Hi everyone! My name is Michelle and I am from the United States, but I am currently living in the awesome city of Vienna, Austria with my husband.
In my free-time I like to share my findings and discoveries of Vienna in my blog, ''American in Vienna.'' I'm a foodie fan, so many of my posts are food reviews of recommended restaurants as well as cool places to check out in the city, while other posts are of personal insights I have about living abroad.
1. Why did you move abroad?
My husband. We met through friends and wanted to be together for the remainder of our lives. I always wanted to live and work in a foreign country so things fell into place and I made the decision to move to Vienna.
2. How do you make a living?
Currently, I do not work – my husband does. Besides looking for jobs, I volunteer at the American Women's Association of Vienna, babysit, faciliate the Women in Vienna Facebook group, and use my blog as a creative outlet to express myself.
3. How often do you communicate with home and how?
I try to communicate with my parents via Skype daily. Because there is a 6 hour time difference between us we try to schedule our chat early in the day before my parents go to work. Skype is really a great invention and something I find practical and necessary when you want to talk with family/friends abroad.
4. What's your favorite thing about being an expat in Vienna, Austria?
I would say having the opportunity to live in one of the best cities in the world while getting to explore new places/cafes/streets every day. While Vienna is a smallish city, there is still a lot to see and do, and since I enjoy food, there always seems to be new restaurants opening up on a frequent basis to check out (and blog about!)
5. What’s the worst thing about being an expat in Vienna, Austria?
Well, German is quite a challenge of a language! I would say, that is probably the most difficult/worse thing about living here. Because of this, it makes adjusting/transitioning to a foreign country a bit harder as opposed to moving to a English-speaking country.
6. What do you miss most?
My family's house back in Connecticut, USA where we were surrounded by nature and wild animals. I use to enjoy looking out the window and observing wild turkeys, birds eating from the bird feeder, deer, and once in a blue moon, coyotes. It was quiet and peaceful there. In Vienna, it's a city, and while there are parks and gardens, it can be loud and I rarely see wild animals except for birds/pigeons and people's dogs on a leash.
7. What did you do to meet people and integrate in your new home?
I got invited to a summer barbeque party hosted by one of my husband's co-workers. I brought my ''famous chocolate cake'' which seemed to bring everyone together. Then I also went on a mountain trip with similar co-workers and had a great time. When we took a lunch break in the middle of the mountain, the co-workers shared their lunch with everyone openly which I found to be a really friendly, kind gesture that I hadn't encountered in the states. Originally I assumed the Viennese would be cold/rude, but the people I have met were welcoming and friendly.
8. What custom/ habits do you find most strange about your adopted culture?
That basically all stores and grocery stores are closed on Sundays except a rare few. So you have to make sure you have enough food for Sunday by preparing ahead of time. I have been so use the convienience of malls and groceries stores opened on Sundays! Yet in a way, I do like how Austria gives Sunday a ''rest day'' for their workers.
9. What is a myth about your adopted country?
That the Wiener Schnitzel is from Vienna ('Wien'). It actually comes from Italy! It first started in the Roman Empire where there was evidence of a meal consisting of a thin piece of meat coated in breading and fried. Supposedly, the Hapsburg royal family of Austria claimed it as their invention later on.
10. Is the cost of living higher or lower than the last country you lived in and how has that made a difference in your life?
I don't see any real stark difference between the cost living here in Vienna and the United States – like both countries provide government-sponsored apartments for those who do not have a lot of money. I'd say though, that people pay more taxes here, but it gets put to use in such cases towards their health care system.
11. What advice would you give other expats?
When/if you come here to Vienna for a visit, make the best of your time here to (before coming) do research to check out the best spots and food restaurants in the city. You don't need to worry so much about having to know German as many people speak English here.
Then, if you are interested in living here, you first need to make sure you are legally able to do so. You have to either be a student, an employee or married to an Austrian to live here, so make sure you can fit into one of those categories. Austria has very strict regulations and laws for expats to come live/work/marry here, so proper research is essential.
For the city known with having its people with best quality of life, I suggest everyone to make a visit to this awesome city.
12. When and why did you start your blog?
I've been going out to some amazing places in Vienna and to me it felt like I should share my experiences with others, because if I was a visitor/expat in Vienna I would want to have a blog or resource to go to look up/learn about what to do in the city. So this blog is a service to others as well as a creative way for me to express myself and expand in my writing skills. I say it's a win-win situation :)
Michelle's blog, American in Vienna
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