Friday, August 24, 2012

Preparation Part 2: Housing

I recently learned that my Austrian Residency Permit was approved and now all I need to do is go to Austria, register with the authorities and pick up my permit. This all sounds very easy, but based on stories I've heard, it could turn into a nightmare. I'll see when I get there!

In the meantime, I had to find housing in Austria. I plan on living in the small village where my schools are located, but unfortunately, this makes it difficult to find housing on my own. I contacted my teachers and asked them for help. The teacher at my main school told me that he knew of an apartment where a former TA lived, but would not know until September if it was free. One of the other schools is a tourism school, and have students coming from all over the country, even adults, so they have a list of housing in the area. I was happy to get the list, but then I saw that only phone numbers were provided. I can speak German, but it's not great, and the prospect of having to call a stranger and speak to them in Germany AND understand them was terrifying.

My way of coping when having to present in German is to write down everything I want to say and refer to it. I tried this before calling potential landlords/ladies, but because speech is so unpredictable, it was harder to use my "script" as I found out. I had my script ready, a phone card and had worked myself up to call. The first lady I called told me that the apartment was already taken. Or I think that's what she said. I had trouble understanding her. The second one I called more promising. I could sort of understand her and the apartment seemed to be free. Unfortunately, I ran out of script and couldn't think of anything to say. Finally, she asked where I was from and when I told her the USA, she said she had someone there that could speak English. She put her granddaughter on the phone and her granddaughter gave me her email address. I asked all my questions to the granddaughter and called the landlady one more time to confirm about having a contract when I get there. Luckily, she seems very nice and repeated herself several times and made sure I understood. I was also told by the secretary of the school that she is a "very nice old lady" and so far it seems that way.

I finally saw pictures of the apartment recently:

The sink.

The shower.

The very European toilet.

The "sitting/living" room.

The bed and wardrobe.

The kitchen. Including a microwave, which is not very European.

The view from my window.

One more view from the window.

It's a studio apartment and looks very cute and I think it will be very nice. I think I really lucked out! I'm still a little nervous, and probably will be until I get there and meet the landlady and granddaughter in person and see the place. Also, apparently I can see the Alps from my window?! And the granddaughter told me she would teach me how to ski.

The village, Bischofshofen, looks beautiful and very Austrian. I'm a little nervous about living in a small village, but I think I will be OK. I'm glad I decided not to live in Salzburg, which is about an hour by train, as apparently it's very hard to find housing there, plus I think I will experience Austrian culture a little more in B'hofen. 

Now all I have to do is pack, save money, panic and panic some more. I can not believe I will be gone for 9 months or longer. It still doesn't feel real!


  1. that reminds me a lot of my apartments in germany and/or austria!

    congrats on your eta assignment! applying for and being awarded a fulbright grant is such an accomplishment and i hope you're very proud of yourself. you are in for quite a ride.... austria is the most beautiful country on the earth. enjoy it!

    1. Yeah, I think it looks very cute and Austrian!

      And thanks! I'm so excited to finally go teach English in Austria. It's my third time to apply, and I worked so hard to get a position. Austria, particularly the area where I'll be living, looks amazingly beautiful!

      I also wanted to say that I think I read your whole blog, especially all the parts about Austria. And your blog makes me want to visit Poland.

  2. Your apartment is sooo cute. I think you did very well. I can't believe you are leaving in three weeks!!!!!

  3. i am a new follower of yours and this is super special to me because i am currently in the process of applying for the fulbright eta grant. :) i was wondering, may i email you at some point with questions? i am really excited to follow your blog and read ALL of your posts. this is the best thing i have found!

    1. Good luck! Which country are you applying to?

      And yes, I'm willing to answer (to the best of my ability!) any questions you may have! I've applied many times for Fulbright, so I have a lot of experience.

  4. Your apartment looks really nice!! You definitely found a great place. I like how you wrote "all I have to do is pack, save money, panic and panic some more." That is basically what I'm doing too haha.