Vienna, Austria Report of what it's like to live there - 03/19/14
Personal Experiences from Vienna, Austria
1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?
No - this is our fourth tour in Europe.
2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?
Dallas, Texas. So - Lufthansa (via Frankfurt) is the most direct way.
3. How long have you lived here?
4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?
U.S. Government .
Housing, Groceries & Food:
1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?
There's a wide variety of housing available - from downtown apartments to single family units at the edge of town. Commute times are minimal.
2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?
Some folks complain about the high price of groceries but I've found them to be pretty reasonable. Yes, it's a capital city and it can get expensive, but there are many grocery chains which offer good product choices and a wide range of cost. Your choice.
3. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?
Wide variety and equally wide range in cost. Take your pick.
4. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?
1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?
DPO - which is okay, but tends to run quite slow (2-3 weeks to get to the States).
2. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?
There are quite a few in the city, at a wide range of cost. Shop around. I understand there is a small gym in the basement of the Embassy, too.
3. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?
No problem at all, with credit or ATMs. Once in a while you'll find a shop that will only take cash.
4. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?
You can get by without any German, but life will be a LOT easier if you have some language.
5. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?
Yes, I'm afraid so. As convenient as Vienna is, it's still a very old city. That means lots of steps - old cobblestone streets - smaller elevators (where they have them) - etc. Anyone with mobility issues would likely find it challenging.
1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?
Yes, yes, yes -- and yes! Public transportation here is fantastic.
2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?
If you must have a car: go small.
Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:
1. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?
At work, suits & ties for the gents. More formal than the States, definitely.
Health & Safety:
1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.
Aside from common sense measures, you should be all right.
2. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?
3. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?
Four seasons - although summers can be very hot and humid.
1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?
The community is pretty large. I think morale here is a mixed bag: although quality of life is absolutely excellent, and people do enjoy it, work can be another matter.
2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?
Um...it's Vienna. The list is endless.
3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?
Good for everyone, I think.
4. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?
I believe yes.
5. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?
I haven't witnessed any problems first hand, but I gather there are some areas for concern.
6. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?
Too many to list.
7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?
After you've exhausted all the options in Vienna proper (museums/concerts/opera/ballet/restaurants/bars/etc.), venture further out for skiing, hiking and sightseeing in the countryside. After that, look beyond Austria's borders to all the lovely regional opportunities. You're ideally situated for all sorts of European journeys.
8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?
All sorts of cultural experiences (opera, ballet, etc.)...and regional travel.
9. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?
It's Vienna! And it consistently rates as one of the best places to live: cultural opportunities, travel options, green spaces, etc.
10. Can you save money?
Actually, I think you can. Not a lot, but still...
Words of Wisdom:
1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?
Perhaps...it would depend on the job.
2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:
...idea that because it's western Europe, it will be just like being back in the States. It's not.
3. But don't forget your:
History books, and a good English/German dictionary!
4. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city: