"Fairly local" in Austria
by Vitalii Shushura, Applications Engineer
It seems very easy to compare both countries, underline the differences between the Austrian and Ukrainian culture, refresh in the memory what was the biggest shock and voilà – the new article for the TGW blog is ready to be published! Last thing left – to open a Word file and transform the thoughts into a funny interesting story about my experience in Austria…
For me it was very challenging and it took me around half a year to write this text. But I realized one thing – nothing here seems new or shocking to me anymore! :-) After 3.5 years in Austria (2.5 years of education at the Fachhochschule Steyr and one year as Applications Engineer at TGW Mechanics) it is an inherent part of my life! “Fairly local” as it is sung in one of the nowadays songs.
Whenever people meet, you will hear “Servus” or “Grüß Gott” all around (no matter with which accent it is said – Ukrainian, British, Spanish or others), during the lunch time “Mahlzeit” will be wished as well as “Schönen Abend” (or “Bis Morgen”) before it is time to go home. And of course, we have learnt “Prost!” by heart with the first sip of tasty Austrian beer (not forgetting to say it while looking into each other’s eyes)! But which beer can be imagined without famous sausages? They are as loved as Wiener Schnitzel which is famous all over the world.
When you talk with people about Austria, the first thing coming to mind is Austrian nature – its mountains, lakes, rivers. People from various countries are dreaming about travelling around Austria and visiting its gems – Vienna, Hallstatt, Salzburg or any other city. But for us – we are missing them every time we go home to our country and tell our friends there how beautiful and breathtaking those landscapes are! How worthy it is to go to Austria from Ukraine or every other country – and see with your own eyes those unforgettable creatures of nature!
In my opinion Austrian people are very emotional when it comes to discussions about politics and sports. Whenever the conversation is coming to politics, we are taking a vivid participation in the discussions about different political issues, parties or bureaucracy (however, the complicated bureaucracy system is topic in each and every country – nobody is happy about it, no matter where you are). As far as it is influencing us – it is also part of our life.
If the conversation is leading to sports, I found out that we are ready to cheer for the Austrian football national team, which was especially visible last year during Euro 2016 – a lot of expats bought Austrian T-shirts and I am not an exception :-). But I have to admit that I know nothing about Austrian Bundesliga. The same for Austrians – they will rather follow English Premier League or German Bundesliga than Austrian top league. But when winter time is coming, there are no excuses – you MUST go skiing or snowboarding! I even do not know what is more popular – football or alpine skiing competitions. But once you can do both – you are getting closer to people. This year I decided to go skiing again after a five-year break and I had an amazing with my colleagues and friends.
Although I acquired a lot of experience and I feel like home here in Austria, I am not forgetting about my own roots. People in the office now know that Ukraine is not Russia, that there is Ukrainian language, that Ukrainian people are open-minded and sincere and that we have our own culture, traditions and habits. Such an international group of people within the company helps to learn constantly about other nations and countries (and not feeling like a “legal alien in New York” outside of your own country).
That is why I am sure that it is not just about me being “fairly local” in Austria, but about everybody having the same feeling regardless where they are and where they live.
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