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Why Austria

Austria covers an area of 83,878 square kilometres with a population of 8,443,018 residents (as of 1 January 2012), including 970,541 foreign citizens (11.5% of total population). In 2011, an average of 1,569 million people with migration background lived in Austria that is 18.9% of the entire population.Vienna is Austria’s most densely populated province with 4,175 residents per square kilometre; the Tyrol is the least densely populated province with 57 inhabitants per square kilometre. Austria is bordered by Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia and Italy.Austria is a federal state comprised of nine provinces; each province has its own capital.


The Austrian economy grew by 2.7% in 2011. GDP at current prices amounted to approximately €301 bn (+5.0% in real terms) in 2011 and GDP per inhabitant equalled €35710. Austria is in the upper sector not only within the EU but world-wide (source: Statistic Austria).

The Austrian economic structure is mainly dominated by small and medium enterprises. The most important industrial branches are:

·         Food industries

·         Machine and steel industry

·         Chemical and vehicle industry

·         Electric and electronic industry

·         Wood and paper industry


Austria has a typical central European transitional climate, i.e. warm summers, cold winters and adequate precipitation.

Additionally, there are two distinct climatic regions in Austria:

·         The east shows a Pannonian climate (warm to hot summers, relatively low precipitation and cold winters).

·         The central Alpine region has the characteristic features of the Alpine climate (more precipitation in summer compared to the east and long winters with heavy snowfall).


Requirements for the Admission to Austrian Universities

 The following requirements must be fulfilled for the matriculation of a foreign citizen (or a stateless person) as a  regular student in Austrian university degree programmes:

·         A place is available at the university for the desired course of study.

·         The applicant has an A-level or high school diploma, that can be considered equivalent to an Austrian Matura examination certification (either regulated by an agreement or in individual cases decided by the vice chancellor, possibly with certain requirements), or can furnish proof of completion of a three-year (minimum) study at another certified post-secondary educational institution.

·         The certification must be sufficient for acceptance to the desired course of study at a university in that country in which it was acquired. Any study-related requirements (e.g. entrance examination) must be fulfilled in the country in which the A-level or high school diploma was issued.

·         If the desired course of study in Austria is not offered in the home country, then proof of next closest course of study is to be furnished. Only if the country does not have a university this proof does not have to be submitted.

·         In addition, the applicant must have sufficient German knowledge. If necessary, an examination is to be taken.


Educational systems

Children from age 0 to 6

Very young and pre-school children are taken care of in nurseries (Kinderkrippen) (for babies and very young children), in kindergartens (from age three to six) and pre-school classes (from age five). Very young children (on average from age two) are also looked after in very small groups by day parents (Tagesmütter), especially in small towns and rural areas.


Schooling is compulsory for nine years in Austria (from age six to 15, first to ninth grade).

The first four years of compulsory education are completed in primary schools; from age ten children can attend either a junior high school or secondary school, or in certain provinces, e.g. Vienna, a ‘new middle school’ or the lower grades of a higher general secondary school. All school types comprise four educational levels.

The ninth school year (age 14-15) can be completed at a polytechnical school or in other types of school.

Other types of school

Intermediate vocational schools (from age 14, 9th-11th or 12th school grades) conclude with a technical examination; higher vocational schools (from age 14, 9th-13th school grade) conclude with a technical examination and the general school-leaving examination. 
On leaving vocational schools, pupils may have qualified for one or more professions or occupations.

The higher general secondary school and grammar school (from age 14, 9th-12th school grades) also conclude with the general school-leaving examination.


Training for around 250 professions can be obtained in basic vocational training (apprenticeship) from age 15. Most apprenticeship training courses last between three and four years. The occupation is learned on the job and at the vocational school simultaneously. 
After the apprenticeship period, the young person (apprentice) passes a final apprenticeship examination and becomes a skilled technician or craftsman.


University, College

The school-leaving examination is the prerequisite for higher education (university, academy, technical university, college). 
Qualified school-leavers from intermediate vocational schools or qualified apprentices can prepare for university entrance by way of the vocational qualifying examination. Qualified school-leavers from junior secondary schools or pupils who have dropped out can do so by way of the study entitlement examination.In Austria there is a variety of course options in technical studies, humanities, arts and other fields of study. Technical universities offer practical training, facilitating direct access to a profession. Higher education colleges offer training for teachers at primary schools, secondary schools, special schools and polytechnic schools.

Adult education

In Austria there are also general and vocational colleges and technical universities and university courses for working people which are offered as evening classes.

Private schools

Private schools in Austria account for about 8% of the total number. Most publicly authorised private schools are denominational schools; in addition there are some schools which teach according to a particular system. Private schools are fee-paying establishments. There are no fees to be paid for state schools. The quality of State schools is very high in comparison to other education systems in Europe.


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