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International Office

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COVID-19 FAQs for incoming exchange students

Please note that this page is being continuously updated as the situation develops. For the most up-to-date information, please refresh the page regularly by pressing Ctrl+F5 (on Windows) or deleting your cache before refreshing (on Mac).

Last update: August 10, 2020, 10:25 am

Is the International Office open?

Yes! Starting July 1st, the International Office is opened again. You can drop by during our semester break opening and consultation hours. Please feel free to contact us with your personal concerns at wuio@wu.ac.at. Check out our FAQ section in which we have already answered the most common questions related to the COVID-19 situation.

For general questions, you can contact us by telephone under +43-​1-31336-4310 at the following times:

  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday: 9 am – 5 pm

  • Wednesday: 9 am – 6 pm

  • Friday: 9 am – 4 pm

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If you wish to come to our office and speak to your coordinator or front office staff, you can do so within our holiday opening hours:

  • Tuesday to Thursday: 9.30 am - 12.30 pm

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Why were on-campus teaching activities at WU switched to distance learning?

The Austrian government decided to implement measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Among others, this also includes transition to distance learning at universities. It appears that this is a useful measure which positively contributes to the efforts to contain the virus. Similar measures have already been implemented in other countries, particularly in Europe, Asia, and also the US.

What does distance learning at WU mean?

Teaching activities are switching to distance learning.

This does NOT necessarily mean that every unit of presence will be held LIVE online (i.e. via live-streaming during the originally scheduled class times). Rather, distance learning may have different formats, e.g. lecturers provide you with reading materials, upload teaching materials on our LearnWU platform, organize some group chats/online consultation and similar. Each lecturer will individually decide which methods fit her/his course the best and inform the students accordingly.

Your teachers will be in touch with you by email or via LEARN with further instructions.

How long will distance learning be in place? Can I complete my WU courses from home?

Distance learning will be in place until the end of June and no classes will be held on campus WU for the remainder of the summer semester. Your course instructors will inform you regarding the format of the respective classes. Please feel free to contact the International Office team with your questions under coursesinenglish@wu.ac.at.

What should I do if I have troubles with distance learning tools (such as Microsoft Teams)?

In case of technical issues with distance learning tools such as Microsoft Teams, you can contact IT support (hotline@wu.ac.at). Please only contact them by using your WU email address, mention that you are an exchange student, and explain the issue(s). Attaching screenshots might be useful.

I would like to cancel my semester ticket, which I bought at a ticket counter. What do I need to do?

  • Please cut your semester ticket in half and make a photo. Be careful, it is important that your student ID-number is still readable!

  • Send the photo and your letter of cancelation to tarif@wienerlinien.at. For the purpose of a refund by bank transfer, please indicate your IBAN.

  • Once you have canceled your semester ticket, you cannot use it anymore!

  • You will find more information on this subject on the webpage of Wiener Linien (content only available in German)

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Information on refund by bank transfer:

  • You will only receive a portion of the already paid ticket price. How much you will get as a refund depends on the date when you will cancel your semester ticket.

  • International refunds by bank transfer are possible as long as the indicated IBAN supports SEPA Direct Debit.

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I would like to cancel my USI sport course? How can I do that?

  • You can cancel your sport course with USI until June 30, 2020.

  • Send an email with your name, participation number, course number, and bank details to USI@univie.ac.at. You can also include a photo of your USI course card, but this step is optional. It is not necessary to return the course card via postal mail.

  • Please note that cancelations can only be processed after the emergency mode of the University of Vienna has been loosened (probably by mid-May). Due to the high volume of cancelation requests, it can take a few weeks till your payment will be refunded to your indicated bank account. As a refund, you will receive an aliquot part of your initial payment - only course units which have already taken place will be deducted.

  • You will find further information on this subject on the webpage of USI (content only available in German)

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If I decide to return home on short notice, do I need to deregister my residence in Vienna in person?

If you leave Austria and do not plan to return for the rest of the semester, you will also have to de-register with the Austrian authorities.

Deregistration typically has to be done by postal mail by sending the completed filed out residence registration form as well as a copy of your passport to the Central Residence Registration Service in Vienna. Detailed information was sent out to all our incoming students by email.

