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Expat Advice: Culture Shock in Vienna, Austria

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

Vienna

Did you receive any cross-cultural training for your move abroad? If yes, was it before or after the move?

No training was offered

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If they speak another language in your new country, do you speak the language? If yes, did you learn the language before you moved or while abroad? If no, are you planning to learn the language?

I didn't speak the language but I have travelled quite a bit and didn't fear the difficulty. I had also been to Vienna before so I kind of know what to expect.

Were you worried or concerned about culture shock before you moved abroad?

I had my family with me the first time which was about 4 years ago so I knew I would have a safety net so to speak. This time however, I am alone and its more difficult.

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How significant was the culture shock you experienced when you moved abroad?

This time I was very sad at first but I also had spent about 6 months in Abu Dhabi without family and that was much worse. Vienna has many cultural activities that one can take advantage of which I made a concerted effort to do.

Expats often talk about going through the "stages of culture shock." Examples include the honeymoon phase, the irritation-to-anger stage, the rejection of the culture stage, and the cultural adjustment phase. Do you feel like you went through these or any other stages as you settled into the new culture?

It is difficult to interact with Austrians on a personal basis. Like many cultures in Europe, they are quite closed to outsiders. They are not unfriendly but its difficult to get past the niceties and actually make friends.

What, if any, were some of the changes you noticed in yourself that might have been caused by culture shock? These might include things such as anger, depression, anxiety, increased eating or drinking, frustration, homesickness, etc.

Its hard sometimes to get motivated to do things like travel or eat out when you are alone. I think that leads to thoughts of depression and homesickness.

What are some things you appreciate most about the new culture?

Vienna is a great town with much to do. It is probably among the best cities in the world in which to live. Austrians are not necessarily difficult and English is spoken by virtually everyone now but closeness is still an issue.

What are the most challenging aspects of the new culture?

Being alone and finding friends who are of like ideas and interests. I am happily married and am not looking for romance but having close friends with which to do things is a challenge.

Did you "commit" any embarrassing or humorous cultural blunders? If you did and you'd like to share them, please do tell!

When first here I rode the Tram and wanted to stop. Not knowing what the red handle was for, I chose to pull it, thereby stopping the tram abruptly. The driver came back and scolded me in German. You get the idea.

Do you have any advice or thoughts about culture shock you would like to share?

It would nice to have a forum to meet other married and alone persons for mutual interests. Not sure where to find it but you should keep on trying.

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GeoBlue International Health InsuranceExpatriate Health Insurance

Get a quote for expat health insurance in Austria from our partner, GeoBlue.
Get a Quote

Get a quote for expat health insurance in Austria from our partner, GeoBlue.
Get a Quote Call  

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Join our Austria forum to meet other people living in Vienna, Austria.

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Help other expats and newcomers by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in Vienna.

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