CIC Welcome-Service: How do we help newcomers to integrate
What does it mean, to move to a new country?
It means a challenge, new possibilities and a chance to change something in your life.
It means also a completely new place of living, a new language, a different culture and traditions, sometimes even new food you need to get used to, and a lack of friends.
The CIC was founded as an association which supported new people in Carinthia. Since 2009 newcomers from 68 nationalities have been finding good advice and practical support through the CIC-meetings and consulting.
Dr. Manohar Kashmira and his wife Dr. Nidhi Gupta moved to Villach from London with two young children because he found a new job at the Lam Research Corporation. The family has a great experience of relocation: before Great Britain, they lived 10 years in the Netherlands, where they moved from India. But this time the things seem to be not so easy: the family should learn German and find a kindergarten for the older daughter as soon as possible. That’s why they made an appointment with Rosalia Kopeinig, CIC General Manager, at the CIC office.
The conversation flows very lively. First of all, we discuss the range of interests of our guests and outline the problems they can face. The educational system in Austria is different. It’s important to find a place in a good school beforehand. But the main task now is to find a part-time kindergarten for Mannat (4). The CIC will help with the contacts and negotiations.
The second step is a language. Mr. Manohar studied German during one year in Munich, unlike his wife. Both will attend German courses. And what about Mannat, will it be easy for her to learn the third language? At first, she spoke only Hindi. When her family moved to London, the girl started to speak English as well. And now she needs German! The articles of Dr. Karin Martin, linguist, lecturer for multilingualism, will be very helpful in this case for the parents.
Austrian medical system is an important topic for the family with two children as well. A short description of it is necessary. Some practice things are also discussed: the shops in Austria are closed on Sundays, the doctors don’t work on weekends, but every time it is possible to approach the city hospital.
A high point of the conversation is a job for a partner. Nidhi Gupta has a PHD in Marketing and Consumer Behavior and she is looking for job opportunities in research or teaching. The Job-Service program will be certainly very supportive for her. The last step for today is getting contacts of the Indian community in Carinthia to find here new friends...
“We regularly consult the newcomers in such way,” Maria Piedad Guerrero Arjona from CIC Communication explained. “Everybody who has just moved to Carinthia can contact the CIC. We describe the social and economic life in Carinthia, discuss all possibilities people find here and all steps which help to integrate, share our own experience and tips. CIC services for newcomers means such practical things as the ‘Welcome package’, a brochure describing life in Austria in two languages, contacts of the important institutions and organizations, support in finding a school/kindergarten for children, the Job-Service program for a partner, seminars about Austrian tax system, as well as regular events and activities, to provide platforms for social networking and information exchange“.
If you are new in Carinthia and need the informational and practical support, don’t hesitate to contact the CIC.
CIC Membership allows using many of our services. You are not alone in Austria! We are welcoming you. We speak English, German, Italian, Spanish, Rumanian, Russian.
Text und Photo: Vita Vitrenko