Hannes Richter

University of Vienna International Summer School

Hannes Richter


Summer 2008 marks the 60th year of the University of Vienna’s International Summer School, committed to international education since its founding after World War II.

Established in 1949 by the University of Vienna upon the initiative of the Austrian American Society (Österreichisch Amerikanische Gesellschaft) and the Institute for International Education, its aim was to restore and promote mutual understanding between Austrians and Americans. Since then the summer school program has developed into a place of international encounter encompassing not only Americans but students from throughout the world with some 100 students from more than thirty-five different nationalities. Due to developments in Eastern Europe since the late 1980s and the end of the Cold War, its mission has broadened. 

Long noted for its strong academic reputation, it also offers students the opportunity to learn German while participating in summer sports and recreational activities made available by being located on the shores of one of Austria’s most scenic lakes, the Wolfgangsee in the Salzkammergut region east of Salzburg. 

Looking Towards the Future

Current director Dr. Franz-Stefan Meissel, professor of Law at the University of Vienna, anticipates a bright future for the program due to the growing need of expertise in international affairs. Since the 1980s the Summer Program has focused on providing expertise on European Integration and the institutions of the European Union, since many participants come from EU member states or states associated with the EU, as well as from countries involved in international trade with Europe, in particular the U.S. as the EU’s most important trading partner. The curriculum, thus, offers an overview of the development of the new Europe and the EU, and students study both the processes within the various institutions, European integration as well as future goals of the EU as a whole. 

Because course offerings provide perspectives from many different fields, - such as Law, Political Science, Economics, History, Art, Music, Human Rights, among others – the program is, without question, of interest to students from various interdisciplinary fields, but of special interest to those who concentrate on Europe or have one of the following majors: European Studies, Austrian Studies, Cultural Studies, History, International Relations, International Law, European Law or Comparative Law, Political Science or German. Courses are taught by internationally-trained and experienced faculty members from the University of Vienna and other European universities.

A limited number of partial scholarships are offered to students who show academic excellence and financial need. For further information, see: www.univie.ac.at/Sommerhochschule or email Ms. Nina Gruber, Program Coordinator at: Sommerhochschule@univie.ac.at.