I have visited several places in my wheelchair, most of those trips were made when I lived in Mexico and I remember that every time I went out I was sure that in a few days or weeks I would return home. However, shortly before the pandemic I went from being a tourist to an emigrant. The reason? I fell in love, yes, that corny, I found love traveling and after a long distance relationship we decided to move together, but the decision of where to live (whether in Mexico or in Austria, his country of origin) was a difficult decision for me. take, because many things influence such as the language, the personality of each one or the job.
He had (has) a permanent job in his country and does not speak Spanish, I am used to working remotely, for this reason, in addition to the fact that in Austria you survive with English, I was the one who ended up moving to his country, another of the things I discovered is that the accessibility for people in wheelchairs is very good. I hope at some other time to have the opportunity to tell you about the migration process in more detail, for now I want to tell you about one of the points that I consider most important: Finding a job.
Before beginning, I ask you to keep in mind that this is my experience, surely there will be other people who live it differently, I will only share how little by little I have been finding my place in a culture that is very different from mine.
The first two years I was sending my CV to schools, museums, organizations and the reality is that as the months went by very few, in fact almost none, they answered my emails, we were in the middle of a pandemic and I didn’t have many options.
The most common jobs to get as a foreigner/student are as a waitress (or) or Au pair, but because of my wheelchair it was difficult for me to be considered for these jobs.
Time passed and my income was limited, my partner supported me, but little by little I became desperate because the months went by and I couldn’t find a job, so I started looking for other options, one of them was to give English classes online, I had quite a few requests and loved staying in my field, plus since I spent most of my time alone in the department, connecting with my students was one of my favorite times of the day.
On the other hand, I also used one of my hobbies as motivation, I started selling knitted dolls, it hit very well and I sold quite a few, to this day they still ask me, however, they take a long time to make and as a business it is not very convenient. While these two activities didn’t leave me much financially, they kept me focused and gave meaning to my days.
Being here, sometimes sadness wins over me, the longing for my family, friends, food, also, as surely more than one of us has experienced it, the job search season is hard, I remember that in an interview in a Hilton hotel (ugly experience) was going through my head, what am I doing here? In Mexico I taught, I was surrounded by motivated people, with whom I shared and had fun, people here can sometimes be cold, without empathy or interest in others (not all of course), in that interview they didn’t give me the position work and please believe me when I tell you that I think it was because I use a wheelchair, because the person I was going to work with said that he could not handle the activities. I felt discriminated.
After an emotional downturn, I dedicated myself to continue searching and above all to learn the language because that is a determining factor. So for two years I was doing small jobs, I even worked a few days on a short film. Until the unthinkable happened in October 2022, they called me for another interview at the same hotel, I was very nervous because of the memory of the first bad experience, but now they were looking for me for another position, I thought they weren’t even going to hire me because They asked for a good level of German, which I still don’t have.
With nerves and everything, but I went. That same day they gave me the yes and thus I obtained my first official job in Austria as Coordinator of conventions and events. It’s been 8 months of a lot of learning, I attend events with clients from various parts of the world, I work for the three hotels of the chain in the city, I have various benefits such as discounts at any Hilton in the world.
I like the work itself, however, despite being grateful for the opportunity, it has been very difficult for me to adapt to the environment. In my day-to-day life, the truth is I hardly talk to my colleagues, at first I made an effort to connect with People, I still don’t know why socialization isn’t good for me here, I asked my psychologist, could it be me? She, who has accompanied me week after week during these years, told me: No, Mónica, from what you have spoken here, there is not an adequate work environment. Also some of the customers, I even dare to say, are racist and get angry or mock when I ask them to speak English instead of German, once a lady during a call sarcastically asked me “what country am I calling? You are in Austria, you should speak German ”, I was going to answer that she was talking to an international hotel, but I stopped myself because at that moment she took me by surprise and I did not want to give it importance. I’ve worked hard and tried my best, but a few weeks ago I decided it’s time to say goodbye.
Almost as a heaven-send, another job opportunity presented itself, this time in schools participating in workshops for the inclusion of girls and boys with disabilities (now as we say in Mexico, my mere mole), I still have a couple of months at the Hilton and although I am afraid because sometimes I doubt that I am making the right decision (at the end of the day the rent does not pay itself), I want to enjoy what I have left there. Looking back, not all is lost, I improved my German a little and if I have learned anything it is that it is necessary to be patient and good to myself, I remember that when I arrived in this country I thought that everything was going to be faster, that I was going to learn the fast language, find a job, make friends and adapt quickly and no, it has been the opposite, it has been important for me to recognize that I am making an effort and that I am going at my own pace and yes, for things to happen our initiative, perseverance is required and perseverance, but also time and patience.
Compiling this experience, here I leave you 5 tips when looking for a job in another country:
- Learn the language of the country you plan to visit or move to and be open to learning about its customs and culture.
- Update and prepare your CV for each job position, do not use just one for all your applications, emphasize the studies or courses that you consider most appropriate for the position for which you are applying.
- Reinvent yourself. Do activities that you like and/or that add training to you in that waiting season, for example you can take a course that reinforces your work profile.
- Have a plan (study, job offer or someone’s support), at first it may seem exciting and new to embark on the adventure of moving to another country, but over time it can be hard not to have some stability.
- If you are going away for a long time, I highly recommend that you have psychological support, since everyone experiences immigration grief in a different way.
As you could read, for me it has been quite a challenge, but without a doubt, living in another country is an experience that changes you as a person, tell us, would you like to live in another place? And if you are in another country, have you experienced something similar?