9 reasons why moving to Austria could be the best decision you ever make

Are you thinking about moving to Austria?

Are you looking for adventure, and a completely different way of living?

Did you visit the country, love it immediately and felt as if this was the place you should be living yourself?

Did your place of employment offer you a job in Vienna, Graz, Salzburg, Linz or another Austrian city?

Are you bored with your current life, not too happy in the country you now live in and think you would be happier living elsewhere?

If any of these situations, or any other, are making you want to live in a different country, here are just a few reasons why moving to Austria could be the best decision you ever make.

After all, I am someone who has spent the last five years living in Austria and, let me just say, I made the right decision when I moved.

Moving to Austria will open up your horizons

If you feel as though you are stagnating where you currently live, moving to Austria is definitely a way to completely change your life.

When you do, you will learn all about a new culture (which is actually more different than you might expect), will probably be living around people that speak a different language than you, will be able to visit interesting and sometimes even educational places and will have a life far different than your current one.

Of course, moving anywhere abroad can be frustrating, annoying and sometimes stressful as you learn to adapt to a new country and a new culture.

It is a wonderful opportunity to challenge yourself though. Especially when you manage to successfully deal with Austria’s immigration department, figure out how to open an Austrian bank account or navigate your child’s entry into a new school system.

Once you have handled things like this, you will feel as though you can do anything.


Mozart busts in Austria

You will learn all about a new culture

Even if you live in another western country and decide to move to Austria, the Austrian culture will still be markedly different than your own.

The education system in Austria is different. The relaxed atmosphere of Vienna is much different than many other capital cities around the world. Austrians being outwardly grumpy and quite unfriendly, but remarkably nice when you get to know most of them, will challenge your beliefs and ways of doing things.

The history of the country is deep and rich and, to some extent in the last hundred years, quite turbulent. Yet fascinating to learn about.

Even much of the food is different in Austria than it may be in your own country (and, for me, quite a bit cheaper too).

Learning about a new culture allows you to see how other people live. How the way they do even the most simple things in Austria is often much different than the way you were taught may just surprise you.


Vienna’s Karlskirche

You will question your beliefs

Just because you were taught to do something one way, it does not mean it was a better way than another person in Austria was taught.

In fact, once you move to Austria, you might even find yourself questioning some of your own beliefs.

After all, who says the way you make your bed is better than someone in Austria makes theirs? (The two single duvets on most Austrian beds, are something I didn’t know existed until I moved here).

You may even learn about a different religion (more than half of Austrians are Catholic, but there are also a large number of Eastern Orthodox Christians and also Muslims in Austria) and will, hopefully, realize every religion is just as relevant and important as your own.

You and your children will become more intelligent

People that move overseas tend to end up more intelligent than most of those that do not. This happens to their children as well.

According to a recent study, studying or working abroad often makes people smarter. The study showed those who have been abroad also tended to be better problem solvers and to display more creativity.

Much of this is because you are not only learning about and learning to adapt to a new culture, but your experiences end up being much wider than they would have been if you had stayed back home.

You will very possibly also be meeting interesting people who have been to places and experienced things that you have not (yet!). Thus, opening up your mind to even greater possibilities.


You will learn a new language

If you decide moving to Austria, to a country with a different language than your own, sounds like fun, you will likely learn at least one new language — German — during your time here. (Unless, of course, you are from one of the five other countries where German is the official language, and then you won’t).

Of course, that does depend on how much German you will need to know in your job or during your studies, and how much effort you put into learning the language as well.

Austria can also be a frustrating country to learn a new language in. For instance, when I have a conversation in Vienna, as so many people speak English here, they often want to practice their English with me rather than answer the question I asked in German.

If you do persevere and attempt to learn German, however, it is an excellent way to learn about Austria, its culture and its people. It will also give you another skill should you eventually decide to move on.

You will realize travel is far more important than material possessions

So many of us nowadays get stuck in a cycle of buying more and more things. Things we do not need, often cannot afford and, at the end of the day, are not really important.

Once you decide moving to Austria is something you are interested in, however, when you get here you will likely quickly realize travel and learning about new cultures are more important than material possessions.

In fact, not six months after I had moved to Austria, and I was spending 30% of my salary traveling every month while living in a tiny and cheap studio apartment in Vienna.

Let’s face it, when it’s a quick plane ride to Germany, Switzerland, Italy or Spain, and you can take a 3-day trip there, why would you waste your money on a new skirt or the latest iPhone?


You will improve your social skills

Even if you have exceptional social skills already, you will still find moving to Austria can definitely challenge them.

I moved from Thailand to Austria a few years ago and, while you would think a country that is quite ‘exotic’ like Thailand would be more difficult to adapt to when it comes to social skills, I found (and still do find) Austria to be much more frustrating.

Social rules tend to be more rigid here, Austrians are overall more conservative than Thais, and things like someone’s title are much more important in Austria than they are in Thailand.

Austrians are also pretty terrible at small talk, and most are not particularly outgoing. At least when you meet them at first.

Making new friends and adapting your social skills to Austria’s norms then can be frustrating but, if you look at it as a challenge, also a lot of fun.

Don’t forget as well, there will be expats living in Austria that are the same nationality as you. That means there will always be people that will be willing to help you settle in, and that have experienced the same frustrations you might.

You will become a more interesting person

After living in five countries myself, and traveling to another 50 or so, I have met tens of thousands of people over the last 30 years that have lived and traveled all over the world. Just like me.

Without pretty much any exception, most of them have been far more interesting people than many of those I know from back home.

After all, when you have worked in an Austrian company, spent your holidays in a secluded cabin in the Austrian Alps or on a trip to Spain or the Netherlands, gone shopping for the day to Slovakia, or to a concert in the Czech Republic, your experiences are just going to be far broader than someone who has not.


Your life will never be the same again

I moved from the UK to the United States, and then from the United States to Thailand after an opportunity came up to teach English in Bangkok. Fourteen years later, with a few months in Malaysia in between, and I was still living in Bangkok.

From there, I moved to Austria, where I have now been living for five years.

For me, and for many others I met along the way, once I moved to America and began to experience new things, I became a completely different person than I was when I got there. A person who just would not fit back into the lifestyle I had when I used to live in the UK.

And nowadays, a person whose life in Austria is not the same as it was in Los Angeles or in Bangkok or in Kuala Lumpur, and a person who doesn’t really want it to be ever again.

In other words, think about moving to Austria and think about your life now.

If  you are ecstatically happy with your life the way it is, then moving abroad is probably not the right decision for you.

If you feel as though you are missing something with the life you have now, and you love to travel, meet new people and experience new things, then moving to Austria could be the missing piece you have always longed for.

Meanwhile, if you want a few more reasons why moving to Austria could be the best thing for you, this TEDx talk from Jessica Erickson, the Founder of Geekettes, is an interesting watch.


About Michelle Topham

I'm a journalist, and the founder of Oh My Vienna. I have been living in Vienna since 2016 as an immigrant, because 'expat' is just a fancy word that means exactly that.