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An Expat Talks about Living in Austin, Texas

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Austin

How long have you lived there?

7 years

What activities, clubs and organizations would you recommend to newcomers to help them meet others?

Depends on what you want. You want to bike around town, greenbelt parks, and lakes and river, you got it. Sports activities (minor league hockey, baseball), we got it. We're 1 hour from San Antonio, 2 from Houston, and 2-1/2 from Dallas. They have a flower club at Zilker Gardens, they have a few small art museums, a lot of bars that host live music where national musicians have gotten their start (Stevie Ray Vaughn, Ian Moore, Don Walser, Storyville, and more).

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In terms of religious, racial, economic and cultural diversity, are the people of this city or town diverse? Are they accepting of differences? Describe.

Extremely diverse. Austin is very laid back. We have Russian, French, Mexican, German, Indian, Chinese, Vietnamese, Middle East (Iraq, Iran, etc). We have Baptists, Lutherans (who still hold Mass in German), Roman Catholics, Protestants, hippies, slackers, college students, lesbians, gays, cross-dressers, politicians, et al. We got it all. People come here because they can be who they want to be and not have to hide it or make excuses. The other problem is with all the people moving here who are mostly mainstream, the demographics have become slightly more conservative than what it used to be. People's motto around here was "Live and let be".

What are the main industries in this city? What types of career opportunities commonly exist? How do most people find new jobs?

Hi-tech is the leading industry in this area, but there are all kinds of jobs here. State government and the University of Texas are the next largest set of employers here in town. Most people find new jobs through word of mouth and by searching online since we are a high-tech community.

In general, what are peoples' priorities in this city? For example, do lives revolve around work, family, socializing, sports, etc.?

The city itself is very relaxed. There are a lot of active people biking and running all the time. We have been called the San Francisco of the Southwest. Austin traditionally has been a very liberal town, kind of like Berkeley, California. People are very laid back. The city revolves around the tech industry a lot but people revolve around the relaxing/social scene. A lot of live music and other things to do. There are no pretensions here to being a city of culture. There's a bumper sticker that describes Austin and its attitude, "Keep Austin Weird". Most places, if I goto work dressed in khaki pants and polo shirt, I'm over-dressed. Watch the movie 'Slackers' and you will see an accurate portrayal of Austin.

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If a friend of yours was thinking of moving to this city or town from far away, what other advice would you give them.

Stay away! Very far away! We already have too many people attracted here due to the Quality of Life. :) That's what attracts people to Austin. We have lakes, rivers, hills, running and bike paths, etc. I moved here to work for Dell. I had never stopped in Austin, only driven thru it on the way to other places. Now, I have no plans to move anyplace else in Texas. Forget Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio. Austin fits me just fine!

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