Monica Tognon

I moved to Villach a year and a half ago. My husband had already moved here six months earlier because of his work. I got in contact with the CIC in Villach some time before my move to inquire about the city, the school, life in Austria and above all about the recognition of my speech therapy diploma. There I met Anna, who had started working for the CIC just two days earlier. I immediately felt good about her. A professional, lovely, kind and very empathetic person, Anna knows what it means to live abroad for so many years, how much bureaucracy there can be and how much patience is necessary.

After spending my previous 20 years in the Netherlands, I already had a lot of experience regarding living and working abroad and with different cultures and languages. ​​Starting a new experience when nearly in my 50’s didn't scare me, but, well, I had some concerns, especially about the formal recognition of my diploma and starting work as a speech therapist here in Carinthia. Anna helped me tremendously with the bureaucracy and eventually I got my professional title of speech therapist recognized by the Austrian authorities. At home we celebrated the event with a cake. That was a moment to enjoy and now having three professional qualifications in three different countries (Italy, The Netherlands and Austria) and in three different languages ​​(Italian, Dutch, German). It was also exciting to learn about my entry as a speech therapist in the Health and Care Professions Council.

Anna immediately advised me to take part in several CIC workshops to further develop my professional skills and expand my network. I met a lot of people in the workshops and in leisure activities. I felt comfortable in all the different groups and although it wasn’t possible to meet in person due to the preventative measures, it has been a pleasure to see each others on Skype or to speak on the phone.

Thanks to the posts on the faces of the CIC, I got in touch with Cecilia Gori, who works as a freelance midwife in Villach. I asked her advice on how to get started as a freelancer. A nice chat with lots of useful tips! Shortly afterwards, we decided to rent a place to open a practice together in Villach-Lind for our activities.

It is exciting to open a practice, and with my specialization in multilingualism, aphasia and other neurogenic communication and swallowing disorders, I hope to be able to offer an useful service as speech therapist in Villach, throughout Carinthia or online wherever people need it.

After having received so much from the CIC staff and having met so many people with whom I have built a friendship or professional contacts, I decided to give something back by offering some of my free time to help CIC in its activities.

If I can encourage anybody to learn German without giving up immediately or to attain the formal recognition of their foreign professional title, then I'll be happy to help!

Email: monica.tognon.logo@hotmail.com