American Expat Living in Austria - Interview with Michelle

Published: 17 Mar at 9 AM
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Filed: Interviews,Austria
Michelle is an American expat living in Vienna, Austria. After meeting a Bosnian-born Austrian citizen, she married and jumped on the opportunity to live in a European city. Having come from a small town in Connecticut, moving to Vienna was quite a big change, so in her blog Michelle shares not only her personal insights of what it's like being an American expat, but of fascinating findings and discoveries in Austria's capital.

With the initial intent of using her blog as a way to creatively express her life as an expat, Michelle has thus far created her blog to also become a helpful resource for those interested in moving or visiting Vienna, providing recommendations on essential sights to see, restaurants and Viennese coffee houses to check out, as well as beautiful streets and alleyways to explore. Michelle's expat blog is called American in Vienna (see listing here)

Cafe Landtmann Cranberry Cake
Cafe Landtmann Cranberry Cake

Here's the interview with Michelle...


Where are you originally from?
Connecticut, USA.

In which country and city are you living now?
Vienna, Austria.

How long have you lived in Austria and how long are you planning to stay?
Been living in Vienna for 8 months, and planning to stay here until an opportunity strikes to move to another country.

Vienna from up high on the 2015 Wiener Eistraum City Sky Liner
Vienna from up high on the 2015 Wiener Eistraum City Sky Liner
Why did you move to Austria and what do you do?
I moved here because of my husband, he is Austrian and currently works in Vienna. I currently do not work, so I use my time to focus on my blog, tutor others in the English language, manage and organize events for Vienna's popular Facebook group, ''Women of Vienna,'' and babysit.

Did you bring family with you?
No, it was just me who made the big move! But I am fortunate to have family who visit me here, or vis versa!

How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
I found it quite a challenge, and I still do. I am a beginner in the German language, Austria's main language, and living in the city is so much different to what I'm use to back from my hometown in the states. But I realize that by practicing the language and simply accepting my new life here is what works for me.

Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
For a few months I isolated myself but then took up blogging to get myself out there and connect with other expat bloggers. It was through my blog and also the initiative to start up a Women of Vienna Facebook group that led to me meeting new people and making new friends.

Inside an old Viennese tram
Inside an old Viennese tram
What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
Oh man, Vienna is awesome. I would say, if you like coffee, to go to the Viennese coffee houses, or cafes that I recommend in my blog. Coffee is a pretty big deal here, and in the cafes everyone just relaxes, reads the newspaper and indulges in the drink. You can practically stay for as long as you want in these coffee houses. It's just really nice and something I haven't as of yet encountered in the states.

What do you enjoy most about living in Austria?
That there is really great coffee and always something new to explore and discover. Whether it's a new restaurant, a new street, or a new event that pops up, there is always something going on in the city. Plus, Vienna is known for being the city with its people having the best quality of life. Maybe it's the coffee, but Vienna is doing something right.

How does the cost of living in Austria compare to home?
I don’t see any real stark difference between the cost living here in Vienna and the United States. I’d say though, that people pay more taxes here, but it gets put to use in such cases towards their health care system.

The Stelze -- a pork knuckle dish
The Stelze -- a pork knuckle dish
What negatives, if any, are there to living in Austria?
Well, German is quite a challenge of a language! I would say, that is probably the most difficult/negative 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.

If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving to Austria, what would it be?
DO YOUR RESEARCH BEFORE COMING HERE! Make sure you are legally able to move here. 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.

What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
Living in a city can be noisy, so I miss the quietness of my house in the states and hearing the birds chirp in the mornings. Little pieces of home I cannot have here is what makes it hard/challenging.

When you finally return home, how do you think you'll cope with repatriation?
I am not sure but I may just be relieved to speak English!

Horse Carriage by the Burg Theater
Horse Carriage by the Burg Theater
What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
  1. If you are planning to move here, do your research. Check out the US Embassy of Vienna for more information. If you are just visiting, check out my blog or other Vienna blogs for recommendations on places to go to and eat at, that way you can get some ideas on what to do here.
  2. Once you are here, go to a Viennese coffee house and order a coffee with cake or apple strudel. I suggest Cafe Landtmann as one place to check out for this.
  3. Learn German. Sure, you can get by speaking in English if you're only visiting the city as a tourist, but if you are planning to live here you need to learn German. So this is something you must accept and do if you are willing to live in Vienna.
  4. Take your time. Be like the Viennese-- enjoy and relax while eating your meal. Sometimes one can stay up to 5 hours at a restaurant simply because of chatting with friends, eating and drinking.
  5. Take a nice long walk around the city. Notice the different architecture on every street. Observe your surroundings -- take everything in. Vienna is so photogenic you can't help but take pictures everywhere you go.
Tell us a bit about your own expat blog.
As an American expat, I simply share my findings and discoveries of Vienna, Austria. I also provide personal insights about what it's like being an American living in a foreign country.

How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
There is a contact page through my blog. I am always interested in connecting with people and assisting them with their visit or move to Vienna!

About the author

Expat Blog ListingMichelle is an American expat living in Austria. Blog description: Findings and discoveries of Vienna, Austria from an American.
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