As an alternative to the old-fashioned postal mail, emails are accepted too. On the website of the registration office, you will find the email addresses of all registration offices. Please send them a scan of your passport as well as the filled in deregistration form.

What happens with my housing contract? Do I get a refund?

Update August 10, 2020:
The OeAD Housing Office has agreed to accommodate students who had to terminate their contracts early due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A cancellation period of one month applies; this means, if you moved out in March and informed the Housing Office of your wish to terminate your contract early, you are liable for rent through the end of April. The rent for May, June, as well as any deposits or pre-payments you may have made will be refunded. If this applies to you, the OeAD Housing Office will contact you directly about your refund. You do not need to contact them yourself.

Most students book accommodation with OeAD Housing, a non-profit semi-state organization, or with other third party providers. Housing contracts are typically issued for the whole duration of the semester and from a legal point of view, the housing contract cannot be cancelled in case of withdrawal or cancellation from the exchange program.

WU has no influence on housing providers and their decisions. However, we are  lobbying for a solution in favor of all our international students. Since the housing providers are independent organizations, we can unfortunately not make any promises that our lobbying will be successful.

At this stage you may want to inform OeAD Housing that you want to cancel the contract earlier and that you expect them to find a solution in this special situation.

It is entirely your personal decision if you opt not to pay your remaining rent and wait for a solution from the OeAD. WU cannot make any recommendations in this regard and cannot assume any responsibility for such decisions and potential consequences. Please be advised that the OeAD might use your deposit to cover any unpaid rents if you decide to stop your payment.

You are welcome to contact us with your concerns under wuio@wu.ac.at.

What can I do to cope with the situation here in Austria. I do not have family/relatives here.

We would like to remind you of the general support services offered to students in Vienna, especially the information on counseling and psychological services on our health care and emergencies page.

I have decided to stay in Vienna and cannot take a return flight home soon. What do I have to know about visa formalities?

  • For information and updates concerning your visa, please consult the website of Austria's Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs.

  • If you are a third country national and require a visa because your stay exceeds the 90 days of your visa-free stay or your valid visa expires, you should either leave Austria in time or regulate your stay at the responsible Austrian authority. However, if neither the departure from Austrian territory nor the regulation of the legal status is possible due to the temporary closure of the respective  Austrian authorities, no penalties will be enforced. The delayed departure will have no negative implication on future visa applications. As soon as the situation permits, those who are obliged to leave Austria must do so as soon as possible.

  • If you have questions or need assistance with your situation, please contact your coordinator at the International Office.

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Will WU's international short programs take place?

Unfortunately, we had to cancel our short programs in May (Vienna Innovation Program and Marketing Spring Program) due to the recent developments of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and the preventive measures WU had to take to curb the spread of the virus.

Concerning the ISUWU summer program 2020, we regret to inform you that WU decided to cancel the Graduate Program due to the COVID-19 developments and its impact on the program. The ISUWU Undergraduate Program will take place in summer 2020, including not only incoming international students but also WU students this summer. We hope that we can offer our undergraduate program on campus as planned. However, if the authorities are still recommending social distancing measures in the summer, we will offer the courses in a distance- learning format.

We apologize for the inconveniences caused by these decisions. You are of course very welcome to apply again for programs in 2021.

For shifting nominations to 2021, please contact your home university coordinator. 

My short program got cancelled. Are the program fees refunded? Do I get the money back from airlines?

We will reimburse all program and tuition fees accrued.

With regard to further payments and deposits, please contact the relevant providers directly. (e.g. airline) 

Are there any alternatives in case the on-campus ISU WU undergraduate program has to be cancelled (online teaching, other program, participation in a possible 2021 program)?

As of now, we hope that we can offer our undergraduate program on campus as planned. However, if the authorities are still recommending social distancing measures in the summer, we will offer the courses in a distance- learning format.

We will send out further details as soon as possible to all involved parties (applicants, partner university coordinators).

In case a distance-learning format should not be an option for you, please contact sarina.eckhard-gludovatz@wu.ac.at and your home university coordinator. For shifting nominations to 2021, please contact your home university coordinator directly also.