US Teaching Assistantship in Austria

Less than a week ago, I was informed by a representitive of the Austrian American Educational Commission, in association with the Fulbright program in Austria, that I was accepted into their program and placed in two schools in the state of Vorarlberg.

I have four months to find housing, pay for the flights I need, apply for visas and residency permits, and do all of the required, tedious paperwork and back and forth mailing needed to immigrate to a country in the European Union for a working assignment. Once in Austria, I will be paid a reasonable wage of about 1100 Euros a month after taxes (which goes towards necessities like healthcare), and will have sufficient money to live on. However, TAs are only paid monthly and for the entire first month in Austria I will have NO immediate source of income. I am also currently spending what little money I have on my own modest 1-bedroom apartment which I share with my boyfriend and contributing towards things like food and our bills while searching for full-time employment. My wonderful boyfriend, as you all know, works 70 hours a week to make our very meager lifestyle sustainable. We do not own a washer or dryer. Our food is generally what my boyfriend brings home from his two restaurant jobs. We have next to no furniture (no couches, tables, chairs, etc.), have not taken any vacations in over a year, and live paycheck to paycheck.

This teaching assistantship is solely the result of four years of hard work to earn my English language degree and several years of learning German in high school and studying abroad through grants, scholarships, and personal contributions in college. This position is only offered to about 120 Americans in the entire country. Truly, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. After much asking around and research, I have come up with a bare-minimum amount that I will need for the actual move and flight as well as some first-month accommodations. Please note that the general cost of living in Austria is much higher than in the United States. I'm also factoring in some less obvious costs that I've run into in trying to immigrate for my job:

Physical Exam: 60 USD
Mailing Papers to Austria: 35-70 USD, based on speed, will be done about 2 more times
Apostilles/Residency Permit: 150 after mailing and filing
A one way flight is about 2,000 USD depending on which city I land in, therefore I'll be looking for a round-trip to spend about 1,500 USD. Ran may or may not be buying his own ticket depending on when he emmigrates, so I'll not include his in the initial donation.
First month's rent: In my area, for two people, it's looking like 400, 500 euro (540-680 USD)
First month's food (2 people): 250 euro, no fancy restaurants, cooked at home. 340 dollars.

I'm currently selling my books, clothes, and some household items to try and pay for everything else (monthly rail/bus pass, household items like dishes and bedding, first month's bills), but I'm not sure I'll be making very much off of that. The only things I own of value are my phone and 6 year old laptop, both of which will be coming with me for use while I'm teaching abroad. I've factored in an extra 300 USD to account for these things. 

Ran and I will be paying for as much as we possibly can, but a lot of the circumstances are unforseable at this moment and we have to start processing our move now. Any amount, no matter how small, makes a difference. Five bucks might be a single bus trip between schools for me, one hundred would really help us with rent. Any money donated beyond the initial goal will go straight towards acquiring insurance and a plane ticket for Ran, who is learning German in order to move to Austria. We're very excited of the prospect of moving to a new country and the chance I've been given to work for a very prestigious program funded by the Austrian and American governments, but we need a little leg up to get there! As my friends and family know, I'm someone who does everything in my power to help a friend in need, whether it's driving you to the doctor or your work, having you spend the night when things are difficult at home, or buying your lunch if you're broke. I've done this and will continue to do this for all of my life, because I think that everyone benefits when we pay it forward. If you are in Austria (or a nearby country) between October 2014 and May 2015, I would be more than happy to play hostess! It's the least that I can do for those of you who are willing to make this dream a reality for me, and one of the ways I know I can show my appreciation. To read about the program and what I will be doing, please follow this link here:

Thank you so much!
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Christine Gugliemino 
Chattanooga, TN
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