GUESTS TALK: From Austria with (Ukrainian) love

I can’t explain why I chose Austria to feature in my next GUESTS TALK blog post. Maybe because I know many people who stay there. Maybe because my dad wanted me to study there before we decided on Canada. Maybe because I was mesmerized by all the photos of Austria in my Instagram feed. Anyways, here it is. Or rather, here they are. Meet Liana, Lina and Lena ( I know, what a coincidence! 😅) – three Ukrainian girls who, for various reasons, at some point of their lives moved to Austria. And they don’t seem to regret it at all.

I asked each of them 7 identical questions. They gave me no identical, but equally exciting answers.

 

Lina is 17 y/o. She was born in Ukraine, but moved to Salzburg, Austria, when she was 11 to study in the American school. She is an active Instagram user.

 

лина 1.png

 

  1. WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY DOING IN AUSTRIA?

Right now, I live in Vienna and study German.

 

  1. IF YOU WERE TO DESCRIBE AUSTRIA IN 4 ADJECTIVES, WHAT WOULD THEY BE?

–         Safe

–         Beautiful

–         Modern

–         High quality of life (let’s pretend it’s an adjective 😄)

 

  1. WHAT WAS YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE WHEN COMING TO AUSTRIA, IF ANY?

To be honest, I didn’t experience that many challenges when I moved in here. I wasn’t homesick. I liked everything about my new school. I liked the country. But I noticed that with time it became harder to leave my homeland because of my family and friends who stay there.

 

  1. DO YOU GET ALONG WITH THE LOCALS? HOW DO YOU LIKE THEM?

The mentality is certainly different! But I kinda got used to it after 5 years. Now I find that people in Austria are very nice.

 

лина 2.png

 

  1. WERE THERE ANY SURPRISES? ANYTHING YOU DIDN’T EXPECT?

Yes! School-wise. I expected my American school to be like in one of these high school movies, but it turned out to be different.

 

  1. NAME 3 THINGS YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST DO / SEE IF YOU ARE IN VIENNA.

The first thing on your list would be St. Stephen’s Cathedral and taking a walk down the Main Street.  Then you should have a lunch with a view (in a Do&Co hotel, for example). And afterwards, I would advise you to visit the palace and gardens of Schonbrunn.

 

  1. DO YOU THINK YOU WOULD LIKE TO STAY THERE EVENTUALLY? AND WHY?

Definitely. I’m in love with Vienna. I want to continue my studies here and settle down in Austria. The quality of life here is amazing! And when you think of all the possibilities… It is totally worth it!

 

 

Lena is 21 y/o. She is a lover of foreign languages, traveling, music and sports. Following her aspirations, she got a Ukrainian BA in German Studies. Thanks to a few exchange programs and scholarships, she managed to travel around Europe and dive into different cultures. Currently, Lena is a Tourism Management student in Salzburg, Austria.

 

лена 2.png

 

  1. WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY DOING IN AUSTRIA?

I am in the 2nd semester, getting a BA degree at the Applied University of Salzburg. The program is an occupational study, which means that you are obligated to find a job on your own in your field of study. So, during the first half a year I was working as a receptionist and commis (which means like a young waiter) at the oldest restaurant of Europe, located in Salzburg. Now I am working in the hotel, serving the guests in the bar and in the restaurant. My stay in a new land is definitely a grand experience with a great number of challenges, but that is undoubtedly a source of unforgettable memories and valuable knowledge for me.

 

  1. IF YOU WERE TO DESCRIBE AUSTRIA IN 4 ADJECTIVES, WHAT WOULD THEY BE?

I`ll describe Austria it in 4 phrases:

– High quality of life

– Beautiful nature

– A measured way of life

– The land is aware of its worth

 

  1. WHAT WAS YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE WHEN COMING TO AUSTRIA, IF ANY?

The first one was to pass the entrance examination and the entire procedure of collecting documents while passing exams at my University in Odessa, and working, and having absolutely no free time. Then I learnt that I had successfully entered the university in Austria. At this time, I didn’t really understand that it was only the start of difficulties.

After coming to Austria, I turned out to be in a native German speaking group at University, with a small remark „in a native AUSTRIAN DIALECT speaking group“, which is an absolutely different language from what I studied in Ukraine. Moreover, most students in my group have already studied before at least the fundamentals of accounting, business administration and economics, which were new subjects for me, who always avoided dealing with numbers.

