Study Abroad at the University of Innsbruck, Austria
Information for USU Students

Learning Experience

Cultural Experience

Information on the Exchange Program and Student Life in Innsbruck

Learning Experience

The University of Innsbruck

The "Leopold-Franzens Universitaet" in Innsbruck, founded in 1669, is one of Austria's oldest universities. It is the center of higher education for the Western part of Austria as well as the home university of South Tyrol (Italy) and the Principality of Liechtenstein. Currently 22,000 students are enrolled at the university, among them more than 6,000 internationals.

The University of Innsbruck is no campus university, which means that the faculties and departments are distributed over a number of different locations. However, many of them are clustered in larger buildings and very close to the city center. The Department of American Studies is located in the so-called GEIWI-tower (GEIWI being the abbreviation for "Geisteswissenschaften" which means liberal arts and humanities) right next to the Inn river. This building is adjacent to the "Old University" which is the main building that houses the administrative offices.

larger map

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The American Studies Department

The American Studies Department in Innsbruck is one of only two university departments in Austria where American Studies have been institutionalized independently of the more general field of English Studies. This allows research and instruction on U.S. culture and literature that is systematic yet highly flexible and adaptable to the needs and interests of our students.

Several exchange programs, either on a departmental basis or university-wide, have been established with educational institutions in the United States, e.g. the University of New Orleans.

  department website

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Degree Programs – English and American Studies

At the university of Innsbruck, students can study for a BA degree in English and American Studies (minimum duration 6 semesters), an MA degree in English and American Studies (minimum duration 4 semesters), or a "Magister" degree for teaching at Austrian secondary schools (minimum duration 9 semesters). They can then proceed with their doctoral studies to attain the title of "Doctor of Philosophy."

The American Studies Program is part of all of theses degree programs and offers course work that covers the full range of U.S. literature and culture. Apart from American literary and cultural history/theory and genre studies, the development of new and specific areas of research and teaching has been encouraged in order to provide students with a comprehensive instruction in American life and letters. These areas include women's studies, film and media studies, minority studies, Canadian studies, popular culture, or interdisciplinary studies of literature, music, and painting.

  current course catalogue of American Studies

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German Language Support

Even if you decide to spend a semester in Innsbruck without having previous knowledge of German, you will hardly encounter any difficulties. Obviously, all the courses at the American Studies Department and a number of courses offered by other departments are taught in English. Most students in Innsbruck speak at least reasonably good English, and the vast majority of them will embrace every opportunity to interact with a native speaker of English.

Nevertheless, your time in Innsbruck would be the perfect opportunity to either start learning German or improve your previous proficiency. As a student in the exchange program, you can attend German courses offered by the university's language center specifically for international students for a relatively small fee (for details see Internationales Sprachenzentrum ISI). Furthermore, everyday situations and interaction will provide you with countless opportunities for practice, and on returning to the U.S. you will have added a further asset to your list of qualifications, on top of the cultural experience you will have gained.

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Cultural Experience

Location

Innsbruck lies in the valley of the Inn river in the midst of the Alps. It is the capital city of Tyrol, one of nine Austrian federal provinces. Due to its location in the heart of Central Europe, at the crossing point of trade routes going from north to south and from east to west, the city has long been in the center of cultural, political, and economic developments. It is a place steeped in history, influenced both by Tyrol's tradition of independence and exceptionalism, on the one hand, as well as its ties to the Habsburg empire.

Tyrol borders on Germany (Bavaria) in the north and Italy (South Tyrol) in the south. If you cross the Arlberg mountain range that marks the western boundary of Tyrol and then the westernmost Austrian province of Vorarlberg, you will reach Switzerland. To the east, Tyrol adjoins the province of Salzburg; crossing the eastern national border, you will get to Eastern European countries such as Hungary and the Czech Republic, which will join the European Union in 2004 and provide numerous fascinating sites for exploration.

Gather more impressions from the official tourism website of Innsbruck.

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Activities

Considering the geographic location, one activity that suggests itself during your stay in Innsbruck is traveling and thereby broadening your horizon, especially if you are in Europe for the first time and want to gain first-hand impressions of other countries as well. You should usually find time to do so during university breaks, like two weeks of Christmas and Easter vacation respectively. Furthermore, there are several national bank holidays which often provide additional shorter breaks you can use for your travels.

