A visa, a bank account, insurance, a mobile phone contract and of course a place to live – international students need all this and more when they come to Vienna. Now, they can get all the help they need from the free, online ‘Step by Step Guide’, presented by the newly-founded Viennese company ‘Feels like home’ just in time for the beginning of term.
Around 80,000 international students currently live in Austria, with about 55,000 of them in Vienna. For those who find the organisation involved in relocating to a foreign country simply too much, help is at hand in the Step by Step Guide. Using a four-phase model, complete with a list of must-dos and can-dos, as well as personalised tips for everyday life in Vienna, this online platform provides ongoing support for all those making Vienna their new home.
An idea based on personal experience
The three young entrepreneurs behind ‘Feels like home’, Richard Ludmer, Martin Mössmer and Alexander Karakas, developed the idea of the Step by Step Guide based on their own experiences during stays abroad. “Everybody faces the same problems and challenges when studying abroad,” says Richard Ludmer, explaining how the project began. “We too had both positive and negative experiences and our idea for a free relocation service was born out of that.” To begin with, the trio worked exclusively with Webster University and Modul University Vienna, organising welcome events, assisting with official channels or giving help and advice on things such as choosing the right internet contract. Gradually, the friendly help they provided developed into a comprehensive and wide-ranging service for students from all over the world.
From ‘planning’ to ‘living’
After free registration, users of the Step by Step Guide pass through four phases that incorporate everything from a ‘Planning’ phase before arrival to a ‘Socialising’ phase after you get used to your new surroundings. In between, you organise all the things you have to do in your new country and work on developing your social surroundings. By the time you reach the last phase of the model, ‘Living’, you should be fully integrated and feel right at home – an ideal time to think about joining a gym or finding a favourite bar where you can get together with your new friends. The social events organised by ‘Feels like home’, such as parties to get to know people or skiing weekends, are highly popular.
A target group with a bright future
Since it is aimed at students, ‘Feels like home’ has a future-oriented target group, which goes down well with its sponsors. The young entrepreneurs are being supported by Mingo, the City of Vienna’s service for helping new companies. “The company should definitely submit the Step by Step Guide for the Mingo Award,” recommends Mingo Services head Gabriele Tatzberger. This award is handed out each year for innovative business ideas by new companies in four different categories. Meanwhile, sponsors from the banking, insurance, internet and gastronomic sectors have all jumped on the student bandwagon, and various special offers on the Guide’s discounts page create a win-win situation for sponsors and students alike.