‘Creating community is key to my business’

Beate McLatchie is originally from Innsbruck, Austria but moved to Bali in 1992 and spent over 20 years there, raising a family, running a yoga and wellness company and building villas. She has now returned to Vienna to set up a yoga studio and spoke to The Local about feeling like an expat in her own country.

'Creating community is key to my business'
Beate McLatchie. Photo: Bali Yoga Wien

How did you end up living in Asia?

After graduating from high school in Innsbruck I moved to Florida, where I studied on a full athletic tennis scholarship. And then I did an international management degree in New York and worked at the New York Plaza hotel as a VIP manager – taking care of Hollywood stars and royalty. It was a very exciting time but ultimately quite a shallow lifestyle.

Then a friend invited me to go to Bali and spontaneously I decided to go – it really did feel like fate. I immediately felt a very strong connection to Asia, I was very attracted to the lifestyle and the nature. I married a New Zealander and had two daughters

How did you get into yoga and wellness?

My children suffered from asthma, so I started getting into nutrition, alternative medicines and yoga. I was born with scoliosis, and playing tennis made it worse. After having my daughters I was in such pain – back and hip pain – that I couldn’t sit or stand comfortably. A friend invited me to go on a week’s yoga retreat and I realised this was the answer for me – I needed to reform my body. It was a long and painful journey but I also discovered the spiritual practise, meditation and chanting.

What’s it been like returning to Austria after so many years away?

It is very, very different to Bali – yet on the human level it’s the same. I did have mixed feelings coming to Vienna and I felt like some difficult experiences were being thrown at me as an initiation. My business partner still runs our yoga and wellness agency in Bali – which coordinates yoga teachers and alternative therapists.

Starting a business in Vienna has been relatively straightforward, the Economic Chambers (Wirtschaftskammer) has been very supportive. They even run courses on how to start a business – the Gründer Service. Now I just have to have faith that it will work. The costs of renting the space and paying the teachers are high but our team is exceptionally wonderful and I feel so blessed to work with them. I envision Bali Yoga Wien to be like a beehive, very busy, with people flowing in and out, providing the nectar that nourishes them.

What do you want to achieve with your business?

Creating a community is a really important aspect of it. We live in a world of isolation, addiction, loneliness and stress. It’s the connections with each other, it’s through helping each other and looking for less selfish ways to live that we will survive.

This is something I learnt in Bali, which is a less individualistic culture. There is no word in Balinese for privacy, people don’t close doors, and they are never alone. I want to be able to teach yoga in a way that goes beyond the asana, the physical postures. I also teach meditation programmes for people struggling with addiction, and long term I’d love to have a yoga cafe with in-house therapists.

What do you enjoy about being back in Vienna?

I like the climate here. I really enjoy experiencing the four seasons, and I don’t mind the cold. I also love how clean Vienna, and Austria is. The water from the tap is amazing, and the crime rate is very low. People take care of the environment here, and there isn’t a lot of poverty or homelessness. Also, there really isn’t a lot of traffic in Vienna – not compared to Bangkok or Bali.


The Bali Yoga Wien studio. 


Bali Yoga Wien is at Gußhausstraße 2, 1040 Vienna.

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Reader question: How can foreign doctors practise medicine in Austria?

If you are a doctor moving to Austria, there are a few legal requirements you need to follow before starting your medical practice. Here is what you should know.

Reader question: How can foreign doctors practise medicine in Austria?

Medical doctors are in high demand all over the world, especially as the coronavirus pandemic showed us how much we are short-staffed in the health sector.

In Austria, it’s no different, and the federal government has already announced several measures to attract people to its health sector in the future.

READ ALSO: More pay and longer holidays: How Austria hopes to attract 75,000 new nurses

Among the measures are changes to its Red-White-Red residence permits, those that, for example, allow workers, including in shortage occupations, to immigrate to Austria on a work visa.

Things will get easier for many IT employees, engineers, and tourist sector workers, but in some sectors, including the health one, there are a few more hurdles before starting working.

READ ALSO: How Austria is making it easier for non-EU workers to get residence permits

When it comes to medical activities, even European citizens who already have a right to live and work in Austria might need to go through a process to get their education certified and valid to start a medical practice in the country.

The process will depend primarily on where your training has taken place and what type of medical activity you intend on doing. All details can be found on the Austrian Medical Association (Österreische Ärztekammer).

General requirements for medical practice

In order to take up a medical practice in Austria, every physician (doctor, specialist, or general practitioner) needs to register with the Ärztekammer and meet the general legal requirements.

These include having full legal capacity concerning professional practice, good character and reputation required for fulfilling professional duties, fitness to practice needed for completing professional responsibilities, sufficient knowledge of the German language and legal residence giving access to the labour market.

READ ALSO: Everything foreigners need to know about the Austrian healthcare system

There are also specific requirements that need to be met depending on where your training took place.

Training took place within the EEA or in Switzerland

In this case, the process tends to be a bit easier, and you need to provide evidence of your basic medical training and any specific or specialist training you might have. For that, a diploma for medical study issued by an EEA member state of Switzerland will work.

You can check whether your documents are eligible for automatic recognition in Austria by emailing the Austrian Medical Association at [email protected].

Medical training outside the EEA (but recognised)

If you have had medical training outside of the EEA or Switzerland, but your training has been recognised by one of these states, the rules are also a bit different. You must show evidence of the medical activity and proof of its recognition.

Additionally, you must be authorised to independent medical practice in the country that recognised your education and has at least three years of actual and lawful professional experience in that country to have your training recognised through a non-automatic recognition of third country diplomas process.

You need to contact the International Affairs Team of the Austrian Medical Association ([email protected]) to get more information.

Medical training done in a third country

If you have completed your medical training in a third country and do not fulfil the requirements for a non-automatic recognition (above), you must first have your university degree recognised as equivalent by an Austrian university.

This process is known as Nostrifizierung.

In Austria, the Nostrifizierung procedure is done by the medical universities (Vienna, Graz or Innsbruck) with similar processes. In Vienna, you need to submit an application form, an education history for the comparison between the Curriculum taken and the one offered in Austria, and a possible “random test”.

Among the documents to be submitted in the application process is proof that you have a B2 level of German, a document from the Ärztekammer that you are required to go through the Nostrifizierung process and a confirmation that you paid the €150 fee. You can find a list of all documents you’ll need to submit here.

READ ALSO: Six things to know about visiting a doctor in Austria

The universities will then “investigate” if your education is equivalent to the one offered in Austria. The first step is a curriculum comparison (checking for both content and hours of classes), but they may also carry out a “random test” in some cases.

The test will be in German, but the participants selected will be allowed to use a language dictionary – the test results are only a part of the nostrification process and help the universities assess if the candidate’s training is equivalent to an Austrian one.

After you go through the recognition processes (Nostrifizierung), you can register with the Austrian Medical Chamber.

Registration with the Austrian Medical Association

Before starting medical practice in Austria, every person needs to register with the Austrian Medical Chamber. For this, they will need to send documents including proof of nationality, proof of lawful residence, a certificate of good standing from countries where they have practised medicine for more than six months within the last five years, a criminal record certificate, medical certificate (confirming physical and mental fitness to practice the medical profession) and more.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How the Austrian healthcare system works

The application for registration has to be filed with the Austrian Medical Chamber.

The Medical Chamber of the respective province where you plan to exercise the medical profession is available to further assist with this. You can arrange a meeting with them to clarify general questions about the process.

Here you can find more information.