From the tropical climate of Brazil to the alpine climate of Austria and from Brazilian Portuguese to Austrian German. Abrupt and welcome changes that make me grow every day in this fantastic experience of living in another country.
First experience abroad
On April 2 I landed in Linz, Austria, to start a new cycle of my professional and personal life. In Brazil I am at Villares Metals, a voestalpine subsidiary, and responsible for the Online & Social Media presence. Like any traveler on his first journey, I looked all around me: people, signs, transport… and the first difference between the countries that I noticed? The temperature, which went from 28° to 5°.
As days pass, several items have caught my attention while living in Austria that are very different from the Brazilian experience:
- Safety coming and going: Regardless of the time of day, you feel safe walking on the streets and on the train, which makes it possible to get to know places more independently.
- Physical exercise: This is surprising, since it takes place independent of the weather. Everywhere, you see people running, biking, exercising, and this starts from early childhood. Children are always with their parents.
- The power of (primarily classical) music: I see traces of music in every corner, such as instrument stores, opera houses and theaters and people playing on the street.
Changing how I relate
The differences between these cultures are notable, undoubtedly including the way people relate to each other. Brazilians are naturally more open to relationships and more talkative, while Austrians (or Europeans) are more reserved.
The only difficulty I have encountered was with the language, since I do not speak German, the official language of the country. Fortunately, most people speak English, and over time, I have been adding basic German words to my vocabulary, due to living and work situations. The fact of living with an Austrian also provides greater immersion in the culture and customs, and facilitates relating at work, on the street, in stores, on the train, and everywhere.
And in the workplace…
In the workplace there are many differences, such as:
- Schedules: Brazilians are more fluid, and easily extend a meeting from 30 minutes to an hour, while Austrians are stricter in this regard.
- Clear determination of responsibilities: In Brazil responsibilities are more shared, while in Austria it is clearly specified who does what and to what extent you should share an activity or collaborate with someone else.
- Purely professional relationships: Culturally, in Brazil, ties are created at work. Your coworker is also your travel partner, and so on. In Austria there is a very clear division between personal and professional life.
"Little more than a month of this daily learning experience remains, and I am sure that the remaining time will provide me with even more observations and experiences, in all aspects of life."