When I finally decided I had room in my schedule to study abroad, I began looking at where many of my friends had gone. I was blown away by the gorgeous views, food Snapchats, old buildings, and adventures around the globe. Many of my friends traveled to Spain, France, Peru, Australia, Italy, and numerous other countries. I had never been to Europe before, so that helped me narrow my choices.
After assessing all my options of where to study abroad, I finally landed on Salzburg, Austria. Here’s why I’m convinced it is the perfect study abroad city.
1. Its rich history and culture.
The buildings in the Old Town of Salzburg are hundreds of years old and you can visit many historic places so easily, such as Mozart’s birth house, the fortress that protects Salzburg (Hohensalzburg), and Schloss Hellbrunn, just to name a few. Outside of Salzburg, other cities — like Vienna — have tons of historic places as well! By just doing a quick Google search, you’ll see dozens of places you can visit, and some of them are included in the AIFS program, too!
2. It’s easy to travel all throughout Europe from here.
You can easily take planes to other European cities or countries from Munich, Salzburg, or Vienna. The Salzburg train station can get you to dozens of countries and it’s easily accessible by bus. The countries that border Austria are Switzerland, Slovenia, Italy, Hungary, Liechtenstein, Slovakia, Czech Republic, and of course, Germany. This means you have eight countries just a short train or bus ride away! FlixBus usually has very cheap tickets, and you can also buy a discount pass for the OBB train. Plus, Austria is in the European Union, so border crossing is easy and you can use your cash in other countries.
3. Breathtaking views.
If you’re not sure where to study abroad and you’re looking for a country where you can Instagram your travels, Austria has plenty of photo opportunities — especially Salzburg, with its old cobblestone streets, colorful buildings, and mountains off in the distance.
4. Castles and fortresses!
Overlooking the city of Salzburg is Hohensalzburg, which you can hike up and down or take a small train for a few Euros. The views up top are incredible, you can see the whole city!
5. Relatively inexpensive to live here.
Food in grocery stores is very reasonably priced, and many of the casual restaurants are very affordable if you want to eat out a few times a week. There are also tons of cafes and pubs to try out for smaller bites. One of my favorite, inexpensive places to eat is MyIndigo because it has healthy rice bowls for less than €10!
6. If you take German, it’s a great place to immerse yourself in the language.
All of the signage, packaging, and so forth are in German in Salzburg. If you are like me and don’t know any German (I learned Spanish in school), enough people speak English so you can communicate basic needs and questions, but you also can pick up German quickly just by seeing the same words over and over and by listening — I find it helps to pay attention to locals and things like announcements on the train.