Hi I’m Bridget and I’m from a small town in south Georgia and I currently live in Innsbruck, Austria.
1. Why did you move abroad?
My husband was offered a Post-Doctoral position at the University of Innsbruck and we decided to it would be a good opportunity for us to do some traveling and live in Europe.
2. How do you make a living?
I am a technical assistant for two research in the Department of Ecology at the University of Innsbruck. I was very lucky to be offered an interview as many positions want someone who speaks German fluently or who is from the area.
3. How often do you communicate with home and how?
We skype, probably, a 2-3 times a month. I also will do online messaging, such as with gmail, or facebook.
4. What's your favorite thing about being an expat in Innsbruck, Austria ?
Innsbruck is a beautiful town with many opportunities for exploring the outdoors. I have also learned the family work balance is extremely important for people here which is extremely refreshing to learn as someone in her 20s because back home the “grind until your 30s” is a prevalent ideology.
5. What’s the worst thing about being an expat in Innsbruck, Austria?
I am not going to lie the language barrier is really tough. My German is greatly improving, but because I only know “high German” I am still seen as a foreigner by many people because I do not speak the local dialect.
6. What do you miss most?
My answer to this question use to be the food! But I think being away from family and friends is beginning to be difficult.
7. What did you do to meet people and integrate in your new home?
When I started working it was much easier to meet people. We also took German classes which has helped and getting out and doing stuff; such as going to restaurants, hiking, skiing (well not me but my husband ;)
8. What custom/ habits do you find most strange about your adopted culture?
I still struggle with time to time with the opening and closing hours of stores (especially being closed all day on Sundays). It is also considered to be extremely rude when you “cheers” someone with a drink if you do not look in them in the eye when you do it.
9. What is a myth about your adopted country?
Krampus (a custom in Austria) has received some recent “fanfair” attention, and much of the descriptions of the folk tradition are not quite accurate. He is simply the ying to St. Nikolaus’s yang, while good children receive presents and praise, so must naughty children be punished and taken away in a sack. He does not set out to take children, is not even, but simply the consequences to ones actions. Here people (teenage males) will dress up in a Krampus costume, drink plenty of beer and schnapps, and go out and terrorize the locals. However, this is only one day a year (always December 5th).
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?
You pay more money for a small apartment compared to most of the U.S. Produce is extremely cheap while meat is quite a bit more expensive. You can also get high quality dairy and bread products cheaply. Beer and wine is also cheap, as in you can get a very decent bottle of wine for well under $10. Most people will not need a car so this reduces expenses quite a lot.
11. What advice would you give other expats?
See if there is any way you can network and people you can socialize with before you move. This will make the transition much easier. Additionally, learning the language is very helpful.
12. When and why did you start your blog?
I started it when we moved as a way to document the experiences abroad for family and friends back home.
Bridget's blog, Dragons and Rockets
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