Moving to Austria
Austria is an EU state; it is also one of the founding members of the OECD, and is ranked in the top 20 for its Human Development Index. With a high standard of living, a range of expat jobs to choose from, and an impressive selection of extra-mural activities on offer, Austria is an ideal expat destination. Further solidifying its appeal is the friendly and welcoming attitude that Austrians have toward expats.
Austria’s capital, Vienna, is home to a quarter of the country’s population. Along with Vancouver in Canada, Vienna has been ranked first by the Economic Intelligence Unit and Mercer for quality of life. These ideal conditions, and its location at the heart of Europe, have ensured Vienna is a regular host city for international conferences and planning sessions relating to all aspects of life from academic issues through to urban planning. Jobs in project management, finance and logistics as well as language fields such as English teachers and translation services are relatively open to expat interest.
Tourism is a growing industry in Austria and expats looking for jobs in this field are sure to be successful. Other possible areas of employment for expats include the engineering and research fields. Expats moving to Vienna will be spoilt for choice when it comes to cultural events such as music, theatre and opera, particularly the showcasing of works by popular Austrians such as Mozart and Strauss. The city is designed to incorporate an array of parks and recreational areas, especially along the beautiful Danube River.
All the major cities as well as the rest of the country have efficient and well-maintained public transport facilities. Trains are the easiest means of travel between cities, while buses connect many of the smaller towns to the main rail network. This integrated transport system is the easiest way to get around Austria and ensures that expats can commute easily and affordably using public amenities. Motor vehicles are also popular and Austria’s road network is extensive and connects the country to all of its neighbours, high-speed motorways (Autobahn) are also easily accessible.
Healthcare in Austria is of the standard that most Western expats are familiar with. The system is funded by a number of compulsory public insurance schemes and it covers the entire population. Most of Austria’s well-equipped hospitals are owned by the government, although there are some private hospitals and facilities available, they are typically used for elective surgery rather than life-threatening conditions. Expats that are EU citizens can get access to treatment provided that they have a European Health Insurance Card, while those from outside the EU should arrange alternate health insurance for the initial few months of their time in Austria.
Austria has a selection of quality foreign language schools as well as some state schools that offer English language education streams. Austria’s currency is the Euro and the country has a number of banks that Expats can choose from. Most expats will be familiar with some Austrian food before they travel to the country; dishes such as dumplings (knödel), schnitzel, and apple strudel are common while Austrian bread is definitely something to write home about.
Austria experiences a temperate climate with cold winters and warm summers. Autumn comes with a beautiful display of the leaves changing and spring is a great time to experience bulbs and flowers struggling up through the last of the winter snow. Austrians are enthusiastic about outdoor activities and the ski season from December to the end of April is a highlight.
Austria may be relatively small and landlocked but it really is the heart of Europe. With impressive Baroque architecture, awe-inspiring churches and captivating cultural events, Austria will easily nestle its way into the hearts of many expats who choose to make it home. While charming, Austria also holds its own in the commercial and industrial sectors, expats should be prepared to work hard while not forgetting to enjoy the many splendours this country has on offer.