But you will find that there are plenty of things to do in Innsbruck itself in order to spend your free time, add a variety to your experiences, and get immersed in the local way of life. Having hosted the Winter Olympics in 1964 and 1976, Innsbruck is of course great for all kinds of winter sports. Buses will take you from the city directly to various ski resorts. If you like to watch the world's best winter athletes, you can attend world cup ski, ski jump, or bobsleigh events. In January of 2005, Innsbruck will be host of the Winter Universiade, the World University Winter Games. Apart from winter sports, other popular outdoor activities include hiking, climbing, mountain-biking, cycling, or most recently Nordic walking. You can attend a broad variety of inexpensive courses at the university's sports and recreation center ("USI"), including all types of winter sports, water sports, soccer, volleyball, aerobics, dance, karate, yoga, chess, and many more.

In the evenings, you can attend theater productions, operas, concerts, or cabaret performances, and with your student ID you usually get rather inexpensive rates. Local cinemas regularly show movies in English. Sneak previews (again in the original English version) have become strongly frequented events. And if you simply want to hang out and indulge in the active Innsbruck student nightlife, there are numerous places to choose from, whatever type of entertainment you prefer. On various occasions (beginning/end of term, Christmas, etc.) student representatives of the American Studies Department organize student gatherings and parties in the departmental "Coffee Room," and you are more than welcome to be there, too.

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Information on the Exchange Program
and Student Life in Innsbruck

Program Coordinators

At USU:

Monika Galvydis
Study Abroad Program Director
Military Science 118A 
9545 Old Main Hill
Logan, UT 84322-9545
Phone: 01 435 797 1253
E-mail: monika.galvydis@usu.edu

Kate Davidson
Study Abroad Advisor
Military Science 115C
9545 Old Main Hill
Logan, UT 84322-9545
Phone: 01 435 797 1124 
E-mail: katie.davidson@usu.edu 

In Innsbruck:

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Gudrun M. Grabher
Head of Department
Department of American Studies
University of Innsbruck
Innrain 52
6020 Innsbruck, Austria
Phone: +43 512 507-4171
Fax: 011 43 512 507-2879
E-mail: Gudrun.M.Grabher@uibk.ac.at

Sandra Tausel, BA MA
Department of American Studies
University of Innsbruck
Innrain 52
6020 Innsbruck, Austria
Phone: +43 512 507-4176
Fax: 011 43 512 507-2879
E-mail: Sandra.Tausel@uibk.ac.at

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Eligibility

The program is open to undergraduate and graduate students. Candidates must have a minimum 3.0 GPA and are expected to enroll in the USU American Studies Program.

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Key Dates and Deadlines

The academic year at the University of Innsbruck begins in fall and consists of two semesters: winter semester ("WS"; from the beginning of October to the beginning of February) and summer semester ("SS"; from the beginning of March to the beginning of July). No courses are offered during summer break.

If you want to apply for the winter semester, the application deadline is 1 March. If you want to spend the summer semester in Innsbruck, the deadline is 1 November.

Please note that the semester dates at the two universities may overlap. For example, if you study in Innsbruck in the winter semester, the last day of classes is in late January or early February, while the spring term at USU already begins right after Christmas break. In past instances of such overlaps, teachers from both institutions were generally very cooperative and allowed students to leave early or arrive late. If you need a similar arrangement, be sure to notify coordinators and instructors well in advance so that your request can be negotiated.

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Application

If you want to apply for the exchange program, get in touch with the USU Office of Study Abroad and its director, Kay Forsyth. They will tell you about the forms and materials you need to submit. An application file usually contains a completed application form, transcripts/copies of certificates, academic recommendations, a curriculum vitae (résumé), a personal statement, and the like.

The previous information about eligibility, deadlines, and the application process in general may be subject to change. For more detailed and most up-to-date requirements please contact:

Office of Study Abroad
Taggart Student Center, Room 313
Utah State University, Logan UT 84322
Phone: (435) 797-0601
E-mail: stdyabrd@hass.usu.edu
Website: www.usu.edu/stdyabrd/

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Cost and Financial Matters

For application and placement fees, please contact your program advisor.

The expenses you will have to cover during your exchange semester in addition to these fees may include: housing, travel cost (also during the semester), insurance, fees for German courses and extra-curricular sports classes, food and necessities, nightlife, phone bills, books and copies (although students in Innsbruck are not usually required to buy books for the courses they attend), and other miscellaneous spending. For financial support of your study abroad, most university and federal financial aid applies.

Although many stores nowadays accept credit cards, some of them still don't, among them groceries or bars. Therefore you will mostly have to have cash on you in order to get along. ATM machines are close to university and all over town.

