countries accessible for easy weekend trips. I would encourage anyone going abroad to plan at least one solo trip. Also Flix bus will be your best friend for traveling around Austria and border countries.

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

Not the best academically. I was taking 300 level courses but most of them felt like survey level courses. I appreciated easier classes because that gave me time to travel; however, there was a lot of busy work in my classes which was really frustrating. Professors ranged from pretty good to truly terrible. If academics are your focus I would NOT recommend this study abroad, that being said if you want something really easy this isn't a bad choice.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

Very helpful and friendly administrators, one of the highlights of the program for sure.

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

My apartment was absolutely gorgeous and the location was perfect. My only complaint was that there were 6 people living in a fairly small space. My roommates and I weren't very compatible which caused quite a bit of tension and made my living situation feel pretty hostile at points. That being said if I had gotten along with my roommates the size of the space would have been okay.

* Food:

Vienna is an awesome city for food. It's pretty affordable if you cook for yourself (I spent around 30 euro a week on grocery plus another 20-30 on coffee/ food out). Viennese food is not the most exciting (other than the cake and coffee) but there's a ton of international food so its not a problem.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

I had a language buddy which helped a bit and my internship teaching English at an Austrian school helped me feel connected to the community as well. However, if you're not pretty good with German it is hard to connect with locals (in my opinion). Almost everyone the city speaks english but not speaking German creates kid of a cultural barrier.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

I had to go to the doctor at one point and it was easy to schedule, professional, quality care, and not to expensive. The program has a good list of English speaking health care providers which helps A LOT.

* Safety:

Safest city I've ever lived in. Squeaky clean. Felt fine walking alone at night.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? No

I LOVED living in Vienna; however, I didn't really enjoy my program academically or socially. If I did it over again I would seek out a different program in Vienna/Central Europe


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Pretty easy to live on a budget if you cook for yourself. I tried to live cheaper during the week so I could save money to travel on the weekend and this was very doable.

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? 50-100 euro a week depending on how much I went out to eat/ drank.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? Cook for yourself and pack a lunch. A lot of people wasted money buying lunch by the center which is pretty pricey. Don't buy kebab for lunch every day, your body and wallet will thank you.


* Did your program have a foreign language component? Yes
How much did the program encourage you to use the language?

0 = No encouragement, 5 = frequent encouragement to use the language

How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None
How would you rate your language skills at the end of the program? Beginner
How many hours per day did you use the language?

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

Select all that apply

  • Apartment
* Who did you live with?

Select all that apply

  • Local Students
  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

Select all that apply

  • Americans
About how many local friends did you make that you will likely keep in touch with?

A Look Back

* What did you like most about the program?
  • Vienna (living in the city)
  • Food
  • Location (easy access to the rest of the continent)
* What could be improved?
  • Classes
  • Social Programs
  • People (students and professors)
* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Friend groups int he program are established during the first three days of orientation. If you don't manage to find a group then the rest of the semester might be a bit rough. Also I wouldn't necessarily recommend the trips the program offers. They can be fun socially and offers efficient transportation but the food and "hotel" rooms are pretty bad. If you have the money/ confidence/ time travel outside the program is preferable.

Reasons For Studying Abroad

To help future students find programs attended by like-minded individuals, please choose the profile that most closely represents you.
The Outright Urbanite
A social butterfly, you're happiest in bustling cities with hip people, and took advantage of all it had to offer. You enjoyed the nightlife, and had fun going out dancing, and socializing with friends. Fun-loving and dressed to the nines, you enjoyed discovering new restaurants, shops, cafes, and bars in your host country.