Moving to a new country is an adventure that promises new experiences and cultural immersion. For many expatriates, Austria serves as an enticing destination with renowned quality of life. As expats embark on their Austrian journey, they often encounter a set of challenges that come with adapting to a foreign environment. So, let us delve into the five typical problems faced by expats in Austria and explore practical solutions that can help overcome these obstacles on the path to a successful expat journey in the heart of Europe.
1. Isolation from Austrians
First and foremost, internationals tend to have little contact with Austrians. Sometimes it happens because of the language barrier, and sometimes because of the community. Jobs are often in English, and colleagues are not native speakers. So, this tendency of isolation from the locals has some disappointing effects.
Firstly, you do not feel that you belong here. It is frustrating to live somewhere you cannot call your home and always feel like a foreigner, no matter how many years have passed. It leads to dissatisfaction and even relocation back home.
Secondly, you do not get to experience the culture or learn about the mentality of people in Austria. Thus, you cannot understand if it is a place for you and whether you want to stay.
2. Lack of leisure activities
You are limited in activities and services. There is a pretty common misconception among the international community that Vienna is a boring city. This idea may have its roots in the language too. Vienna offers a wide range of enjoyable events, must-visit spots, and compelling activities, but the majority is in German. Additionally, it is not easy to find events if you don’t have someone who can recommend you ones in English.
3. Cultural misunderstandings
Furthermore, Austria has prepared a couple of culture shocks for you. For example, we have experienced that expats did not check their mailboxes for months and missed bills and letters multiple times. Or they got confused in front of the shelf with different types of flour, whereas the bread names are a whole culture of their own.
Some cultural tips for you:
- When you clink glasses, it is common to look in the eyes, and it might be interpreted as rude if you do not follow this rule.
- It is normal that you do not get an email reply beginning Friday afternoon and only hear back on Monday, most offices have a shorter working day on Friday.
- Austria is quite a dog-friendly country. Dogs are welcome in public places, including shops, banks, and restaurants.
4. Routine tasks becoming a challenge
The same goes for car services, doctors, taxes, lawyers, etc. Any everyday necessity becomes a challenge if you are abroad. Finding the right doctor or lawyer specialising in one particular topic is no obvious task anymore. Building up your routine and the basis for a comfortable and convenient living takes time (and some nerves). Here, you might profit from local English-speaking chats or Facebook groups.
In the first place, you face some difficulties just upon arrival or even earlier. Transporting your things or furniture, getting all the necessary permits and documents – this is what you will come across first. After finding a flat, you also have a few things to handle.
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