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Sun Feb 13, 2011 2:50 pm

All information about Vienna - for erasmus students

by swien » Wed Jul 06, 2011 4:55 pm

Hi all. I found this information package for all you that intend to go to Vienna on erasmus. Here it is:

Coming to Vienna

It is very important to prepare for living in Vienna and also for your studies – in advance. This will help to reduce cultural shock, something which we all feel from time to time, by making you feel better informed and more in control.

The following tips will give you an overview of the living in one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.

Citizens of EU countries and other countries with special bilateral agreements might not need a Visa for their first semester or another limited period of time in Austria. Other students need a Letter of Acceptance or Invitation Letter from the University to apply for Visa in Austria. This should usually be done from the home country via the Austrian Embassy.
Do not enter Austria with a tourist visa if you intend to study, as it is extremely difficult to change your status once in the country. You may even have to return to your home country and reapply for a student visa from there.
Students are strongly advised to make sure they understand the Visa regulations and conditions.

Check the baggage allowance of the airline you will be traveling on. If your luggage exceeds the baggage allowance, it is usually much cheaper to ship goods than to pay airline excess baggage charges. Goods can be shipped by sea or air. Make sure you choose a reputable company, and insure your belongings from being lost or stolen. Remember, storage space in Vienna might be extremely limited so avoid over-packing.

Some countries place restrictions on the export of money and it is essential that you make arrangements in sufficient time for the funds to be available in Vienna by the start of the academic year. Advice on how to transfer money is probably best sought from your bank at home since the local conditions and regulations vary widely. Find out what methods of transferring money are available, including the security of each method, the costs involved, and how long the process will take. To convert your home country’s currency to the Euro, please see this link below: If you need any specific documentation to confirm that you are coming to Vienna, contact the Admissions office at

The shopping facilities in Vienna are plentiful and offer a range of clothing and footwear from practical to high fashion. Mariahilfer Strasse has an abundance of shopping and is conveniently located just a few blocks from IU. Also, larger shopping malls are located at Handelskai (Millennium Tower), Lügner City, Shopping City Süd, Donau Centrum (Kagran), and Shopping City Nord. These have a wide variety at reasonable prices. It is also possible to find a nice restaurant and places to relax with friends.

For the winter months you will need warm and waterproof clothing. It may be easier to buy this in Vienna where there is a wide range of clothing available at reasonable prices. If you are arriving from September to March, it may be very cool or cold so make sure that you have some warm clothing on hand when you arrive. Wearing several layers of lightweight clothing is the best way to keep warm.

If you come from a very different climate, it may be cheaper to buy your clothes once you arrive in Vienna. But do remember if you come in autumn or winter that you will need a warm jacket and an umbrella!

Most students dress in casual clothes such as jeans, tracksuits, and t-shirts. (When making in-class presentations, you are encouraged to dress in a professional manner). There is no particular dress code in Vienna; it is very much up to the individual. However, dress to be as comfortable as possible. You are also encouraged to dress with modesty, as lack of modesty can be misunderstood in many cultures and religions.
Click the following link below to find out about the weather in Vienna: ... cCode=VIEX

Medical Information
Prescription medication can present a special challenge. It's not impossible to get medications shipped here, however you will have to have a note from a doctor and you should anticipate having to pay Customs fees on the incoming medications. It would be easiest if possible to get the desired amount for the days you will be gone. Or, be sure to bring a recent prescription so it can be filled in one of Vienna’s many pharmacies (Apotheke).
It is also important to arrange for insurance cover before you come to Austria; in fact, you will need to prove you are insured if you need a visa. Medication in Vienna is expensive.
If you need insurance, a possibility is to obtain the Austrian private insurance at a reduced rate for IU students from Generali Insurance Group. The student can apply through IU (Business Office). The cost for an IU student is 51 Euro/monthly. (More information is available on our web site).

Other Useful Items

Important Documents-Passport and photocopies, birth certificates (originals or notarized copies), medical, legal, or financial records, and proof of health insurance.
Adapter plugs and converters-Austrian plugs have two round prongs and run on 220 volts. Buy an adapter and converter plugs before you come so you are able to use some of the appliances that you may bring (i.e. a laptop, kitchen equipment, etc.)
Books and dictionaries-They are available here but may be much cheaper in your country.
Kitchen Equipment- there are kitchens on each floor in the dormitory where many IU student choose to live; however, you must supply your own utensils and cooking ware.
Items from home-Photos and posters to decorate your room will help you feel more at home.
Money-It may take some time to set up a bank account in Austria so bring enough cash to cover your start-up expenses, or use your ATM card to obtain Euros directly. An enrollment confirmation from IU assists you in getting a student account at Vienna’s major banks.
Miscellaneous items-Personal medical prescriptions, a supply of recent passport-sized photos, a camera, laptop, alarm clock, movies, games, towels, etc.

