We’re sooooo excited to be introducing another instalment of the ‘The Ausländer Project.’
We’re tired of bad news and the negative vibe sticking to the word, “Ausländer,” in the mainstream media. We’re also tired of the media’s negative portrayal of the people the word refers to. We’re hoping to take the word Ausländer and make it a positive word, empower it and make people proud to own the title.
We intend to do this by featuring the stories of all kinds of characters who have (somehow) ended up in Vienna from all parts of the world.
After all, we’re all Ausländer somehow, right?
Meet this week’s Ausländer, Alejandro Galvez Alvarez. Read on to find out why he identifies with being a Käsekrainer with Sechzehnerblech (Translation: that’s Viennese for an Ottakringer can of beer), and how the hell he ended up moving from his homeland of Guatemala to Vienna.
Vienna Würstelstand (VWS): How the hell did you end up in Vienna?
Alejandro Galvez Alvarez (AGA): After I finished school, I was faced with the decision – what next? I always knew I wanted to study abroad. The initial plan was to study somewhere in Latin America, but surprisingly, it was more expensive and more complicated than coming to Vienna, so I ended up here.
VWS: In the space of 1 minute, tell us your story…
AGA: I’m from Guatemala City. I went to an Austrian School there. That’s where I learned German. I always knew I wanted to do something with design, so I ended up studying architecture at the TU Wien. Austria has so many great architectural role models, so you can imagine how happy I am studying here. I am about to finish my Bachelors, and start an internship at one of the coolest architecture offices in Austria.
VWS: Obviously, life in Vienna is different from where you come from. Tell us how it’s different.
AGA: Puh, hard question. I don’t know where to begin. The cities are extremely different in everyway. But there are particularly two things that really stand out – firstly, you feel safe living here in Vienna, which is not the case back home in Guatemala.
I have lived through a couple of bad experiences. Let’s just say that I would never wish upon anyone the feeling of helplessness when you’re confronted by somebody armed and threatening you.
The second big difference is the ease of mobility around Vienna. In Latin American cities, you are completely dependent on a car. Especially, if you like to party. You always need a car to go to and from a party. Taxis aren’t an option as it isn’t safe.
So in Vienna I love being able to ride my bike, and walk to places. It’s also great knowing I can travel to other cities by train from Vienna in just a couple of hours.
VWS: Tell us – what has surprised you about Vienna.
AGA: The thing that has surprised me most, is how active the city is. There is always something going on and always something to do. There is a program for everything and everyone. I love the diversity in the city.
VWS: If you were an Austrian dish which would you be and why?
AGA: I would probably be a Würstelstand Käsekrainer with very spicy senf drizzled on it, served on a plate and eaten with silverware. And obviously enjoyed with a (couple) of Sechzehnerblech (Translation: that’s Viennese for an Ottakringer can of beer). Why? Well, it’s kind of ordinary, but still very fancy. And it simply works well, anytime.