'A love of learning was vital'

The Local Austria
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'A love of learning was vital'
Amanda enjoying the snow.

American Amanda K. moved to Vienna in June 2013 to pursue her graduate studies. As well as studying, she works at Gymboree Play & Music, a private childcare company which offers parents in Vienna the chance to spend more time with their young children in a specially-tailored environment.


How did you get your job and do you have any tips for someone looking for similar work? 

I got my job at Gymboree Play & Music when I saw a vacancy posting on the online group Americans in Vienna. Since I had experience in teaching English to children as a second language, the owner Margarita was happy to introduce me to their school skills program and the upcoming new bilingual playgroup.

We're very customer-oriented, and it’s a great team here at Gymbo. For those looking for similar work, my advice is to keep your eyes glued to such foreigner-centric online forums. Vacancy postings pop up often, but I like to think that I have been quite lucky. 

What were the requirements for your job and was German necessary?

A love of learning was vital. I think it is important to be energetic, kind, confident and competent, but most importantly - to like children! Of course work-experience with small children was also an advantage. German was not necessary as there are classes in both German and English, and I teach only the English ones.

Had you studied German before you arrived in Austria?

I didn’t begin studying German until I’d been in Vienna for four months. It’s such an international city that it’s easy to get around using only English. But that’s not to say that studying German is not important. Getting to know the culture becomes infinitely easier once you know the language.

What do you think is the best way for an English speaker to improve their German skills?

Practice every day. This is the same in any language. Once you get the basics of grammar and vocabulary right, just go out into the city and interact with people. If you don’t practice, you’ll never improve. It’s the same with the children I teach. The most important thing for me is that they need to have fun. Fun in learning a language for the first time is essential and opens a range of opportunities later in life. That's why I think my job reflects my enthusiasm for personal development.

What are your favourite aspects of life in Austria?

Austria is a beautiful country with lots of opportunities for travel. For the outdoorsy types, the hills and mountains provide excellent hiking. In Vienna itself, history and culture melt together in every corner of the city, and it is a perfect jumping off point for travel in Europe. It is, by all accounts, a wonderful place.


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