From England to Austria
by Zoe Collard - Graduate Applications Engineer
Almost immediately after finishing University last summer I joined the TGW office in the UK and shortly after that I had moved to Austria for 6 months as part of my training plan. These were big changes for me but the decision to join TGW and move to Austria for half a year was easy. It was an opportunity I couldn’t refuse – the chance to work abroad, experience different cultures and meet new people, all while getting training from the company’s experts.
I was very nervous before I arrived but there was no reason to be - I was made to feel at home straight away by my new colleagues. I remember on my first weekend in Austria I had already eaten Schnitzel at a traditional Austrian restaurant, drank beer by the litre and danced on tables at the Volksfest (a small Oktoberfest-like festival they hold in Wels) – really embracing the Austrian culture!
The working atmosphere in Wels was perfect for learning. The first three months of my training were quite relaxed while I was still learning all the products and processes and there was always someone in the office who would be willing to answer my questions. I also had the chance to visit many of our sites in Austria and Germany with work colleagues which was a great experience!
I knew that while I was living in Austria I wanted to do as much travelling as possible. It was the perfect opportunity for me as there were so many great destinations I could reach from Wels in a matter of hours and there were plenty of other expatriates and colleagues who also wanted to travel.
I had the chance to visit many cities I’d always wanted to visit and some places I’d never heard of before. I loved the scenery and fresh air at the lakes and mountains in and around Austria. Some of my favourite destinations were Lake Königsee in South Germany which had such clear waters and the Grossglockner – the highest pass in the Austrian Alps.
I knew that I couldn’t live in Austria over the winter and not ski. Due to my lack of experience I could only go on the baby slopes but it was still a great day out with many hilarious tumbles and falls!
The hardest part for me was the language barrier outside of the TGW office where there aren’t so many people that speak fluent English. Even when I tried to communicate in German it was still very hard because of the Austrian dialect. There were times where I would try out my German at a shop, only for them to be so confused by what I was trying to say that they asked me to say it in English! My experience in Austria has definitely made me want to become fluent in a foreign language in the future.
Living in Austria was tough at times but it was an unforgettable experience and I hope that I will get the chance to visit again during my time at TGW.