Finance and Funding
Managing your finances is one of the most important and challenging aspects of a successful and enjoyable academic experience. Before you leave your home, you should ensure that your financial matters are in order.

Students are strongly advised not to embark on a course of study unless they have adequate funding to support themselves and any dependents for the duration of the course. Be realistic about the costs involved. Once you have started a course, financial assistance is extremely limited. Any forms of sponsorship should be arranged in your home country well in advance of the start of a course.

Cost of Living
Most prospective students have concerns about money. Coming to Vienna may be your first experience of living away from home and naturally, you are wondering how you will manage. Be reassured: most students do manage, albeit on a tight budget. It is important that you have a clear idea of the likely overall cost of studying in Vienna, not only tuition fees, but all the everyday expenses you will have. Prices for accommodation and daily shopping vary between different locations in Vienna.

As a rough guide to costs, a “typical” student’s basic monthly expenditure is shown below. No costs have been included for social life as these vary dramatically from student to student! Students living in Vienna should take account of the following expenditure estimates:

Rent for a room in a dorm 230-350 Euro (for apartments it varies 200-450 Euro), including electricity/heating (Please also note that often a deposit of 3 months rent is also charged, and perhaps a finder's fee as well)
Insurance for students: 51 Euro
Food and other incidentals: 200 Euro minimum
Public transport: 49.50 Euro per month
Leisure: minimum 60 Euros
Visa Extension: 100 Euros yearly
(These figures do not include sightseeing outside of Vienna)
Total: Minimum 550 Euro/Month

Shopping in Vienna
Shops in Vienna generally open at 9:30am to 7:00pm Monday through Friday and 9:30am to 5pm on Saturday. Only one Billa supermarket at Praterstern and another one at Franz-Josefs Bahnhof are open on Sundays and public holidays (very useful in case you forget something). Some of the supermarket chains are: Hofer (the cheapest), Spar, Billa, Merkur, Zielpunkt. You have to be patient on weekends and on public holidays because there might be long queues.

The Naschmarkt (U4 Kettenbrückengasse) is the largest open air market in Vienna and is open on Saturday. It is the best place to look for staple items like flowers, seafood, meat, vegetables, fruits, herbs and spices, cooking utensils, clothing and etc. This can be a great shopping experience because you can bargain for the cheapest prices! Please carefully guard your wallet and personal belongings because large crowds make pick pocketing easy.

If you plan on cooking for yourself, there is no need to be concerned that you will miss the specialties of your home country; markets, specialty shops, and large supermarkets stock a wide range of authentic ingredients from around the world. Other international students will advise you on where to find your favorite products and for the cheapest price.

Prices of Everyday Products
Milk- 1€ per liter
Tea bags (20-25 bags) - 1.50 - 2.50€ /package
One pound Coffee- 4.50 €
Bread- 1.00- 3.00€/500g
Sugar- 1.00 €/kg
Butter- 1.50 €/ 500g
Cottage Cheese- 2.50 €/200g
Rice- 2.00 €/ kg
Eggs- 2.50€/ 10 eggs
Toothpaste- 2€ a tube
Potatoes- 1.70 €/kg
Shampoo- 3€ a bottle
Chicken- 9.00 €/ kg (4.50 €/pound)

Conversion Hints: Unsure about how measurements, clothing sizes, temperature, etc. convert? Click here:

About Vienna

If possible, you should begin the adjustment process before leaving home. Start to learn about Austria. Call the Austrian Embassy or Consulate in your country and talk to people who have lived in Vienna. Read about Austria’s history and culture. If you are coming to Vienna without German fluency, you will face some challenges with the language but many people speak at least some English so it is possible to get along. It is very helpful to at least know some German basics to be polite to the German speakers you will meet.

Settling in
You can expect to experience some fatigue and other physical symptoms due to long distance travel and time change. During your first few days in Vienna, get plenty of rest and exercise and try to eat a well balanced diet. Drinks lots of water (Water is very safe and good in Vienna). Once you arrive, try to get acclimated to your new environment.

Adjusting to the culture: What is culture shock?
Culture shock describes the range of feelings and symptoms that can occur as a result of moving from a familiar to an unfamiliar culture. It includes the shock of a new environment, meeting lots of new people, and learning the ways of a different country. It also includes the shock of being separated from the important people in your life, maybe family, friends, colleagues, teachers; people you would normally talk to during times of uncertainty, people who give you support and advice.