Please note that in order to obtain a residence permit in Innsbruck you will have to prove that you have sufficient funds to cover your expenses while staying in Austria; a minimum of EUR 3,000 per semester is required in personal or family funds. You should have a bank statement over this amount, either from an account on your own or a family member's name who certifies their consent to sponsor you in an accompanying letter.

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Getting to Innsbruck

In order to travel to Innsbruck, your basic options are flying into Munich (Germany), Zurich (Switzerland), or Innsbruck. The local airport in Innsbruck is rather small and there are no direct flights to the U.S.

Transfer from Munich Airport to Innsbruck is available either by train (trains usually leave every hour, traveling time to Innsbruck main station is between 2.5 and 3 hours) or by shuttle service. A convenient service is offered by Four Seasons Travel: Make a reservation in advance and a van will take you from the airport directly to your accommodation in Innsbruck. Check fares and availablility at the company's website: www.airport-transfer.com

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Getting Settled

Please inform your program coordinator in Innsbruck in advance about your arrival date and time so that we can assist you with your arrangements and take care of you once you are in Innsbruck. After moving into your room (see Housing), we will help you with a number of initial bureaucratic matters such as admission, enrollment, and obtaining a residence permit (as a U.S. citizen you can apply for permission for temporary residency in Austria from within the country, so you don't need a visa before actually arriving here). A staff member of the American Studies Department will hold an orientation with the new exchange students within your first few days in Innsbruck.

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Health

In order to obtain a residence permit, you need to show proof that you carry adequate health insurance, i.e. coverage of illness and injury in Austria, but not necessarily emergency evacuation to the U.S. (However, coverage of evacuation may be required by your home institution. Ask your USU study abroad advisor about this regulation.) You have two basic options.

If you are enrolled at the university and registered with the municipal authorities, you can purchase a “Freiwillige Selbstversicherung für Studenten” (a voluntary insurance for students) from the “Tiroler Gebietskrankenkasse” (TGKK, Klara-Pölt-Weg 2), the local public health insurance carrier. You will receive the same service as Austrians who are insured with this company. The TGKK policy generally covers medical treatment by doctors and medical institutions who have contracts with the TGKK. Certain conditions and deductibles may apply. The monthly cost for the TGKK package is approximately €25.

Please be aware that some health policies (e.g. the TGKK insurance) only cover illness and injury but not travel-related incidents. Therefore, if you are planning extended travels, you should think about purchasing a special travel insurance. Often a basic travel insurance is included in credit card contracts; check with the company of your credit card(s).
If you decide to purchase private insurance, make sure that you know about their policy and conditions, i.e. whether you have to pay for seeing a doctor and will be reimbursed later etc.

If you fall sick, you can either go to the out-patients (“Ambulanz”) of the university hospital or see a general practitioner or specialized doctor, depending on what you are suffering from. In any case, whenever you have health problems or receive medical treatment, please contact your program advisor immediately.

Drugstores in Austria do not sell medication. Many things you would find in a drugstore in the United States, you will only be able to buy in pharmacies here (e.g. Aspirin, etc.).

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Housing

Since you have to pay for accommodation during your stay yourself, we recommend finding a room in one of Innsbruck’s many student homes. To reserve a spot, you can use an application form that can also be filled out online on www.wist.at/002/bewerbung/index.php. Unfortunately, the website is in German only, however the form itself is available in English. Once you read this exchange program information, WIST (the company that runs student housing in Innsbruck) has already been informed about your participation in the exchange program and they are expecting your application.

The various houses that WIST runs can be accessed at
www.wist.at/002/heime/index.php  

The costs are listed at
www.wist.at/002/heime/preisliste.php#panorama

Rooms are generally available from 1 October to 31 January in winter semester, and 1 March to 30 June in summer semester. Since the first day of classes at the American Studies Department is usually the second Monday of each semester, you can easily arrive and check into your room on or right after 1 October/1 March and will still have enough time left to get settled before classes actually begin. With respect to the check-out: The semester lasts a few days longer than 31 January/30 June, but not all classes do, so students usually manage to move out of their room before or on the last day of January/June. Also, if necessary it should be able to work out individual arrangements with your instructors so that you can do your finals at an earlier date. Please inform your coordinators and instructors in Innsbruck about your intended date of departure.

Before checking out of your room, you have to set up an appointment for an inspection with an official from your residence hall. You are liable to pay for any damages that may occur during your occupancy.

