“Please bring your passport tomorrow to get your visa” Someone from the other side of the telephone was telling me something which I had been waiting to hear for quite some time. On 1st October, 2011 it was a call from the Austrian Embassy in Islamabad and they had finally decided to give me visa to go to Austria on an IAESTE internship which later created a chance for me to immigrate to Austria.
Things had changed a bit till I got the call for visa except my passion for an international work experience and moving to another country. I was done with my Masters in Information Technology and was feeling honored working for the same university from which I graduated couple of months back but my restless nature was asking for a new adventure. I took a big decision which changed the course of my life completely. I resigned from the current job and right ten days after getting the visa, I was standing at the Islamabad International Airport, holding two bags containing some essential stuff and 700 Euros in my pocket, to check in for the first international flight of my life.
I was completely unaware of the fact that the coming years are going to be one of the best years of my life and I will be immigrating to a completely new place.
I was born and raised in a small town in Gujranwala, Pakistan. I moved to Kallar Kahar, provincial capital – Lahore and then to the federal capital of Pakistan – Islamabad for my High School, Bachelors and Masters degrees respectively but never knew that after completing my studies I will be going to have an international work experience in the capital of Austria.
Austria is a center of art and culture, the birth place of Mozart and Freud, technologically advanced with wonderful panorama. I had always been attracted by the European architecture and style of construction so doing internship in Vienna was a golden opportunity for me to experience everything in real. I successfully completed my internship and found a job in Vienna which brought me the immigrant status.
Settling down in another continent was not an easy task. Asia and Europe are completely different from each other. It took me almost one week to come out of cultural shock. Everything was so different and new for me that I felt like being in another world. It was like a new birth for me and I was again curious like a child to know about all the different new things here. Right from my first air travel to the first snow of my life, it has been just a series of pleasant new things happening to me.
Initially I was worried about different work environment, climate and cultural differences of the new place. I had a fear of difficulty in integrating to a completely different world but now I feel pretty comfortable living in Vienna. The biggest fear was of a completely new language. I did a short German language course before coming to Austria but it was not enough for daily conversation. So I got enrolled in a German course in a Language institute in Vienna and recently completed German B2 Level Certification.
After moving to Austria I started two amazing hobbies – traveling and photography. I love to capture historical buildings so I combined it with traveling. Since I moved to Austria I have traveled to capitals of more than 30 countries and I plan to keep on traveling as long as possible but „All play and no work makes Jack a dull boy“ so I keep on updating my professional knowledge by doing international certifications in my field. Today I am a happy immigrant having a great work – life balance and trying to contribute to the progress of the country with my IT knowledge.
Zia Ul Qamar moved from Pakistan to Austria when he was 26
It took me almost one week to come out of cultural shock.