How can I deal with culture shock?
There are several things that help minimize the impact of culture shock, such as:

Understanding that this is a normal experience for most people
Keeping in touch with home
Having familiar things around you
Cooking familiar food
Making friends with other international students who are also likely experiencing the same things as you
Getting involved with a community of faith
Volunteering or joining some societies of the city

Public Transport System
Vienna has a wonderful transportation system which runs from about 5:30 a.m. until 1:00 a.m. The system is divided into 5 main categories:

1. Buses
2. Trams (Strassenbahn)
3. Subways (U-Bahn) where there are five available lines:

U1-- the red line
U2 – the purple line
U3 - the orange line
U4 - the green line
U6 - the brown line

4. Commuter trains (Schnellbahn). These are intercity/town trains that go to regions within a certain radius of
Vienna. You have to be careful when traveling with these trains because their stations could be far apart. You
can find yourself in a different city on missing your station. However they are one of the fastest options.
5. NightLine Buses are useful for night travelers because these buses run until 5 a.m.

Vienna's public transport system is clean, safe, and uncomplicated. It is important to have a valid ticket when using any of the public transport systems because plainclothes public transportation officers regularly check passengers. You may never be asked to show your ticket, but once you are and found without it, you will be made to pay a fine of up to 72 Euros.

A number of websites contain useful transportation maps and information. See the following links below:

Address locator-excellent maps with public transportation shown:

Public telephone booths are conveniently located throughout the city, usually on busier streets as well as in subway stations, train stations, and public buildings. You can also make long-distance calls from any Post Office. In some high-traffic locations, there are new telephone booths with touch screens. They provide a city-map, emergency numbers (ambulance, firemen, etc.), internet access, video phoning as well as other options.

There are many telecommunication companies in Vienna such as: A1, One, Telering, TMobile, Bob etc. One of the most convenient offers for students are introduced by Telering.

There are two methods of getting a mobile number:

- By Prepaid Card, which you can charge anytime you want.

- By contract, where you pay a monthly fee and the value of the calls and messages you make.

Direct Long-Distance Dialing
To make a direct call outside of Austria, first dial “00” then the country code, area code, and finally the phone number. For receiving calls, the country code for Austria is 0043 and Vienna is 1.

Postal Services
You can find post office locations, their opening hours, check postal rates, and more at the following link:

Books and Libraries
For only 10 Euros a year, students can become members of the Austrian National Library, among the best libraries in Europe. This membership includes access to over 260 full-text databases. The library can be accessed from any computer. Learn more on their web site at:

Students have the possibility to apply for permission to use the encompassing library of the Economic University Vienna. This privilege is granted to all students of proven reliability and that are in good academic standing.

Vienna also has ample public libraries with sufficient, but limited English assortments. The main city library offers student cards for one year for approximately 3 € with which one can rent books for two weeks free of charge. A late fee will be charged if the book is returned after it is due. DVDs with English language options can be rented for another 1€ each. Please see for more information.

British Council is right around the corner from the university building. They have most English magazines and newspapers etc. whether European or American. The registration fee is approx. 40 € yearly and the rental of their collection is for free.

The British Bookshop has an only English assortment with all the brand new best-sellers, it is located on Mariahilferstrasse. There you can also order books to be shipped from abroad within a few days for a reasonable price.

Working in Vienna
It is difficult to work in Vienna unless you are able to speak and understand German, except for international organizations such as the United Nations based in Vienna International Center (U1 Kaisermühlen). It may possible to get a vacancy, but mostly they offer temporary jobs. You should also be aware that Austrian law prohibits international people on a student visa from earning above a specified amount.

Entertainment & Sports
Vienna is a city with diverse entertainment facilities. If you love classical music, opera, and theater, Vienna is the right place to be! You can buy concert and theater tickets from sales people outside the St. Stephen’s Cathedral in the first district. **The Vienna State Opera does not permit selling of tickets on the street. Therefore, do not buy any ticket for the state opera house (Staatsoper) from a vendor on the street!**
Vienna City Council maintains sport facilities around the city which you can use at your leisure. Along the Danube River, for example, there are soccer fields and basketball courts for public use.
Cinemas that show movies in English:
Cinema Haydn (down Mariahilferstrasse, just a few minutes walk from the University)
Artis International (near the centre and the famous ice-cream shop Zanonni & Zanonni, U3, U4).
There are also cultural activities regularly in front of the Vienna City Hall (Rathaus).
There are always many arts exhibitions and hundreds of small private art galleries at any one time in Vienna. If you are interested in arts, painting, sculpture, photography you should check out the following places:

Albertina: There are always three exhibitions parallel and it is located in a fine historic building in the city center. It was a gift for Maria-Theresia’s favourite daughter from Kaiser Franz I. On their webpage you can find out about current exhibitions, etc.
Albertina Museum, Albertinaplatz 1, A-1010 Wien
Kunstforum: Has showcased 908 artists from over 20 nations.
BA-CA Kunstforum Freyung 8, A-1010 Wien,
Schloss Belvedere: Has its own famous collections on exhibit all year. Among them are great Austrian painters such as Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, and Franz Kokoschka. The location is a must-see with its beautiful two small castles and a park in between.
Prinz Eugen Str. A- 27, 1037 Vienna,
Schloss Schönbrunn: A must for all visitors of Vienna. It is worth spending an entire day in the castle, at the palm house, hedge maze, and the large zoological garden.

