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Life as a new expat in Vienna

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Life as a new expat in Vienna
Photo: Paul Gillingwater
22:30 CEST+02:00
Anastasia Gromontova is a student recently arrived from Ukraine. She writes about her experience as an expat in Vienna in her first year.

It seems almost unbelievable that a year has already passed since I first came to study in Austria.

Now I feel myself rather confident in a foreign atmosphere, but there were days when I just couldn’t become a part of a completely new world. I was a legal alien and at first Vienna didn’t seem to become the closest friend of mine.

The city showed its character at once clearly letting me know about the laws and obedience. Vienna met me with five multicolored dust bins in a small flat and this is how the words ‘garbage in Austria’ became my first Google request here.

I was confused, because there is no such a concept as ‘waste sorting’ in my home-country. Ukraine has lots of wonderful forests and green parks, however, citizens are not into ecology that much, while Austrians have an absolute passion for this topic.

Another thing I didn’t expect was the number of refugees and immigrants all around. I even made a little survey to know how many people of Viennese origin live in the capital.

And guess what? Only 5 out of 20 respondents turned out to be native citizens! I wasn’t actually prepared for such a diversity of nationalities. Every new day here is like an ethnology lesson, moreover - it’s for free!

Being an expat means to have an interest for a new place he or she lives in. Political, economic and social issues do have an influence on an immigrants’ position in the country, and that is why I try being as much more aware of all aspects of Austrian routine as possible.

And speaking about politics, of course I want the local authority to improve the conditions of international students in the EU.

Being an expat is also about accommodation. One cannot live in a new environment with his or her old habits. Changing yourself is a complicated challenge, but it is the price to be paid for a promising future.

We are learning how to integrate in an unknown culture and society, make a fresh start to have refreshed results and are always looking for a better life. Because first of all we are PEOPLE, not only expats.

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