I don’t need to convince anyone that the time is rushing by. But today I was surprised at the thought of just finishing my first year of living in Austria. And although I;ve never thought that this is going to be the place where I was going to start building my future, I was positively surprised by how everything turned out. I am very fortunate, but I did not sit idly because I tried to lead my life in the dream direction. And despite the fact that I didn’t think I would ever say it, over the time I started to treat Austria as the second home.
What has changed for a year of living in Graz? Read on to find out about my observations and opinion about living here.
First year of living in Austria – German language
At the time of my arrival my German language knowledge was round zero. I have never studied German at school, I was not interested in studying it at all at the time – I did not plan a future in any German-speaking country (I could not have been more wrong!). However, I’ve spoken fluent English, which definitely helps me to function in Austria until now. But now my German knowledge is much better too. I’m still learning, but I usually communicate without much trouble. Austrian dialects are a problem, which makes learning more difficult (sometimes Austrians from one region do not understand Austrian from another :-)), but I see a slow progress, although sometimes learning is frustrating for me. The most I;ve managed to learn by listening, but I also attend a German course. At home and at work I mainly speak English.
The first year of work in Austria
The first year of my work in Austria means that it’s also my first serious work ever. And I know I could not have been happier. From accidental encounter, to a beautiful, huge office with the piano – my work definitely overturned my life upside down. Since my first month of living in Austria I was more interested in the PhD studies than acquiring a job, but a happy coincidence made it easier to make a decision. All my fears about the lack of German language seemed to have come to nothing because I gained not only the time for peaceful study, but also an understanding environment. And the surprised faces of my friends when they hear the stories from work, prove me that it is a dream job.
Living in Austria and Austrian society
I didn’t quite know what to expect from the Austrian society, and the only thing that came to my mind was the experience of living in Sweden, where getting to know with the native Swedes in the long run was a miracle. Here is luckily the opposite! Austrians usually tent to be more laid back than Swedes or Poles. This is evident even by taking a look at their everyday sportswear, lifestyle and love to ecology. Austrians are open, speak good english and have a sense of humor. When they know that I’m not from here, they often ask about it, they are curious and never speak negatively about Poland. I often heard of family members coming from Poland and trips to those areas. And Polish sweets, which I sometimes bring for friends or to work, are always meeting their enthusiasm (especially walnut-chocolate Michałki and Prince-Polo!).Unfortunately, it is not always so colorful, because in larger groups speaking different Austrian dialects, my German is still not good enough to keep up with it. At those moments I always appreciate if the speakers switch to English. Or I poke my boyfriend to explain some things from time to time to see if I understood correctly.
Living in Austria and the apartment
After moving into the new apartment I finally feel even more at home and for the first time in a few years I’ve started to bring inside some more decorations and Scandinavian style. There is a lot of sunlight in it and I like it most. And coffee drank on the terrace tastes always delicious! At the time of looking at the apartment I immediately said that it must be instagrammable and it was a bull’s-eye! It’s simple, white and functional – exactly in my style.
Renting an apartment in Austria, however, unfortunately involves very high costs (deposit costs and signing fees, sometimes also additional fees associated with the real estate office, which is a significant impediment to new entrants).
And although at first I was not quite sure in which country I would be in the future, I am now more and more considering staying in Austria. I dream of a beautiful, red (Swedish) cottage house. 🙂
Typical Austrian cuisine is quite heavy, reminiscent of a bit Polish, Czech and German. I do not often eat this type of food, but after a year in Austria I have some favorites, such as: dumplings with apricots (these are the most popular fruits in the country after apples) or frittaten soup with thin strips of pancakes. The Austrians also drink a lot of coffee, which personally suits me very well, but they enjoy having their breakfasts too sweet for my taste. While strolling around the city you can always find a good vegetarian restaurant or vegan cafe (I pay special attention to this because I usually drink coffee with vegetable milk).
Austrian comfort of living
In Austria, people pay attention to their rest. Saturday and Sunday is the time to charge batteries for the next week, time for walks, cinema and restaurants, which are especially crowded in the evenings. I like this lifestyle, although I always complain that everything except the aforementioned gastronomy and culture is closed. If you work until the evening, or plan to meet someone after work, forget about any groceries. I slowly learn better planning and I try to do more shopping with my boyfriend once a week to avoid this problem.
During my first year of living in Austria I liked the peace that comes with it. Austrian cities often win or score high in life comfort ratings, and I totally agree. It’s clean and everything seems to have its order.
First year of living in Austria – life changes
Even though it seems like my life didn’t change drastically, it’s still different than the last year’s. The decision to move to Austria was subject to two factors. First of all: I always knew that in the future I would leave the country and a year’s stay in Sweden confirmed me that the discovery of other countries is always a good decision. Second: maintaining a long distance relationship between two countries, though exciting, was unfortunately, tiring, time consuming and expensive. Being able to live with your boyfriend and participating in the other person’s life is the best choice.Changing the country in addition to new society, work and relations, unfortunately also has it’s downsides like missing my mum and my friends, who have stayed in Poland. Fortunately, Whatsapp and Skype make up for the distance. Even in spite of the distance, you can maintain valuable friendships and be present in each other’s lives.I try to always appreciate what my life looks like and enjoy the little things. Positive attitude attracts positive situations!And in the meantime my next dream has come true and we have a little kitten living with us. 🙂
Found during the walk in the neighborhood – Austrians are getting ready for Halloween. 🙂
What changed in your lives over the year? Any drastic changes? Happy moments? Share your stories in the comments!