Fulbright Austria > Going to Austria > Teaching Assistants > About


Each year, more than 140 college graduates from the United States teach in Austria under the auspices of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research (BMBWF) Foreign Language Teaching Assistantship program. The purpose of this program, which draws assistants not only from the English-speaking world but also from France, Italy, Russia, and Spain, is to bring talented and enthusiastic young people from abroad into the classrooms of secondary schools in communities large and small all over Austria. Ultimately, it is the job of these native speakers as teaching assistants to make learning a foreign language a lively cross-cultural encounter for their students.

In 1962, the Austrian-American Educational Commission (AAEC), which manages the Fulbright Program in Austria, also assumed responsibility for recruiting US citizens to participate in this program and administering their applications. Since then more than 2,900 college graduates from the United States have been placed in Austrian secondary schools as teaching assistants.  Although the participants in this program make a substantial contribution to the fulfillment of the Fulbright Program’s mandate to promote mutual understanding between the peoples of Austria and the United States, participants in the US Teaching Assistantship Program are not grantees of the Fulbright Program.

Teaching assistants generally only work with students over the age of ten. They will be assigned to an AHS (Allgemeinbildende Höhere Schule - general higher secondary school) or BMHS (Berufsbildende Mittlere und Höhere Schule - higher secondary school with a vocational or technical specialization)

For more information, please consult this diagram of the Austrian school system on the website of the Austrian Academic Exchange Service (OeAD). Further information about the various school types can be found in the sidebar next to the diagram.

Description of Position+

US teaching assistants are assigned to one to three Austrian secondary schools and required to assist teachers of English in classroom instruction for 13 hours per week. No two USTAs have the same experience. However, some of a USTA's weekly duties might include team-teaching a lesson with an English teacher, discussing a topic from the text book with a small group of students, engaging in one-on-one conversation practice with pupils, helping all or part of a class review for a test or designing and teaching a unit on an aspect of US culture or a current event. Activities will vary depending upon the needs of the students and teachers.

US teaching assistants are expected to work independently in a wide variety of institutional settings all over Austria.  They are assigned to different kinds of schools in communities large and small.  They must have the capacity to negotiate cultural differences and to solve problems that arise on a day-to-day basis.

Applicants should have at least an undergraduate degree, a working knowledge of German (intermediate-mid or above according to the ACTFL guidelines) and should be interested in careers in education. Prospective teachers of German or TESOL and/or graduates with a documented interest in Austrian studies are particularly encouraged to apply.