It could be challenging to make new friends in a new country, especially if you are moving as an adult who already completed your education, and even more difficult if your destination and a new country are Austria. Socializing is one of the biggest problems for ex-pats in Austria. Don’t worry, you are not the only ex-pat in Austria who has this problem., most ex-pats have the same problem. In this article, I will give you practical tips on how to meet new people and make friends in Austria.
What are friendships like in Austria?
Trust, reliability, helpfulness, honesty, and reliability are the most important characteristics of good friendships in Austria. Having interests in common and a sense of humor that is similar is important when it comes to making friends. Having similar values and convictions is also significant to establish a friendship in Austria. Every Austrian has an average of four friends. Only four percent don’t have any friends according to a recent survey (source: ORF). When cultivating their friendships, Austrians place great value on personal and intensive encounters.
When it comes to friendship there is almost no gender mix in Austria, meaning that most friendships are between the same gender.
Is it hard to make friends in Austria? Are Austrians hard to make friends with?
Yes, it is hard to make friends in Austria, even harder if you are moving to Austria as an adult since you are not attending a school or university in Austria which is one of the best and easiest places to meet new people and make friends.
Is it possible to make friends in Austria?
Yes, definitely it is possible to make friends in Austria. Since locals are generally cold and not that friendly this will be a process that will take time. So, be patient. With our practical tips below you will definitely be able to make friends in Austria and to have a good social life.
Is it easy to make friends in Vienna? How can I find a friend in Vienna?
It is not easy to make friends in Vienna. However, it is much easier to make friends in Vienna in comparison to any other city in Austria since there is a big ex-pat community in Vienna. With our practical tips below you will learn how to find new friends in Vienna.
Before we start with practical tips on how to meet new people in Austria and how to socialize let’s learn more about Austrians.
In general, Austrians have a reputation of not being that friendly and welcoming to ex-pats and they are rather cold, standoffish, and uninviting. You should not be discouraged if some of the locals seem unapproachable or even unfriendly.
As with everything the first impression is very important for the successful development of friendship with Austrians. How friendly and open Austrians will be to you sometimes depend on which country you are coming from. Usually, Austrians are more friendly if you are coming from western Europe and the USA and less friendly if you are coming from a third country. This might be because most third-country citizens don’t have a good reputation in Austrian society. Many immigrants from third countries tend to misuse the Austrian system based on the solidarity principle and they are staying unemployed and getting unemployment benefits from the state or they might be known due to their criminal activities. Due to these factors, many Austrians are kind of reserved and cold to you in the beginning until they know you better. So, you should be patient since it takes time to establish a friendship with Austrians. However, patience pays off because Austrians are very loyal and good friends.
This is what you should know to last a good impression on Austrians.
Respect the privacy of Austrians
Privacy is very important for Austrians. Avoid asking them private questions until you are a really close friend of theirs. I will give you a feeling of which questions you shouldn’t ask them.
Here are some examples:
What is your salary or how much do you earn?
How much do you pay for rent? Or any other questions related to their personal finance.
Any kind of questions related to private life, religion, and politics.
Be punctual in Austria also with your friends
Austrians are known for being punctual. Make sure not to be late or if you know that you will be late inform your Austrian friend in advance. Even better try always to arrive a few minutes before your meeting. If you are not punctual this is telling to your friend that you are not respecting him or her and you don’t value their time. Punctuality is a must to make a good first impression.
Know Austrian rules and respect them
Rules and respecting rules are very important in Austria not only when dealing with the bureaucracy but also in private life. I know that sometimes it is frustrating to respect all these rules in Austria but this is a way to earn the respect and trust of Austrians.
Keep your word in Austria
That’s an important point to remember. You should keep your word in every circumstance, whether for a meeting set up or something you promised to do for the person. Austrians take your word very seriously, and they don’t like when you don’t keep it or change your mind at the last minute.
When you are still getting to know them in the beginning, you should avoid at all costs canceling an invitation that you have accepted. Don’t cancel last minute unless something very bad happened to you.
