Thu. Jul 18th, 2024


There is no doubt that my time away from Canada and living in Villach was both amazing and challenging at the same time. Though I had countless unforgettable experiences and made some great friendships, it was also a massive adjustment for me. Throughout the seven months of living away from home, and creating a new life for myself with my partner, I learnt some amazing lessons along the way. This blog will highlight five of my most valuable takeaways from living abroad. It will include some lessons I learnt and will never forget as I continue my lifestyle of moving and living in new countries.

Put Yourself Out There

The first, and perhaps the most important in my opinion, is to really put yourself out there. It is so important, especially at the beginning of your stay, to make an effort to attend as many things as you can in order to meet people and show that you genuinely want to cherish this time in your new home. There are many great and fun events happening all year long. Some examples of this are Fasching, Kirchtag, Easter Markets, Christmas Markets, and many more! These events really allow you to experience the culture in Villach to its full extent! There is no doubt that this can be an uncomfortable process, especially if you are a little bit shy, but I feel like this is the only way to make friends and to have some fun!

Celebrating at the Villach carnival


The second takeaway I have is to explore the amazing things Villach and its surrounding areas have to offer. There is no shortage of experiences to be had in Austria. Whether you love the outdoors, are a foodie, an art lover, and architecture admirer or anything else…there is something for everyone to enjoy! I believe that to truly enjoy your time in Villach you have to make an effort to get out and seek these experiences. Though they might be completely different from at home, that is what living abroad is all about!

View of Villach city center

Live In The Moment

The next advice is to truly make an effort to live in the moment. It is very easy to spend time missing various things about home. Yes, it is ab solutely normal to miss friends and family but changing your mindset to realizing that they will all be there when you are back, and living in the moment can help you through those moments of missing home. Time does fly, and before you know it you will be back at home missing your time in Villach (or wherever you may be), so I suggest you try your very best to enjoy the things about your present life.

The expat couple on the road in the region

Create A New Home For Yourself

My fourth takeaway is to live like you are spending the rest of your life in Villach. If you spend your time thinking that it is only temporary, you won’t feel at home, ever. One thing that I found helpful was to make an effort to set up my apartment so I felt truly at home and comfortable. If you think that it is not worth it, and it is only seven months, you will find yourself missing the comfort of your old home. So my suggestion is to buy that plant or buy that carpet that will help you feel more settled and comfortable in your new home.


Evening view of the Drau

Take Advantage Of Resources

My final takeaway or suggestion, is to take advantage of the resources available to know more about where you are living. This was something I found so surprising when I moved to Villach, was the amount of resources available to help me learn about the different restaurants, events, and activities there are to experience in my new home. I found there was an abundance of websites that help you learn about what is taking place. For example, I wanted to go cross country skiing, and there were over ten websites that helped you navigate the whole process. There are also many Facebook Groups or Facebook Pages for expats living in Villach, which is a great resource to ask questions or learn about different places to see and experience. In addition to that, I found in general, the people who were from Villach that I met, were extremely eager to help share their favorite restaurants, hiking trails, shops etc. So to say, don’t be shy, and ask for recommendations from the people who know best! In the end, take advantage of those and make an effort to try as many new things there are to offer.

Walk through the summer decorated city center

In the end, I am no expert on living abroad. I have only done it two times, however I have spent a lot of time reflecting on my experience and what helped me to truly enjoy my time abroad in Villach. So if you are moving, or know of someone who is, hopefully these five takeaways can help you as you endure this new adventure!



By Lala