Living in Salzburg

You are an expatriate living in Salzburg, or you used to  work and live in Salzburg.

Share your expat experience!

How would you describe life in Salzburg?

Has it been complicated to settle down, to find a job, and an accomodation? 

Is it complicated to make friends in Salzburg?

What would you recommend to people who would like to live in Salzburg?

Thanks in advance for your participation

As an immigrant, which I am if you look at this from Austria's point of view, I can happily give you a text on my experiences.

I have lived here now for almost three years. I first came here originally for three months, to assist my now landlady in teaching her children and assisting her with her Pension. It was a means of recovering from a broken love affair. A breath of fresh air, some time to breathe and recover.

I found myself living in a very provincial area on the outskirts of Salzburg. Beautiful, but good lord, everywhere closes at lunchtime on Saturday and that is it until Monday morning. That includes many bars, coffee shops and you're stuffed if you need to buy a postage stamp or speak with a person at the bank. I remember walking into town one Sunday, and there was absolutely no body around. I seriously thought I had died and I remember the feeling of complete desolation of loneliness that stalked me for the first few months. It was me, books and loneliness would be sitting right by me, with a stupid fat grin on it's face and gnawing away at me like a rat. Not to mention it was dreary November, grey, dull! I do not think I will ever forget that day.

I threw myself into my work, my landlady was my saving grace, she arranged for me to go to WIFI to study a course in German. I went two nights a week, for 12 weeks, and I began to meet people. In doing this, I began to feel moire settled. So I worked from early in the morning, taught the children when they returned from school, then I would be finished around 3pm and I would then take the train into Salzburg, attend my course and have a glass of wine afterwards. I met wonderful people there and I began to have a life. I then met a teacher from my school, an American lady who was asking me about my job, I realised how unfullfilled I was, but because of my misery about my very broken love affair, I had failed to recognise that I was unhappy in my work. I had not plucked my eyebrows for months, not shaved my legs. I had convinced myself that I was experimenting to see how hairy I could get, when the truth of the matter was that I had lost all sense of who I was. She encouraged me to write to her boss with my CV and I found myself at the doors of his school, where he interviewed me and two months later, I found myself staring at a contract.

This job gave me some perspective, it enabled me to work with international students, continue learning German, (which was something I enjoyed and probably kept me in the country) and meet people. Now my daily work consists of being at my desk with previous nights homework, marking, and assisting my boarding students with all their needs pastorally. I work until late at night, because I love it that much. It perked me up, I left my job with my landlady who supported me 100% although I continue to rent an apartment from her.

I find comparing Austria, to the UK and the US not the best way to handle my living here, because they are very different. I lived in NY and England and those two places are very much different from here. But of course,being human, I do compare.

Here, the way of life is slower and I have got used to it. Less noise, less traffic, I can cope that the shops close at lunchtime and at noon on Saturday. I've learned to live with it. I love the public transport system, which is clean, affordable and pumctual. I can even forgive the odd late train. Especially when the ticket checker is so handsome I want to drag him home with me immediately... (Grins wickedly)

I love the way I have my bank managers email address! And I can write him and ask him for an overdraft and he writes me back and says 'Kein problem' That would never happen in the UK and I love very much the honour system here. That you try before you buy, such as when I was choosing a dinner service, the lady suggested I take a setting home with me to see if the design co-ordinated with my home before I committed to buying.

The healthcare is fabulous, I have never enjoyed the dentist so much in my life. I like how you receive copies of your x-rays, just in case you need to go to another hospital, you just hand them over. Never in the UK, it can take up to six weeks, 58 phone calls and dealing with rottweiler doctor's receptionists. to get a letter from your doctor. Fabulous, I love it...

I do find where I live, on a downside, that the locals can be very insular, but I put that down to the mountains and the closeness of families. They don't really need anybody else and not many people 'pop round for a cuppa' like at home in England. The mountains protect the people and I really do feel like a foreigner where I live. Although I quite like being known as a foreigner. For those that do not know me, I am locally known as 'that English woman who works at the American School' Which causes me to smile in amusement.

Austrian people have a great sense of humour and they do like the Brits. They are fascinated with the Monarchy, our cups of tea and are highly amused with our Christmas Crackers, paper hats and Santa coming down the chimney. They think we're all crazy and they do enjoy the Brit's dry, satirical sense of humour. However, also some where I live, can be incredibly stoic and reserved, but again, I see that as a self protection thing, where I live a foreigner is rare... (So taking said devilishly handsome ticket checker with sparkly eyes and dash of arrogance home with me is completely out of the question, can you imagine the talk? I have to marry a solid AUSTRIAN man and live in the mountains and herd goats or something and take up knitting scarves)

Social etiquette? Looking people in the eyes when clinking glasses. Being a Brit, we clink, and can't wait for the stuff to crash down our throats, the rude people that we are. Here it is considered polite to have eye contact with the person you are raising a glass with. I get that, I have learned it, my friends back home, clearly think I should be certified when I make them adopt this lovely trait.

Austrians, while hard working, are not stressed out like the Brits and the Americans, work of course is important, but they ensure they have their breaks. 14 public holidays a year, although the UK has nine, and the Yanks, they expect everybody to be at their desks at the crack of dawn and only two weeks annual leave... I love my three months off over the summer...

There is a degree of segregation here, in my area, with the Turkish community. They very much keep themselves to themselves, because well, the Austrians are not always open to embracing people, and the Turkish people are really very aware of this, and maintain their own communities, so my local town is very split in that sense.

GOOD day i am very happy reading from u . I am a Cameroonian residing in Cameroon i have interest in studying in salzburg for the forthcoming academic year 2010.If u are still in Austria then i pray that u will be of help to me.For  better corresponding my email is javiola2006[at] bless with ideas.

[at] Sommer106: What a beautiful, informative and entertaining post. Thank you.

I experienced Austria/ Salzburg as a fairytale looking country/ city, with "political correct"/ diplomatic people.
Non-white foreigners and gays can experience difficulties as the average Austrian is not very openminded.
But they have this sweet side, that once they start to know you, they let you in.

I am not a smoker nor a drinker, but they have this double moral: smoking pot is a huge crime, but drinking your problems away is accepted. 

I lived about a year near Salzburg (and I still visit Austria regularly) and I loved the fresh air, nature, pure tap water...
People are connected with the nature and everything is well organised: infrastructure, public transport, housing. Well organised... in an extend that it can be sometimes mentally suffocating.

The summers and winters are unbelievably beautiful.  But as a sun-lover I preferred sunnier, more tropical places to live.

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