Top Tips for Working Abroad in Graz, Austria
Austria’s second-largest city is home to stunning architecture both new and old, as well as a whole host of cultural institutions. And, as if that wasn’t enough of a reason to visit, Arnold Schwarzenegger grew up here.
Natasha spent her year abroad working at Graz’s Kunstuniversität. She’s given us the lowdown on everything you could possibly need to know if you want to follow in her footsteps – read on for her top tips for living and working abroad in Graz, Austria.
By Natasha Howls
Why were you there?
I worked at the KunstUni for their chamber music competition. I was put in contact with them through my university and, after a brief interview, worked for 20 hours a week. In Austria, there wasn’t too much of a language barrier as lots of people speak at least some English if you get really stuck. When getting a job here, I would recommend going through an employer your university has worked with before to ensure that the company is trustworthy and relevant to your degree. When applying for placements, don’t feel pressured to take a job because you feel like you don’t have another option right away. Ensure you do the research on the company you are going to work for and find the right fit for you.
Where did you live?
I lived in a flatshare with 3 other people, using WG-Gesucht for €300 a month. I found my accommodation by applying to different flats and attended a few viewings before eventually finding the one that matched up well with moving time and had a good vibe. I’d recommend viewing as many options as possible before settling for your space. Try not to get disheartened if you get a lot of no’s or if the flats don’t feel quite right. Likewise, narrow your search down by researching the area such as price points and transportation. Although it seems ideal to have a flat sorted before you get there, saying “yes” to people you meet remotely can cause issues, not to mention the risk of getting scammed. Similarly, it’s a lot easier to arrange everything once you have met your flatmates or landlord in person.
What was the nightlife like?
I was spontaneous and tended to follow wherever my flatmates were going. They would often find events on social media through Facebook events or Instagram stories. In terms of bars and clubs, I’d suggest checking out Forum Stadtpark, Kombüse, Sub, Die Scherbe, Kabuff, Postgarage, and any night run by ‘Grrrls Kulturverein’. This is a club with all-female DJs that had the coolest people and by far the best music. If you want to go somewhere beforehand, make sure to check out Vodka-Makava as it gets you hyped for the night.
Where to eat in Graz
As a vegetarian, Ginko was the best restaurant I have found. It is a vegetarian buffet where you pay €1.5 per 100g. It’s a 10/10 for being so fresh, amazing and filling, and also has a sister café called Greenhouse Ginko, a menu-based restaurant that has unbelievable bowls. Located near the river, Kunsthaus Café is lovely and has gorgeous outdoor seating. If you want a reliable coffee shop, Tribeka is very nice too and there are a few around the city.
How did you get around?
Bikes are the best way to get around Graz; everyone and their second cousin has a bike. If you don’t fancy the exercise, trams are another option as they are extremely efficient and allow you to travel anywhere across the city, although they can be a little expensive. The OBB Scotty app is useful to check out timetables and book the main service for trams. Occasionally they have certain days where trams are free after a certain time (when I was there it was every Friday or during Advent). Be sure to buy a ticket if you’re on the tram because even though it’s easy to get away with a free service, it’s not worth risking a heavy fine.
The best trips from Graz
I can’t speak for anyone else, but I felt that it was easy to sort out my own travel around Austria. I didn’t really do any day trips, per se, as they usually spanned overnight. From Graz, you can take the train to the capital of Vienna, where I visited multiple times, to Munich or to Maribor, where I visited my flatmate’s family. I didn’t need to book anything through an agency as I was able to research times and organise staying with people I knew. It’s really easy to book accommodation in other cities using AirBnb or Booking.com, and purchase train tickets at the station.