The Department of Communication Arts and Sciences prepares students to better grasp and harness the power of communication in the personal, professional and public spheres while also seeking to open students' minds to the complexities of human affairs. Offering students to fully immerse themselves in a different culture for a four week period and focus on a few specific aspects while abroad provides a unique chance to support this mission: Students get to work on academic, inter- and intra- personal, career and intercultural development outcomes.
The University of Vienna is the largest teaching and research institution in Austria, a safe and prosperous country located in the heart of Europe. The Department of Communication, founded after World War II, has a long tradition of making contributions to the social sciences. Some areas faculty and students focus on include the theory of media and democracy, rhetoric, political communication, journalism, media law, public relations, advertising and the study of new information systems.
Both courses will be taught at the Department of Communication's brand new facility.
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All students will register for six credits for both courses offered.
CAS 271 International Communication (3 credits)
In today’s globalized world where many of us are frequently in contact with people from different cultures, continents, and contexts, we cannot assume that our own cultural values and beliefs, behaviors and expectations are universal. We discuss definitions of culture and explore the various cultures we encounter in our daily lives to come to appreciate the complexity involved in intercultural exchanges, and to acknowledge the influence of context and power in our intercultural interactions. Our approach is interdisciplinary in perspective and global in outlook.
This course offers a plethora of formal and informal opportunities to engage in dialogue with Austrians from a variety of backgrounds. The goal to improve students’ intercultural competence: Attitudes such as curiosity and the willingness to step beyond one’s (cultural) comfort zones, skills such as observing, listening, and analyzing, plus, being adaptable and showing empathy are a requirement to successfully complete and fully benefit from this program. The objective is to provide students with an immersive experience abroad to enhance self-reflection, flexibility, and sensitivity in intercultural communication settings that can be applied to both personal and professional environments.
Note: The course CAS 271 Intercultural Communication fulfills the General Education IL (International Cultures) requirement at Penn State as it will increase student knowledge of different cultures and touches on U.S. international relations. This course also supports the College of Liberal Arts’ efforts to develop a curriculum that is infused with diversity and fosters intercultural competency.
CAS 199 OR 499 Foreign Studies: Communication in the European Union; Politics, Policies, and Practices (3 credits)
First, communication and media systems within and across the European Union are introduced. Then, students investigate how changes in media practices and governing structures – truly global phenomena – are intertwined with and provoke changes in discourse, rhetoric, and intercultural communication. In addition, students explore the reconstruction of communication within the European Union in various social spaces. Potential reactions/solutions to these phenomena are researched and discussed. Understanding the importance of media literacy and intercultural competence as practices based on knowledge, capability, communication skills, social and personal responsibility, provides a key vantage point for this inquiry. Field trips to media outlets and other places of interests enrich this complex and challenging learning experience.
You will receive credit for all academic courses taken at this institution, and all of your grades from abroad will count toward your Penn State cumulative GPA. You may not take any courses overseas on a Pass/Fail basis. Students may not take sport or physical activity courses (e.g. sailing, bowling, yoga, etc.) abroad. These courses will not be credited at Penn State.
Successful applicants will satisfy the pre-requisites established by the program.
- Minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA
- Sophomore class standing or higher at time of study
Housing and Meals
Students will reside in dormitory style lodging at Hotel Academia Hotels in Vienna, within walking distance of the University of Vienna's main campus and the host department.
Each student will reside in a single room with en suite bath and free cable internet access. Free wireless access is available in the lobby. Students will have access to a shared kitchen and are responsible for providing all their own meals. Washers and dryers are available 'on site' for an additional cost.
For more information on program costs, please be sure to review the Summer budget sheet. These budget sheets include information on costs that are billable to the bursar bill, as well as estimated additional costs. Costs vary by program, so it is important to review this information carefully.
Please note that tuition rates may vary depending on class standing.
Financial Aid & Scholarships
Penn State students studying through Education Abroad can use most components of their existing financial aid packages toward the cost of study abroad. This may include federal and state grants, VA educational benefits, federal student loans, and University scholarships and grants. Notable exceptions include work-study awards and some athletic scholarships.
The University Office of Global Programs also administers a number of grants and scholarships. Eligibility is based on academic excellence and/or financial need. There is also funding available for study abroad programs in diverse locations and for students from diverse backgrounds. In most cases, applicants should have a current year FAFSA on file with the Office of Student Aid. Funding opportunities may also be available through Penn State academic departments. For detailed information on financial aid and scholarship opportunities and application procedures, please visit the Funding Study Abroad section of the Global Penn State website.
For More Information
For more information about programs and education abroad at Penn State, we encourage you to meet with or contact our Peer Advisers. These study abroad returnees can explain program options, give an overview of the education abroad process, as well as provide information about his/her program. If you are not at University Park, contact your Campus Global Representative.
For more information please contact Ines Meyer-Hoess in the Communication Arts and Sciences department. You may also schedule an appointment with the education abroad adviser for this program.
For the inside scoop on life in a foreign country, be sure to check out the Student Spotlights of Penn State students currently studying abroad.
How to Apply
If you would like to participate on this study abroad program, you will need to apply to Penn State Education Abroad by clicking the "Apply Now" button on this page.
You must complete the following materials in your application:
Visit the How to Apply section of our website for more information.
- Education Abroad Questionnaire
- One academic recommendation
- Signature Documents
Application Deadline: February 1, 2018
Studying Abroad with a Disability
Many students with disabilities successfully study abroad each year. Please note that other cultures may have different attitudes and available accommodations regarding disabilities. While we cannot guarantee the accessibility of all program sites and locations, specific accommodations may be arranged in consultation with our office, the Student Disability Resources office, and our partners abroad. To prepare for success, students are strongly encouraged to research the country and program location to consider if and how they will manage their disabilities abroad in advance of selecting a program. Students with disabilities and other diverse backgrounds can begin their research on our Diversity Awareness Abroad page.
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