Oct 12, 2017 at 12:00am ET By Joanna Hughes

Austria may be overshadowed by other Western European countries when it comes to international study destinations. However, while this history-packed country of 8.7 million people may be small in size, it’s big on potential - which explains why a growing number of students from South East Europe are looking in its direction for study abroad opportunities. Here’s a closer look at five reasons for South-Eastern Europeans to study in Austria, along with one school offering a premier opportunity for students from this region.

Five Reasons to Study in Austria

1. Student satisfaction runs high.

According to a QS Top Universities survey, Austria ranks among the best places to study in terms of student satisfaction. In fact, it scored an impressive 9 out of 10 in this measure.

The study also identifies two areas, in particular, impacting how students feel about their international destinations. Says TopUniversities.com, “The two categories most likely to influence student satisfaction were academics (including language of instruction, level of education, recognition and reputation, research, subject, teaching and teachers) and city and culture (including city atmosphere, culture, infrastructure, people and security). These two areas accounted for more than half of all comments analyzed.”

In other words, one of the best international studies experiences may be just a hop, skip and jump away for South Eastern Europeans.

2. It’s ideally located for European travel.

Sharing a border with not one, not two, but eight countries, Austria gives all new meaning to the words “centrally located.” Easy transportation links connect Austria to the rest of Europe, including direct bus links to countries like Slovenia and Croatia. For students looking to see and experience as much as they can of what Europe has to offer during or following their study adventure, there’s no better home base than Austria.

Credit: Lunghammer - TU Graz

3. It’s an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise.

Whether you love the water or the mountains or summer or winter sports, there’s no end of outdoor fun to be found in Austria. Taking a bicycle tour through Salzburg, exploring the High Alpine Road in Heiligenblut, hitting the slopes at Ischgl-Samnaun or Kitzsteinhorn, soaring above the mountains and lakes in the The Schmitten in Zell am cable car, visiting Kaprun’s breathtaking Sigmund-Thun-Klamm gorges, or checking out Grobming’s thrilling Zipline Stoderzinken zipline and aerial adventure park are just a few of the ways to immerse yourself in all that Austria’s diverse, mountainous geography has to offer.

4. It’s a technological titan.

Austria’s higher education system is well-known on the international stage, but it’s recently been garnering attention for its leading role in the global technology race. Explains Advantage Austria, “Austria committed itself to technological development very early on. Today Austrian companies are among the best in the world in important technology sectors and niche markets….particularly in the fields of environmental engineering and energy, life sciences, infrastructure and traffic technology, as well as mechanical and power plant engineering, automation, and communication technology. Leaders in research and development, they offer products and services characterized by cutting-edge innovation, which enjoy strong worldwide demand.”

Given the trend toward globalization and exchange, meanwhile, Austria is also well-positioned. Continues AA, “Austrian companies often participate in international cooperation initiatives with their highly specialised technologies - examples include developments in the European space program.”

It follows that Austria is also a rising star on the startup scene - due in no small part to its commitment to innovation. According to the Austrian Embassy Washington, “Science and Innovation is a part of Austria as much as Mozart, Viennese waltz and Schnitzel. Austrian companies operate successfully around the world, Austrian scientists work and research at the most prestigious universities in Europe, Asia and the U.S., and Austria has been constantly increasing its funding for the Research & Development and innovation sectors.

5. Its economy is booming.

Thanks to its status as a highly developed industrialized country with a prominent service sector, Austria is one of the EU’s most prosperous member states. Austria job market is also going strong. Reports Graduate Prospects Ltd., “The country is one of the richest in the world and its 8.7 million-strong population enjoys one of the highest standards of living in the world. With thriving industries, a healthy economy and low unemployment working in Austria could be perfect for those seeking a new career challenge.”

And while Austria’s people enjoy a high standard of living, they also enjoy affordability - especially when it comes to higher education, which is free for all EU students. The cost of living is also low thanks to reasonable rents and food and entertainment costs.

Credit: Lunghammer - TU Graz

Getting to Know TU Graz

All of which begs the question, with so many reasons to study in Austria, which university should you choose? One school rises to the top - especially when it comes to meeting the need of students from South East Europe. With its 14 international master’s degree programmes taught in English, Graz University of Technology opens its doors for international degree seeking students from all over the world. This is only one reason why TU Graz is becoming more and more international over the last few years. To support talents from South East Europe Graz University of Technology offers different scholarship programs.

Graz University of Technology offers a special 12-month scholarship program for talented and dedicated students from Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia. Initiated by the Steiermärkische Sparkasse (Styrian Bank) and in cooperation with the University of Graz, University of Music and Performing Arts Graz and TU Graz, the Best of South-East scholarship program comprises international work experience, education and training opportunities while simultaneously facilitating entry into the Austrian workforce thanks to a trainee and internship component.

But that’s not all. TU Graz is also home to the ITalent South East scholarship. An initiative of the Industriellenvereinigung Steiermark (Federation of Austrian Industries, Styrian Section) and TU Graz through which five scholarships for the full duration of studies for the 2018-2020 academic years will be awarded to students in three of the school’s IT master’s degree programs (Computer Science, Information and Computer Engineering, and Software Engineering and Management). Designed to encourage talented and motivated students from South East Europe, the program will emphasize information technology and robotics.

In addition to their technology coursework, international students attending TU Graz also have the chance to hone their German language skills both inside and outside of the classroom thanks to a number of formal and informal activities and events aimed at helping them integrate into the Austrian society.

And then there’s the city of Graz itself. This UNESCO City of Design not only boasts a breathtaking countryside, but is also heralded for its modern aesthetic, due in no small part to its bounty of galleries, museums, architecture and design. And, though Graz is the second largest city in Austria, it maintains easy access with the outdoors and a cozy town feel. Students will find plenty of opportunities to enjoy nature and city life, and the city’s student population lends the historic center vibrancy.

The takeaway for South Eastern Europeans? Not only is Austria a remarkable place to live and study, but Graz University of Technology is uniquely positioned to help you reach your academic and professional goals.


Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.

Add your comment


July 12, 2018

Dream of starting your own business? Why wait? You can launch your startup while you're still a student. Here's how.

July 10, 2018

Want to find a study location with a booming economy, phenomenal landscape, great lifestyle, and STEM industries are poised to be the next bastion of ...

July 9, 2018

Comprising 28 member states operating as an internal market and political union, the European Union (EU) is a diplomatic and economic powerhouse. Star...

comments powered by Disqus