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Have your say: What's been your experience speaking English in Austria?

Amanda Previdelli
Amanda Previdelli - [email protected]
Have your say: What's been your experience speaking English in Austria?
Learning German is hard work, but worth it (Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash)

It's not uncommon for immigrants who arrive in Austria without knowing any German to rely on their English skills to get by. But how much can you use it in daily life?


Austrians have a very high proficiency level in English, ranking second in Europe (after the Netherlands) and third in the world, according to the 2022 EF English Proficiency Index.

Doing well on international English exams is one thing, but actually wanting to speak the language on a day-to-day basis - or to those who are still not fluent in German - it's another thing entirely.

READ ALSO: In Detail: Just how good are Austrians at speaking English?

English is not spoken (or rarely spoken) in Austrian bureaucracy, including in its offices for immigration. Many readers suggest that immigrants find a German speaker to help them. 

When it comes to your Austrian friends, immigrants often say that those who do speak English may take some time to feel comfortable speaking the foreign language with you. But also it's not uncommon for locals to speak English with you to a certain extent - and then swap to German when they deem you have been in Austria "long enough".

Of course, these experiences vary. So we want to hear from you: what has been your experience speaking English with locals in Austria?

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Comments (1)

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Anonymous 2022/11/18 17:38
Worth mentioning that Article 8 of the Bundes-Verfassungsgesetz stipulates that German is the official language of Austria, which therefore explains why in authorities German is the official language used. While some case officers might speak English, the procedure will still be conducted in German. There are some exceptions for regional minority languages and sign language (Gebärdensprache).

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