Graz International Summer Institute


Image of Seggau Castle, Austria
Study contemporary global affairs at an interdisciplinary institute in Austria.
Location: Seggau Castle, Austria
Language of Instruction: English
Term: Summer
Program Type: Faculty-led
Open to non-KU Students: No
Fulfills KU Core 4.2: No
Fulfills KU Core 5: No

  • Expand your understanding of current European and international affairs.
  • Develop academic writing, critical thinking, and public speaking skills. 
  • Network with students and faculty from more than 30 countries.
  • Spend two weeks living in a historic castle in Austria.
  • Two scholarships (EUR 1,500 plus travel support) available for this program for 2022!

Constant political uncertainties. Climate change. Demographic transformation. New technologies that redefine the notion of work. Personal data collection. The Graz International Summer Institute uses today’s most pressing societal challenges as the basis for interdisciplinary academic contemplation and scholarly discussion of global change. During this two week program, students live and study side-by-side students and faculty from more than 30 countries to gain a deeper understanding of current global affairs while developing personal, academic, and professional skills.

This program is offered in conjunction with the University of Graz and the Graz International Summer School Seggau. The 2022 institute theme, "Re-Measuring, Re-Calculating, Re-Counting: State - Society - Religion in Transition", seeks to explore how our lives are influenced by numbers, how our online and offline actions and interactions are being measured, calculated, and counted, by ourselves and others, and what this means for states, societies, and our understanding of the world. Through a combination of lectures, discussion, and small group sessions, students will gain insight into the global challenges of our time.

In addition to a rich academic curriculum, this program includes several cultural and social activities including an excursion to the city of Graz, reception at City Hall, sports activities, and international nights. The modern facilities and beautiful grounds of the Seggau Castle create a perfect backdrop for personal reflection, academic inquiry, professional development, and intercultural exchange.

This program takes place at a castle venue in the Austrian state of Styria. The picturesque Styrian region in southeast Austria is known for its rolling hills, vineyards, spas, and stunning castles. Schloss Seggau (Seggau Castle) dates back to Roman times and served as the residence for the first Bishop of Seckau. Until 1786, Schloss Seggau was the seat of the Styrian Bishopric and continued to serve as a summer residence of its Bishops until the mid-20th century. Perched on a hill overlooking the city of Leibnitz, today the castle has been renovated as a modern hotel and conference space that beautifully fuses tradition with modernity.

The Graz International Summer Institute is designed for internationally-minded students from any academic discipline who wish to study contemporary global issues, develop an international network of colleagues, and gain skills in critical thinking, academic writing, and public speaking. The program is organized by the University of Graz, Austria’s second largest comprehensive university.

Upon successful completion of the program, 3 credit hours are granted by the University of Kansas. Course credit is assigned based on the afternoon seminar subject selected. KU course equivalencies are available in a variety of departments - contact KU Study Abroad for additional information. The language of instruction is English. 

Successful completion of the course includes participation in the following:

Morning Lectures:

Daily lectures and discussion that provide context for the afternoon seminars. Delivered by a select group of guest lecturers, the morning sessions will broadly address the institute’s central theme: Re-Measuring, Re-Calculating, Re-Counting: State - Society - Religion in Transition.

Afternoon Seminars:

Specialized, discipline-specific small group modules that allow deeper exploration of the institute’s theme. Choose one of the following afternoon seminars:

  • Narratives in Archives
  • Media Archeology: Private and Public
  • From Pancakes to Donuts: Economic Models
  • Mediation and Memory: Tradition and Transformation in Jewish Life (Additional scholarship support available for students who select this option)
  • Narrative Didactics as Re-Measurement
  • “When I’m 64” – Aging Masculinities in a Datified World
  • Re-Measuring Emotions/Re-Calculating Knowledge

Seminar Paper:

The course culminates in a seminar paper that encourages students to synthesize their experiences and learning during the institute. Details on the requirements for the seminar paper will be provided at a later date.   

Optional Workshops

Students may also participate in optional workshops that offer additional opportunities for professional and academic development. The workshops will focus on the following skill areas: academic writing, public speaking, and creative writing.

All accommodations and program sessions take place at Schloss Seggau, a modern hotel and convention facility in a historic castle. Students will stay in double, triple, or quad rooms and have access to hotel amenities including internet access, a swimming pool, and beautifully landscaped castle grounds. All meals are included in the cost of the program. Special dietary needs can be accommodated.

SAGE is dedicated to creating international engagement opportunities that meet the needs of all our students and providing resources to support you through the process of studying abroad. Study abroad is achievable for students of all identities including our BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ students, students with disabilities, and students with religious/non-religious viewpoints. Before selecting a program, consider how your identities may impact your experience abroad in unique ways and talk with your Program Coordinator about any program-specific concerns. Students with documented disabilities should discuss any accommodation needs with their Program Coordinator early in the planning process.

Considerations for Austria

Austria has laws in place to protect ethnic and religious minorities, LGBTQIA+ individuals, the differently abled, and other groups. Same-sex marriage is available in Austria and most large cities have well-developed LGBTQIA+ organizations. Many Austrian universities have student groups and community organizations to support LGBTQIA+ students. Racism and bigotry are not socially accepted although some extremist political parties have been accused of racist sentiments.

Austria’s cities and public transportation are generally accessible to individuals with disabilities. Older sections of the cities and smaller towns may be less accessible due to centuries-old architecture, cobblestone streets, and small indoor spaces but Austria has federally mandated laws requiring access to public buildings for people with physical disabilities. Austria offers services for people who are mobility, sight, or hearing impaired.

Source: U.S. Department of State country information pages and Diversity Abroad.

Additional Resources

Check our Identity Abroad page and resources listed below for information specific to you and other students who may be on your program.

Open to students of all levels and majors. Minimum 2.75 GPA required (exceptions considered after submission of a petition). This program is designed especially for internationally oriented, highly motivated students.

Due to entry requirements mandated by the government of Austria, full vaccination against COVID-19 is required to enter Austria for participation in this program.

Cheryl Lester is Associate Professor Emerita at the University of Kansas where she was a Conger-Gabel Teaching Professor and triply appointed in the departments of English, American Studies, and Jewish Studies. Her main research interests and publications are in the field of the American novel, especially William Faulkner, with emphases on modernity, race and ethnicity, migration and immigration, family, and aging. Dr. Lester earned her Ph.D. from SUNY-Buffalo and has taught numerous courses in multiple departments during her tenure at KU.

Philip Barnard is Professor Emeritus at the University of Kansas where he was Chancellor's Club Teaching Professor of English. His research interests are in contemporary cultural theory and cultural politics of the Atlantic Revolutionary Age, focusing on the novel and Charles Brockden Brown.