Adela Mehic-Dzanic on her journey in Austria
There is a quote on the school of languages I cross every day on my way, and it says “Je mehr Sprachen du spricht, desto mehr bist du Mensch." "The more languages you speak the more you are human." By Tomas Masaryk. I think it summarizes very well how one more language we speak profoundly influences & changes us and makes us enter the new worlds that are usually unseen from the outside.
I always loved languages and if there is one thing, I wish for our daughter Esma: to speak at least one or two languages more than myself and my husband! We speak Bosnian, English and we learned German here in Austria and I couldn’t think of living in a country and not knowing the language and culture and customs of it.
When we moved to Vienna, about 8 years ago, we came here without knowing the language and the moment we settled we both signed up for German classes and we started looking for a job!
Sometimes I would say that I just started learning the language and the number of compliments and the appreciation I got for it by the locals was immense! When I would try to speak even more and tried to think of the word and couldn’t remember it, they said keep going, explain it and we will find the word together!
I must say our journey to Austria was nothing but supportive through the officials, work, and colleagues, privately and professionally. Through my work, I have travelled most of Austria, having business meetings, conferences, and events in all the regions and I felt as if I am heard, I can express myself.
I must admit that I don’t understand dialects. I always tell those speaking in dialect: “Please explain it again or say it in Hochdeutsch!”
Our journey to Austria led me to start my community called "Making it in Austria" which essentially brings people who all live and work in Austria together from all around the world.
They are successful managers, leaders, business owners, entrepreneurs and they wish to share their journey of calling Austria their new home. They all speak German and can't imagine a day without "Bitte & Danke!". The number of times I say "Bitte & Danke!" daily is enormous, it is one thing I noticed immediately when we came here, and I love it. I use it when I talk in all other languages as well and it makes me feel good every time I do! And the other person as well!
In the past 1.5 years, I did 69 interviews that are available on my YouTube channel "Making it in Austria" and I organize monthly or quarterly Get2gether where we can meet, network, share and support one another!
Other alumni also share their experiences of how knowing the local language was beneficial for their career.