Austria and USA Launch New Exchange Program for Young Professionals and Students

Lifestyle & TravelMore+ ♦ Published: February 21, 2024; 16:39 ♦ (Vindobona)

In a new step to deepen transatlantic relations, Austria and the United States have launched a new Working Holiday Program (WHP) that offers young people from both nations the opportunity to experience each other's culture, everyday life, and the working world.

The program is aimed at young Austrians and Americans between the ages of 18 and 30 who are studying at technical and vocational schools or have recently graduated. / Picture: © American and Austrian crossed flags by Vindobona

The ceremonial signing of the agreement took place on February 20 at the Austrian Embassy in Washington. The Austrian Ambassador to the USA, Petra Schneebauer, and the US Assistant Secretary of State for Education and Cultural Affairs, Lee Satterfield, sealed the agreement, which paved the way for a reciprocal exchange program.

Eligible to participate are Austrians between the ages of 18 and 30 who are currently enrolled in or have recently graduated from a technical or vocational school recognized in Austria. US citizens between the ages of 18 and 30 are eligible to the same extent. It offers them the opportunity to spend up to 12 months in the partner country, work there, and make use of the educational facilities.

US Ambassador Victoria Kennedy expressed her enthusiasm for the new initiative: "I am delighted that we can offer this unique program to young people from both countries. It will not only promote their personal and professional development but also further strengthen our strategic partnership."

Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg emphasized the importance of the program for strengthening bilateral relations: "With our working holiday program, we will forge even closer human ties in the future and fill our strategic partnership with life." Minister of Labour and Economic Affairs Martin Kocher emphasized that the program also benefits the Austrian labor market, especially in sectors with high staffing requirements such as the catering industry. State Secretary Claudia Plakolm added that the program is particularly beneficial for apprentices in companies with locations abroad and enables young people to gain valuable experience abroad.

With the introduction of this program, Austria and the USA are expanding their existing exchange programs and offering young people from both countries new opportunities for professional development and cultural exchange.

Austrian MFA

U.S. Embassy Vienna