Vienna, Austria Report of what it's like to live there - 01/11/08
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?
This is our first expat experience.
2. How long have you lived here?
About 2.5 years.
3. Travel time and best routes to this city from Europe or the US:
Vienna to Washington DC about 10 hours direct.
4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?
Author is in Vienna for her spouse's job.
Housing, Groceries & Food:
1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?
There's a mix of housing compounds, single homes, and downtown apartments at very convenient distance from work/downtown.
2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?
All products are available - you just have to get used to the brands. The cost is higher than in the U.S.
3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?
I can't think of anything I would like to ship.
4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?
McDonalds, Burger King, KFC, Pizza Hut. Although the local cuisine is much better.
1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?
Via Austrian Mail.
2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?
High. I didn't need domestic help.
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?
ATMs are everywhere and having a Maestro local debit card is the best since it's accepted in all stores.
4. What English-language religious services are available locally?
I know at least one Catholic church that has Sunday service in English.
5. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?
Some international newspapers are available in English and there is AFN.
6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?
Many Austrians speak English and they are happy to practice it. That was not really helpful for me because I couldn't practice my German.
7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?
I don't think there would be any.
1. Do you drive on the right hand side of the road or the left?
Right hand side, same as the U.S.
2. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?
Public transportation in Vienna is wonderful. Buses, trams, and subways are all syncronized and punctual. Trains are good too. You don't really need to own a vehicle in Vienna unless you plan on traveling around the country/Europe a lot. Prices are affordable, epecially if you get a monthly/annual ticket for public transportation in the city. Low-cost airlines are available, too.
3. 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?
Most American-made vehicles don't meet the Austrian requirements; some people have to modify them for that purpose. It is definitely not recommended to bring big vehicles (trucks, SUVs).
Phone & Internet:
1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?
ADSL and cable available. Cost up to 50 Euro/month.
2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?
There are very attractive offers from several cell phone services providers.
3. What is the best way to make phone calls back home?
I've used a local voice-over-IP service and I've been very happy with it.
1. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?
At high quality and high prices.
Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:
1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?
2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?
Smart casual at work and casual in public.
Health & Safety:
1. Pollution index (Good, Moderate, Unhealthy, or Very Unhealthy)?
Good, the Austrian take care of their environment.
2. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.
No, Vienna is a safe place.
3. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?
No health concerns. High quality medical care.
4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?
Four seasons but there is a lot of rain and it can get pretty windy too.
Schools & Children:
1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?
Available, but I have no experience with them.
2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?
3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?
Plenty are available.
1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?
2. Morale among expats:
3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?
4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?
It is good for all families, singles and couples. Maybe less for singles.
5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?
I think so, Austrians have no problem with people of other orientation.
6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?
None that I know of.
7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?
There are many restaurants, clubs, and outdoor sitting areas in the summer. Vienna is a vivid city. Austria is a country with a beautiful scenery so traveling is always a fun experience.
8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?
I have never been able to realize what that item could be.
9. Can you save money?
Not really, Austria is an expensive country.
Words of Wisdom:
1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?
2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:
3. But don't forget your:
4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?
5. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?
6. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:
7. Do you have any other comments?
I love Vienna and Austria. Its location gives you the opportunity to travel a lot around Europe.