Welcome to Austria, the land of waltzes, weiner schnitzel, and good beer. Austria was Europe’s musical center in the 17th and 18th centuries, and continues the musical tradition today, with its world-famous Vienna Boys Choir, Vienna Philharmonic, and the Staatsoper (State Opera).
Austrians are famous for their relaxed and happy approach to life. Austrians love to learn and to engage in discussions on current affairs and recognize the importance of being cultured and informed.
As a republic, with a president and a parliament, Austria enjoys a good relationship with the U.S. both politically and economically.
German is spoken by the majority of Austrians as the official language, though English study is required in schools and spoken by many.
Austrian families tend to be small, with one or two children. It is common for both parents to work and for children to help around the house.
Austrians love outdoor activities and recreation. Skiing is a favorite pastime for many and flower lovers adore the meadows when they bloom in the spring. Lakes provide the opportunity for water-skiing, sailing, and windsurfing.
After a day of skiing or a long walk, Austrians may dig into weiner schnitzel (fried cutlet covered with a coating of egg and breadcrumbs). Breakfast is usually coffee or tea and bread with butter and jam. Lunch can be a larger meal, with soup, a meat dish, salad or cooked vegetables.
The Austrian school system is quite rigorous with students required to attend until the age of fifteen. This education is free. Classes typically have twenty to thirty students, and students spend about two hours per day on homework.
University education is popular. About 75 percent of students go on to university after completing high school.
Like American teenagers, Austrian teenagers enjoy playing sports, hanging out with friends, going to the movies, going shopping, and dancing at discos (dance clubs). Favorite sports include snowboarding, skiing, in-line skating, and mountain biking. Austrian teens dress comfortably and casually, opting for jeans, T-shirts, and sweaters. Teenagers usually start dating around the age of fourteen. Sex and birth control are often discussed openly.