This anonymous Irish expat is living and studying in Vienna. With her finger on the cultural pulse, she is studying the violin at the University of Music and Performing Arts and enjoying meeting many interesting people and the variety of entertainment on offer in the city.
Q: Where are you originally from?
Q: Where are you living now?
A: Vienna third district, Austria
Q: How long have you lived here?
A: Three years
Q: Did you move with a spouse/children?
Q: Why did you move to Austria; what do you do?
A: I moved here for university. I study violin at the University for Music and Performing Arts.
Q: What do you enjoy most about Vienna, how’s the quality of life?
A: I enjoy the cleanliness of the city and the Austrian architecture. There is a freshness in the air and a cozy atmosphere as it is not too big for a capital city and it is easy to meet the same people again, even accidentally on the street.
Q: Any negatives? What do you miss most about home?
A: The food has its limitations. The atmosphere in the supermarkets is not the same here and the choice is limited.
Q: Is Vienna safe?
A: Yes, definitely a safe city at any hour of the day and night.
About living in Austria
Q: Which are the best places/suburbs to live in Vienna as an expat?
A: I‘m not entirely sure but I like the fourth and the sixth district the best. It’s nice to live near the Mariahilferstr, shopping district and the Naschmarkt, and also it‘s easy to walk to the best attractions from these districts.
Q: How do you rate the standard of accommodation in Vienna?
A: It depends. The shared flat situation can be a problem. If one flatmate who took on the lease rents it out to others, they can take advantage of others coming from elsewhere and charge them extra and for an unfair price. The landlords don‘t have much involvement and don‘t renovate the apartments so often.
Q: What’s the cost of living in Austria compared to home? What is cheap or expensive in particular?
A: It‘s relatively cheap in comparison to home. Eating out at a restaurant is very affordable and last minute tickets for the theatre or the opera are extremely cheap. A night out will not burn a hole in your pocket. Public transport is much better value than at home also.
Q: What are the locals like; do you mix mainly with other expats?
A: I like the Viennese locals. I find them warm and helpful. Of course it depends on whether you can speak German or not. But they will usually try to help if you are learning and want to communicate with them.
Q: Was it easy meeting people and making friends?
A: For me it was. Austrians are big fans of Ireland and like to talk about the beer culture!
About working in Austria
Q: Did you have a problem getting a work visa/permit?
A: No but I‘m European so there was no problem.
Q: What’s the economic climate like in Vienna, is there plenty of work?
A: It‘s better than at home, but it‘s not easy. There's enough low paid jobs on offer but it will take a while to find something more substantial.
Q: How does the work culture differ from home?
A: Here you have to pay a social insurance every month on what you earn, which covers your health care but reduces your monthly income by quite a bit, especially as this doesn’t include tax which is added at a later point on top of that. Students who work have to pay the same insurance fees and taxes as everyone else, whereas at home students who work at the same time woud have more tax-free benefits.
Q: Is there any other advice you like to offer new expat arrivals?
A: Just try to visit as many concert venues as possible and get to know people anywhere you can. There are a lot of interesting people living here and the entertainment life is great.
► Interviewed May 2012