Weekend Out
You can spend a weekend outside Vienna by traveling to other cities in Austria. Most visiting students and tourists in Austria love the small city Krems, around one hour by train from Vienna. For a whole weekend Graz is a convenient trip. The city has a lively night live and also many cultural events in the historic city center. During winter, you can join ski lovers at one of the best skiing alpine mountains in Salzburg. Since Austria is an EU Country, you can travel freely to other cities like Prague, Bratislava, Budapest, Stockholm, Berlin, etc.

Dining Out
Dining out and meeting for a drink are all popular socializing activities. Because Vienna is a multi-cultural society, we have a huge variety of restaurants offering different food from around the world. Prices vary from about 5 Euro and up, depending on your choice of restaurant.

Most restaurants have a mid-day menu (Mittagsmenu) which is cheaper then eating the same thing in the evening. You should tip; general rule is that for average service, round up to a whole number. Example: if bill is €5.90, give €6.00. You tell the waiter to round up when you pay (as opposed to leaving money on the table). For exceptional service or in a very nice restaurant, you should tip around 10%-15%.

Austrians emphasize Gemütlichkeit (relaxed atmosphere) in Restaurants and do not hurry you to leave. You will have to ask for the bill when you are ready to pay. In German, you may say “Zahlen bitte” (I want to pay, please).

Tourism Contacts
There are two information centers for tourists in Vienna. One is located in the Rathaus (City Hall) on the Ring and the other is located behind the Staats Opera, next to Café Mozart in the 1st district (Albertinaplatz/Maysedergasse 9:00am to 7:00pm daily) They will be able to answer your questions about events and things to do in and around Vienna. You can also visit a few helpful websites listed below: or

Arriving in Vienna

Check out the link below to answer some questions that you may have: Get a good map of Vienna as soon as possible! You can get it for free in our university or in the Information Center, close to Staatsoper, U2-, U1-, U4-Station Karlsplatz.

From the airport

We recommend spending the extra money to take a taxi from the airport to your dorm. It is worth it when you have lots of luggage and are unsure of where to go.

Fast Train (Schnellbahn)
From the airport, take S7 Train up to the Station Wien Mitte/Landstrasse and from there, you can catch U-Bahn lines U3 and U4. You can buy the tickets at the automat machines in the train stations. The cost is max 3 Euros a way.

City Airport Train
The CAT is another option and is more expensive, but it is a direct line and has extra room for luggage. The cost is 9 Euros one way. The CAT goes from the airport straight to Wien-Mitte/Landstrasse.

Getting to the Student Dorm HAUS ERASMUS

VC has an agreement with Haus Erasmus to find a dorm space for all prospective, as well as current students that need it.

Address: Haus Erasmus
Kenyongasse 23- 25
1070 Vienna, Austria
Tel.: +43-1-90111-122
Fax: +43-1-90111-15
Public Transport: U6 Burggasse/Stadthalle, Tram 49 Burggasse

Office Hours Mo: 9:00 - 16:00
Tue: 9:00 - 16:00
Wed: 9:00 - 16:00
Thu: 9:00 - 16:00
Fr: 9:00 - 13:00

Getting to VC

From Haus Erasmus: you can either walk approx. 15 min in Westbahnstrasse or take the Tram 49, direction Volkstheater and get off in Neubaugasse Station and walk a few minutes.

The closest public transportation means to IU are U3 Station Neubaugasse, Tram 49 Siebensterngasse or Neubaugasse, and Bus 13A Siebensterngasse.

TEN important things to do on arrival

There are lots of things to organize when you arrive in Vienna. Don’t be overwhelmed by doing everything at once.
This checklist will help you organizing yourself:

1. Register for classes at VC (usually on Friday before the semester starts)
2. Register as resident in Vienna (compulsory) with the Magistrate of your district and receive a registration letter
3. Apply for “Fortsetzungsbestätigung” (needed for Transportation student tariff, if necessary
4. Apply for Insurance (Generali Group) in Austria by filling out an Insurance
5. Apply for “Inskriptionsbestaetigung” (Certificate of Enrollment), if needed
6. Apply for a Student ID Card in the Administrative Assistant’s Office
7. Open a bank account (Free for students at several Austrian banks)
8. Attend Convocation on Tuesday and Thursday afternoon to get acquainted with students, faculty, and to be
informed about VC’s policies
9. Attend the New Student Orientation to get questions answered and get your semester off to a good start!
10. Enjoy a wonderful and academically beneficial first term in Vienna at VC!!!

We recommend you make use of the ample opportunities and events in Vienna, whether cultural, scientific, or entertaining.

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