The next stage was to earn the respect at work, where I was very shy at first and afraid of standing up for myself when needed. To tell the truth, I am constantly facing challenges here, but, as known, they make us stronger 🙂

 

  1. DO YOU GET ALONG WITH THE LOCALS? HOW DO YOU LIKE THEM?

Generally, I find Ukrainians friendlier, more open and willing to help. I felt it at my first job, when I asked somebody to help me and heard in response that it was my task and, therefore, my problem.

During these 7 months, I met a lot of different people, among my group mates and colleagues there are many good-natured people, who you can truly rely on. But you need to look closely. My mistake was to think that if I am open to people, the people are open to me. Unfortunately, it is not always true, and local people always think of you as a foreigner. They can wonder how you managed to get the second education and speak 5 languages at the age 21, but then you don`t understand something they say, respond in a dialect, and already look like a silly person to them.

 

лена 1.png

 

  1. WERE THERE ANY SURPRISES? ANYTHING YOU DIDN’T EXPECT?

It was surely unexpected for me to be almost the only foreigner in a group, to be precise – there are two of us among 48 students, a girl from Czech and myself. I expected to have an international group, to meet someone in my group speaking my native language. It was a surprise.

 

  1. NAME 3 THINGS YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST DO / SEE IF YOU ARE IN SALZBURG.

If you are in Salzburg, you must:

spend a day in the city centre (visit the castle, hike the mountains (there are 3 of them) and then relax with a cup of coffee in the Mirabell Garden, which is nowadays a popular wedding place)

try local specialties. It can be Salzburger Nockerl, Austrian Strudel or Sachertorte. For sure, try original Mozartkugeln, chocolates which are famous all over the world.

visit surroundings. There is a great number of places with beautiful nature around Salzburg in 1-2 hours’ drive by car. My personal recommendation would be Hallstatt, a tiny but incredibly beautiful village on the lake, surrounded by mountains.

 

  1. DO YOU THINK YOU WOULD LIKE TO STAY THERE EVENTUALLY? AND WHY?

It`s hard to say. Right now, I am less sure than I was half a year ago, when I was at home. Only time will show 🙂

 

 

Liana is a modern version of Mary Poppins. Or at least that’s what she likes to call herself 😉 A successful 25 y/o Instagram blogger, Liana loves travelling and is always up to an adventure. She gave up her linguistic university studies in Ukraine to go to Germany following a well-known au pair program (note from the author: au pair allows a person to stay in a foreign country while staying in and working for a local host family).

 

лиана 2.png

 

  1. WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY DOING IN AUSTRIA?

The same as I did in Germany – work as a part of au pair program.

 

  1. IF YOU WERE TO DESCRIBE AUSTRIA IN 4 ADJECTIVES, WHAT WOULD THEY BE?

 

–         Aristocratic

–         Musical

–         Noble

–         Perfect (to a frightening extent)

 

  1. WHAT WAS YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE WHEN COMING TO AUSTRIA, IF ANY?

Living in a tiny village with just 6k people and commuting an hour to Vienna.

 

  1. DO YOU GET ALONG WITH THE LOCALS? HOW DO YOU LIKE THEM?

Austrians are very decent people who are full of self-love and who enjoy calmness. Usually they are polite and friendly, but often times, due to the norms, not their heart will.

 

лиана 1.png

 

  1. WERE THERE ANY SURPRISES? ANYTHING YOU DIDN’T EXPECT?

Language differences! Or dialects rather. German German and Austrian German have many words that differ. This came as a surprise.

 

  1. NAME 3 THINGS YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST DO / SEE IF YOU ARE IN VIENNA.

I’d be trivial. Try their famous Sachertorte cake (though, honestly, I didn’t like it much). Have a long walk around the city centre. And take a classic photo of a horse carriage!

 

  1. DO YOU THINK YOU WOULD LIKE TO STAY THERE EVENTUALLY? AND WHY?

I will go on living in Vienna if I have a chance. But what matters a lot to me is my future soulmate’s desired destination. I haven’t found one yet, but I’m just saying – I’d follow him wherever he wishes to go. Vienna would be a perfect alternative though 😝

 

 

I cannot thank enough 🙏🏻 these three wonderful ladies for giving me this amazing opportunity to interview them and have their experience shared with you guys! Lena, Lina, Liana, I wish you all the best. In Austria or elsewhere ❤️

p.s. All photo credits go to the interviewees’ Instagram accounts. If you want to find out more about them and scroll through their wonderful galleries, please follow the links that are attached to their names 😉

 

See ya, my curious friends 👋🏽

 

Iryna Zheliasko

 

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