Learning Languages

For the full Language Policy, please click here!

Academic Language / Language A

At LISA, students who have German as their academic language, are prepared for the Matura (österreichische Reifeprüfung) and the IB Diploma. Students who have English or a different academic language other than German (e.g. Chinese) will be prepared exclusevely for the IB Diploma. Therefore, all LISA students are required to have an academic language upon joining the school. The academic language is the language, which is the strongest language spoken and written by the student. Often, this is the language of instruction of the primary school.

The Matura and IB Diploma Programme make a clear distinction between the academic language (Language A) and the foreign language (Language B). The academic language must therefore be either German, English, or one of the recognized IB Mother-Tongue languages.

Students who neither have German nor English as their academic language will follow the mother tongue programme at the school to maintain their mother tongue abilities on an academic level. 

For example, a student whose academic language is Chinese:  
a. is required to arrange and pay for tutoring support to maintain the Chinese ability
b. will receive English as foreign language lessons in school
c. will attend German as a foreign language lessons in school 

Examples of alternative mother-tongue courses offered at LISA  (IB languages):

Afrikaans, Albanian, Arabic, Bosnian, Bulgarian, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, French, Hungarian, Italian, Greek, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Slovak, Slovene, Spanish, Swedish.

Mother Tongue Programme Language Fees
  • Examiner Fee 200 Euros per year payable to school directly by the end of November. This fee is payable by all students/languages, except Academy years 7 and 8 where the examiner fee is included in the annual tuition. 
  • Tutor Hourly Rate on average 25 Euros per hour (e.g. 25 Euros per hour X 60 hours per year = 1500 Euros per year) Important to note that this may be significantly higher for some languages (e.g. Japanese, Portuguese), and it is most commonly linked to the rates charged by the tutors in the mother tongue country. The tutor hourly rate is negotiated by parents/family and payable directly to tutors. The school is not responsible for providing the tutors but can assist when possible. The school recommends minimum 1-2 hour per week of mother tongue tuition for all students. This naturally will vary depending on student’s age and ability.
  • It is important to note that some countries (e.g. Netherlands) offer official mother tongue courses for their students living abroad. The fees for such courses are payable directly to course providers. The grades by official course providers can then be transfered to the Austrian report cards, providing that this has been agreed with school at the start of the school year.  

Download the information on the Self-taught Mother Tongue Programme here.

Foreign language / Language B

The Matura as well as the IB Diploma Programme require students to choose one academic language and one or two foreign languages. At LISA two academic languages are not possible, since the curricula of the academic language and the foreign language programmes differ significantly. Please note, that in order to sit the Austrian Matura exams, the first academic language must be German.


Language and University Application

The choice of the academic language does not preclude the subjects or univerity that a student can apply to. Generally, universities might require proof of Enlish ability regardless if the student has chosen English as their academic language or not. We recommend to contact the university what additional tests, such as TOEFL, ESOL etc., if any at all, are required.

For example, we have had students, who were accepted at English-speaking universities in the UK, who had to complete an additional English exam even though they had English as their academic language (English Language A). Some universities have standard admission requirements for all students coming from abroad, regardless of what their academic language is. 

Parents and students must understand that a certain combination of subjects and the academic language chosen is no guarantee to be accepted at a university of their choice. The choice of English as their first academic language (English A Langauge) is no guarantee that the unverstiy will admit the applicant.