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Courses

The general course program is available at orawww.uibk.ac.at/public_prod/owa/lfuonline_lv.home. The program advisor will be happy to help you with your choice of courses.

The grading system used in Austria is as follows:

1 = Sehr gut (= A; very good)
2 = Gut (= B; good)
3 = Befriedigend (= C; satisfactory)
4 = Genügend (= D; sufficient)
5 = Nicht genügend (=F; failed)

Note that in contrast to the U.S. system, 4 is a passing as well as acceptable grade. Here is a brief description of the most common course types and their abbreviations:

Abbrev.

German

English

VO

Vorlesung

lecture

VU

Vorlesung mit Übungscharacter

lecture with practical exercises

SE

Seminar

seminar (graduate)

PS

Proseminar

proseminar (undergraduate)

UE

Übung

practical exercises

KO

Konversatorium

colloquium

AG

Arbeitsgemeinschaft

discussion group

 

If you attend a proseminar (PS) or a seminar (SE), you are usually required to do a presentation and hand in a written paper. At the American Studies Department, academic papers have to follow the MLA guidelines in regard to format, bibliography, quotation style, etc. If you are not familiar with these guidelines, refer to the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers of which there are numerous copies in the humanities library. If you still feel uncomfortable, talk to your instructor or program advisor.

Your course instructor will determine when the paper has to be handed in (during or at the end of the semester). In any case, it is recommended that you complete your paper as soon as possible. No course certificate can be issued until the paper is handed in and corrected by the instructor! The certificate (German original and English translation) is then mailed to the Study Abroad Office at USU. Please allow enough time for all of these steps (grading, translation, delivery), especially if you need to submit your transcript to your home institution prior to a certain date. Talk to your instructor well in advance if yours is an urgent case, and make sure that you complete your part in due time.

You can get in touch with your coordinator in Innsbruck ahead of time about the courses you would like to attend. In regard to the transfer of credits you earned from the University of Innsbruck, plan with your academic advisor ahead of time in order to meet major/minor requirements. Please note that courses in the American Studies Program generally last two weekly sessions of 45 minutes (1.5 hours in total), which amounts to two credits.

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Academic Calendar:
Winter Semester 2019/20 and Summer Semester 2020

for details see: www.uibk.ac.at/studienabteilung/en/termine_und_fristen-en.html

 

Winter Semester 2019/20

 

First day of classes

1 October

Austrian National Holiday

26 October

Public Holiday (All Saints' Day, All Souls' Day)

1–2 November

Public Holiday (Immaculate Conception)

8 December

Christmas Break

16 December–3 January

Last day of classes

2 February

Semester Break

3 February–29 February

Summer Semester 2020

 

First day of classes

2 March

Easter Break

6 April–18 April

Austrian National Holiday

1 May

Pentecost

31 May–1 June

University Holiday 18 October
Summer Break 29 June–30 September

 

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Checklist of Important Documents

To study in Austria requires you to obtain a visa. If you have not acquired a visa in the USA, remember to apply for one as soon as possible. The closest Austrian consulate is in Munich (be sure to make an appointment): www.bmeia.gv.at/botschaft/gk-muenchen.html. Information about studying in Austria for foreign students can be accessded at the OEAD (Austrian Agency for International Cooperation in Education and Research) website: www.oead.at. The following brochure provides more information about entry and requirements: www.bmi.gv.at/cms/BMI_Niederlassung/allg_infos_neu/guide_entry_students.pdf

Here you find information about which exact documents you need to bring: www.austria.org/student-visa

Further information is also available at "Living in Austria" section of the website of the U.S. Embassy in Vienna: austria.usembassy.gov/austria.html

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Useful Websites for Further Information

University of Innsbruck – Studying in Innsbruck information for international studients
www.uibk.ac.at/international-relations/studieren_in_innsbruck.html

The guide for international students prepared by the International Students Office at the University of Innsbruck
www.uibk.ac.at/international-relations/international_student_guide.pdf

Information provided by the Austrian Exchange Service (OeAD) about study and research in Austria
www.oead.at/welcome_to_austria/education_research/study_in_austria/EN/

Useful information and links compiled by the U.S. Embassy in Vienna
austria.usembassy.gov/index.html

Homepage of the Fulbright Commission in Austria; the link "U.S. Citizens" contains information about studying and living in Austria
www.fulbright.at

The official Austrian website in the U.S., maintained by the Austrian Press and Information Service in Washington, D.C.
www.austria.org

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