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Studying in Austria: a sneak peak into Innsbruck’s student life

Image by Alessia Bonori

If mountains peak your interest (excuse the pun) then Innsbruck is the place for you. Lesser known than the Austrian cities of Vienna and Salzburg, Innsbruck is not only a must-see tourist destination but also a must-live-and-study-there destination.

The Austrian alpine city lies in the wide Inn Valley in the region of Tyrol, one of the most breathtaking areas of the country. Between culture and nature, mountain calmness and vibrant city life, Innsbruck offers a student experience like no other. The jewel of the alps, how it is often referred to by Austrians, is without a doubt a student city. It has around 30,000 students spread across five different universities and colleges. Wherever your interests lie, Innsbruck has something for every taste.

Though German is the official language in Austria, many of these universities offer several courses in English. You’ll also find that most people in the city can speak English, as it is taught in school. However, learning some German, or even some Tyrolian (the regional dialect) surely won’t hurt. The Universität Innsbruck, for instance, offers German courses for beginners to get you started with the basics. You’ll soon realise that Innsbruck is overflowing with international students, and you’ll never be the only one struggling to understand people’s funny sounding dialect.

But let’s get down to business: Innsbruck’s student life.

Of course, the academic side of studying in Innsbruck are worth mentioning, but it’s equally important to consider the fun side of it. Being a student shouldn’t be all studying and no free time. If you ask me, being a student should be some studying and a lot of free time on your hands. Innsbruck’s vibrant city and calm mountain life offers students countless ways to spend their weekends, evenings, and bank holiday. Procrastinating has never been easier!
By Alessia Bonori on TikTok

So what do students do throughout the semesters?

As the winter semester begins, many will enjoy a Glühwein (mulled wine) or two in one of Innsbruck’s many bars. Starting from November then, they’ll enjoy a warm cup of anything containing alcohol in the city’s cosy Christmas market. The chillier days are also the perfect occasion for a stroll around Mariatheresienstrasse, where students will spend every last penny on clothes, accessories, or other things they do not actually need. The winter is also the perfect time to enjoy a sunny day on the slopes. Innsbruck offers three different skiing areas on its surrounding Alps, all linked by public transport: Nordkette, Patscherkofel, and Axamer-Lizum. They’re great spots for skiing, snowboarding, ski mountaineering, or for those who want to keep it chill, sledding.

As the warmer and sunnier days approach, student can be found having takeaway, drinks, or even just a chat on Innsbruck’s famous Sonnendeck. Sonnendeck, German for sun terrace, is the riverside in front of Universität Innsbruck, where students gather after classes or after a long study session at the Bib, Innsbruck’s largest library, to relax and watch the sunset. On Wednesdays, Sonnendeck then transforms into somewhat of an open air cub with DJs sets and stands selling drinks. Students can also be spotted having an Aperol at the Marktplatz, the square with a breathtaking view of Innsbruck’s colourful houses. Another student’s favourite is the Kranebitten beach just outside the city centre. On those hot summer days, students inundate Kranebitten on their bikes to enjoy a picnic or a dip in the cold river Inn. Outdoor activities, which do not necessarily include alcohol, are also common among students. Whether it’s going for a hike in the surrounding mountains, or going for a mountain bike ride, there’s plenty to do.   

To summit all up (excuse the pun): Innsbruck offers a student experience like no other. Whether it is for an Erasmus semester or for a whole degree, the city won’t disappoint. The pros of studying in Innsbruck: it is snow much fun (excuse the pun, once again) . The cons: you will want to stay there forever. So what are you waiting for? Just choose a university course and apply.

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