Welcome to VIENNA!

“The most livable city in the world”, two years in succession. I did not need a global rating for me to make my decision, to move to this amazing city in February 2018 and be closer to my girlfriend and peruse my Master's degree in business administration. I have lived, worked and studied in India, Singapore, Senegal, France, and England as a result of which, I hope to share my experience of moving around with all of you.
By far, Vienna was the easiest transition for me and, despite the cold weather in February, the city treated me with nothing but warmth. Moving around ever since the age of 18 has given me many opportunities to make some serious mistakes causing unnecessary inconveniences. The good news is that I learned with every experience and came up with an ironclad checklist for the perfect start in a new city. I am now going to share my Golden Check List with all of you to make adjusting to Vienna smooth and pleasant!

Accommodation

Photo by THE FIZZ

First step starts before your arrival: Finalize a living arrangement and make sure you have a place ready to welcome you the day you arrive in Vienna. In case you find it hard to find a residence or do not want to spend too much time on it, simply book an apartment at THE FIZZ Vienna. And who knows? You might fall in love with THE FIZZ, just like me.

City Registrations and Visa Paperwork

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The toughest and most gruesome part of your trip may be dealing with the state offices and paperwork. I will be walking you through the "Meldezettel" registration process and some suggestions dealing with the immigration office.

In Austria, the Meldezettel is a registration certificate proving the declaration of your residence status. Registering yourself with the city at the magistrate's office (Meldeservice/Meldeamt) is a very easy process. All you need to do is fill up a form, get it attested by your property owner/landlord and visit the designated authority (every district has its own “Meldeservice” office).

If you are an international student (non-EU) and have to deal with the immigration or visa related stuff, the MA 35 is the competent authority.

  • Make sure you go through your documentation and be informed about the documents required. (More info)
  • Be an early bird! I found out the hard way that it is definitely a good idea to visit their facilities early in the morning, as soon as they open. This way, you will be one of the first to enter and will not have to spend a long time waiting.
  • Try to have yourself accompanied by a German speaker. The officers will most probably not converse with you in any other language except German.
  • Lastly, be patient and keep calm, the amount of time the process takes will not change.

Stay connected

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If you are from a country within the EU, do not worry about your phone not working. Since the change in roaming charges within the EU, you can use your mobile phone and not even to change your provider in order to use barrier-free Internet without excessive roaming charges. Still, I highly recommend clarifying with your service provider to know better about the charges, terms, and conditions. It may be possible that getting a local connection is cheaper than your service provider back home.

In case you are from a land far far away like me, getting in touch with the fam bam back at home is important and you will need an Austrian service provider for your cell phone. The most commonly used service providers are A1, T-Mobile and 3. Of the shelf and no name brand calling cards are not always the most convenient service to choose, and I would avoid them, at least if you are going to be in Vienna for a while.

To get a phone connection, simply sign up for a prepaid card by just presenting your Passport or equivalent ID proof. If you are looking for something long term, consider getting a post-paid connection to get better and more exciting deals.The documentation process depends from provider to provider, but you will need a regional bank account, “Meldezettel” and a passport. In either case, pre-paid or post-paid connection, visit the service provider's store or a listed distributor, which you can find on their respective websites.

Banking

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Most of us have a bank account from home and may not have a regional bank account. However, I highly recommend you to get a local account if you plan to stick around for a while. It will come in handy to pay bills and other expenses without any hiccups of cross border transactions.

Unlike the old days, getting a bank account is a very simple process. Most local banks offer a special account for students and your choice merely depends on your preference of banks. You will need (Surprise!) the good old “Meldezettel” and your ID or passport. If you plan to open a student account, you will also need to show your student ID and proof of enrollment.

How to get around?

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I believe, Vienna is one of the best-connected cities in terms of public transport that is run by the public transport provider “Wiener Linien”, who provide U-Bahn (underground rail), tram and bus service within Vienna. If you are planning a stay for a longer or even a couple of days, getting a public transport pass is a very economical decision and it is very easy to do so. You can download a smartphone application and purchase your tickets digitally or, if that is not possible for any reason, you can buy your tickets from the ticket machines at every “U-Bahn” station. For monthly and semester passes, buy them on the app or visit the ticket office located in most of the prominent stations. Visit the website of Wiener Linien for more detailed information.

Vienna also harbors some independent mobility mediums, such as car sharing (Car to Go and Drive Now), electronic scooter sharing (Lime, Bird, Circ and etc.), bicycle sharing (City Bikes), by cycle rentals and of course ride sharing apps (Uber, Bolt and etc.). No matter how late in the night or early in the morning its is, there always be a way for you to get around the city.

Socializing

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Meeting new people is also an important part of your experience and it can be hard to do so when living in a fast-paced city like Vienna. It is always nice to keep an open mind towards trying new things and initiating conversations, which will be your way to find new friends.

If you live at The FIZZ, you do not have to worry about meeting new people. All you have to do is get yourself out of your apartment and visit the common spaces to join other residents over a game of pool, FIFA, to have a drink or two or attend one of the several in-house events. Some of the events; board game nights, Pub Quiz Nights, Karaoke and Movie Nights. Now the question is “how to be updated with the exciting calendar?” It is simple: Keep an eye on the Facebook community group managed by The FIZZ Vienna house staff. In case you are not a member yet, just inform the reception and they will add you immediately.

Besides that, social media and the internet is a great way to keep track of special events happening around you. If you are student, your university will have its representatives of the student union known as ÖH (Österreichische Hochschüler; Austrian Students Association), who regularly host and promote interesting events, hence keep an eye on your university’s ÖH page on Facebook.

There may be more intricate details in every aspect discussed above, feel free to click on the related links to access detailed information of any of the above elements of the checklist. I wish you a pleasant visit or stay Vienna, and good luck 'Finding Your Feet.''

Header Image by Jacek Dylag on Unsplash