Jitske Kretz, Accompanying family

Lam Research Corporation, Villach

When Lam Research offered my husband the chance to work in Villach as an expat for a couple of years, HR organized a week long orientation trip to Villach for us and on this occasion they arranged our first contact with the CIC. For us as a family with two kids, one of whom was already at school, the education system and the Austrian school system were important topics, because at that time the International School Carinthia (ISC) didn’t yet exist. The CIC did more than just provide information: they also made appointments with schools, accompanied us to the meetings and acted as interpreters.

After our move to Villach I was regularly invited to events by the CIC. I attended coffee mornings and networking sessions and got to know many people. If you live in this region you should learn the language, which is why I participated in German classes organised by the CIC. I was particularly fond of the language swap, because during the meetings I had to talk in German for a longer stretch and learnt a lot about Villach and Austria through my language swap partner. Other ideal formats for me were and are all regular courses, like the German conversation and cooking classes or the Zeitungsgespräche/newspaper talks.

My kids, too, took part in various CIC family events during their first year in Villach, for example a BBQ at the river Gail or a themed hike. Occasions like these gave them the opportunity to experience in a positive way the fact that they are part of an international community. We feel very comfortable here. For this reason, after three years living in Villach, we decided to localise instead of returning to the US.

(Interview Birgit Stegbauer)