When it comes to practical tips on how to make friends in Austria you will hear as tip number one that you should focus on learning German to make Austrian friends. However, this is not really true. German language and especially Austrian dialects are very difficult to understand if German is not your mother tongue. Your broken German won’t help you much to make local friends. When people are telling jokes, speaking dialects, and speaking fast you won’t be able to understand that if German is not your mother tongue or your German is really perfect which is a long journey to achieve. German language knowledge won’t bring you much when it comes to making Austrian friends except you are perfectly fluent in German. Your broken German would rather make a bad first impression on Austrians until they know you better and hear your story.
Austrians love doing outdoor activities like hiking and biking, and both are popular pastimes here, which makes living here very enjoyable and making friends easier if you are an outdoor person.
How to meet new people and make friends in Austria? 19 Practical Tips
- Share a flat with other people
Sharing a flat is one of the best ways to meet lots of new people. If you live together with someone you have to become close with this person. This person will have some friends which help you to expand your circle of friends even further.
You are probably thinking but how I will find people to share a flat with. The solution is the platform WG-Gesucht.de. Most of the people on this platform are speaking English and you can share a flat only with English speakers if this is your preferred option.
2. Join Addidas Runners in Vienna
Addidas Runners is a great running community to join in Vienna and it is my warm recommendation since I am a member of Addidas runners myself.
This community is sponsored by Adidas and they organize running events and which are organized by their trainers. By joining Addidas runners you are becoming physically active and you are meeting new people and socializing. Joining this community and participating in events is totally free of charge. All you should do is download the Adidas runners app and join the next running event. And don’t worry you can be a complete beginner, your physical condition doesn’t matter but only your wish to join their next run. Here you can expect all kinds of generations, but mostly younger people between 25 and 35. In this community, you can expect both locals and ex-pats. Apart from runs, they organize many other pieces of training and events such as running mechanics, recovery workshops, yoga events, and trail runs (running in mountains). The issue is that the Addidas Runners community exists only in Vienna and not in other Austrian cities.
3. Join Facebook Groups for Expats in Austria
Facebook groups for ex-pats in Austria are a good opportunity to meet new people. Many members are asking questions and discussing their challenges and their ex-pat life in Austria and also looking for friends and people who share their hobbies and interests. These are people similar to you and who are very open to a new friendship.
Here are some of the popular Facebook groups for ex-pats in Austria:
- English Speakers in Austria
- Foreigners and Expats in Vienna and Austria
- Vienna International Students
- FOREIGN IN VIENNA
- Expats in Vienna
4. Make friends at your workplace
The workplace is a great place to make friends if you are employed. It is much easier to make friends at work since you have already something in common with these people, you are co-workers. Take initiative and invite your colleague from another department for a coffee or for a lunch and attend your company events. Many bigger companies have a sports team and they compete with other companies in business leagues. Check whether such teams exist and join them since this is a perfect after-work opportunity to become closer with your colleagues.
5. Join A Meetup
Meetup is a great website for joining local events in your area. Both online and offline events are organized by users. The activities can be conducted in English or German, both outdoors and inside. My favorite events are beach volleyball and Friday Afterwork in Vienna. At the meetup events, you can meet both ex-pats and local people and all generations of people.
6. Try Bumble BFF
The Bumble BFF provides you with the opportunity to search for friends. You use this app on the same swipe principle, but here you’re looking for a workout partner or a splash partner. You should put a little more effort into your description here so that we know what your interests are.
7. GemeinsamErleben App
GemeinsamErleben is a platform that brings people with the same interests, wishes, and goals together in communities. They are offering group activities. You get to know new people and quickly find leisure partners for all kinds of activities: cycling, hiking, photo walks, looking for mushrooms, visits to the zoo, yoga in the park, and many others.
