Adjusting to Vienna's culture

local culture in Vienna
Updated 2023-07-30 13:21

Moving to a foreign place with a distinct culture, such as Vienna, brings both excitement and challenges. Upon arrival, you will be immersed in a flurry of new experiences that can initially be overwhelming and potentially lead to cultural shock.

What you have to understand is that this is all part of a reasonable adjustment process. So, you should allow yourself to adjust at your own pace and don't rush too much.

Some values, traditions, and social norms in Vienna will be different from your home country. Try to take them in, and slowly, you will find yourself automatically adapting once you've started your everyday life in Vienna. And once you have settled in, and have overcome the homesickness of the first days, you can fully embrace the beauty of the city.

Exploring Vienna

To get a feel of the city, take a few days to explore Vienna, if you have not done so before. You can either wander through the beautiful inner districts, take a walk on the beautiful canal, the so-called “Donaukanal” where you can find many open-air restaurants, bars and clubs during summer or you simply take the first ride on tram number one, which will take you from “Karlsplatz” with its church to the “Prater”, the world-known funfair with one of the landmarks of the town, the “Wiener Riesenrad”, the Viennese Ferris wheel. On this ride, you will pass by the most significant sights of the city, for example, the national art and historical museum, the parliament, the university, several theatres and also the Viennese town hall.

There are so many things to do, and sights to explore in Vienna, that you won't even have time to be homesick or get bored for a minute.

The lifestyle in Vienna

The beauty of Vienna lies in its absolute calmness. There is simply no rush. Viennese people take everything slowly. And this really means everything.

You will see that people in Vienna spend hours sitting in one of the traditional cafés for hours like the world-famous writers used to.

The downside of the slow Viennese life is that formalities in Vienna can be plodding.

People who work in public administration seem to have all the time in the world, which means it will require you to stay calm and patient.

Socializing in Vienna

Another very positive thing about Vienna and its people is that they are pretty open-minded and helpful. Just ask for help when you need it!

Depending on where you are from, you might experience a language barrier, however. While Vienna is a city where many people have good English language skills, it's worth noting that language barriers may still arise, especially with older generations. To make your experience smoother, it is advisable to familiarise yourself with a few essential words in German. This will not only help you navigate daily interactions but also demonstrate your effort and goodwill, potentially earning you extra points in building rapport with others.

Always keep in mind that adjusting to new surroundings will take some time and effort. The best way to do that in Vienna is to lean back, sit down, have a nice cup of coffee and take everything in for a second. Watch people, not in a creepy way, of course, try and get a sense about how they live their lives here and you will very soon find yourself falling for this city for sure!

If, on the other hand, you like to be active: There are many cultural, sporting and nature-related group activities and offers in Vienna. This way you can pursue your hobby or discover a new one, such as climbing, hiking or playing an instrument, and at the same time get to know many people from Vienna. Friendships are also often made in German courses.

And once you've made some friends, you are going to feel right at home within no time! Developing new friendships and connections in Vienna is not as hard as it might seem.

Useful links:

The City of Vienna (in many languages)

Stadt Wien Portal – News, information and activities

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