8. Take a German Course
German courses are practical since you are improving your German skills and also this is one of the best ways to make friends. My recommendation Language School at the University of Vienna is called Sprachenzentrum, located at Campus of the University of Vienna in the 9th district and very close to the city center. It is my recommendation since they offer quality German courses and it is the best for making friends because groups are relatively big and the school itself has a lot of students.
9. Join Vienna Family Network
Vienna Family Network is the best community for English-speaking parents in Vienna. You can learn a lot about being a parent in Vienna on their website and get many useful tips and support. They are also connecting ex-pat parents in Vienna and they are organizing events where you can meet other ex-pat parents with children the same age as your own and you can enjoy Christmas parties which this community is organizing. Vienna Family Network is very international and members are coming from over 100 countries.
10. Language Cafes and Language Tandems
Apart from German courses, there are other ways to learn German and meet new people.
These ways are Language Cafes and Tandem.
The purpose of language cafes is to facilitate the exchange of language and to get to know others. They are usually free of charge and without registration.
These are the most popular language cafes in Vienna:
Language tandems are conversations in which two people learn one other’s language (mostly their mother tongue).
Here you can find your tandem partner in Austria:
11. Join amateur sports clubs or try USI sport courses
Joining an amateur sports club would be a great opportunity to stay active, play your favorite sport make new friends. Here is the list of all sports clubs and organizations in Vienna:
Another good opportunity is USI sports courses organized by the University Sports Institute of Vienna. USI all kinds of sports courses, summer sports camps, and skiing in winter at very affordable prices. The main requirement is that you are either student in Austria or that you alumni who earned any kind of university diploma in Austria.
12. Travel in groups or with singles
You shouldn’t go on vacation alone if you don’t like being alone. Group tours are now available in a wide range. A wide range of sports trips are available, as well as language trips, long-distance trips, hiking, and many others. These trips are nowadays available for all generations.
Traveling in a group is a great opportunity to meet new people. After the vacation, you will most probably still meet these people for hiking, chatting, or any other activity.
There are numerous offers for group traveling. We found a fee for you:
Join the Crew, these are organized sail trips for solo travelers and singles. Sail yachts are a great venue for meeting new people, and for spending time with them that is exciting and fun.
Volunteering is a good way to meet people also in Austria.
By being a volunteer you get in touch with people who care about something important for you.
When choosing the field or organization to volunteer you should consider your strengths and interests, of course.
Volunteering organizations in Austria:
- Caritas- Freiwilliges Engagement
- Red Cross
Volunteer organizations for young people in Austria:
14. Try out new things and take courses
Have you ever wanted to try an activity but didn’t have the time? Here’s some good news: now is the time! Just throw your previous ideas of what you like and what you like to do overboard and learn to say yes to the opportunities that come your way.
There are many opportunities to get to know students with similar interests through activities such as photography, horse riding, salsa, hiking, cooking, or becoming a barista.
15. Join Internations in Vienna
Internations in Vienna is an online community of ex-pats in Vienna. They organize different events where you can meet other members in person. According to my personal experience, this community is more suitable for people older than 30.
16. Try Themed Tours
Themed tours are organized tours which are bringing together people who share the same hobbies together. Here are some of them in Austria:
Walking tours: www.stadtspaziergaenge.at
Culinary tours: www.gaensebluemchen.at, www.sensorikum.at
Walking dog tours: www.hundelieb.com
17. Join ÖH – Austrian Students’ Union
Austrian Students’ Union is the organization of students in Austria whose main focus is on standing for students’ rights. They also organize a lot of fun events for students such as punch events on campus, semester opening, and closing parties, etc.
18. Try Pub Quiz
Pub quizzes are the perfect place to meet new people and to charm them with your great general knowledge. There are many English-speaking pubs in Vienna but in general, most of the people will easily switch to English if your German is not that good.
Here is the list of pub quizzes in Vienna.
19. Visit libraries and places for studying and working
Libraries are good places to meet other students, but you don’t have to be a student to be able to visit a library. Also, at other places for working and studying you can meet new people.
Learn more in our article:
Good luck with making friends in Austria!
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