Name: Katy Atzberger
VFN volunteering positions: Christmas Party Team 2019 and (Advent Team) 2020 / Flea Market Volunteer 2019 / Member Businesses Coordinator
Tell us something about you and your family. What brought you to Vienna? When did you join the VFN?
After meeting whilst working on cruise ships my husband and I lived in London for 5 years where our eldest son Lukas was born. My Austrian husband was headhunted and as we were planning to have a second baby but couldn’t afford a bigger flat in London we decided it was time to make the move to Vienna, where we would also be closer to family.
Having moved from the North to the South of England my Mum knew how lonely it could be without a support network of your own and so it was actually her that researched and found the VFN – then known as the Vienna Babies Club – and encouraged me to join with my baby Maxi (now nearly 6!)
What do you like about your experience living in a foreign country with your family? Have VFN help you in the transition?
Moving to a foreign country is daunting and even with friends and family here it was a long time before I felt truly settled. I feel that the friends I met through the VFN are one of the main reasons I can now call Vienna my home and can truly appreciate the benefits of living here, particularly with young children.
What made you want to volunteer?
It was thanks to my amazing baby group coordinator and the friends I met through my baby group that I began to feel I could make a proper future here and it was their support and encouragement that propelled me to start my dance school, English Dance Academy (EDA). The VFN have continued to support that journey and many of my pupils are parents who found me through VFN. Therefore, from both a personal and professional position I really wanted to give something back to the VFN community by volunteering. The Christmas Party and Advent Calendar also gives us a fantastic opportunity to raise money for charity and in my latest role as Member Business Coordinator I am excited to be able to help encourage, support and be there for others that may find themselves in the same position as I was when I first moved here.
Have you learned new skills while volunteering?
I have learned a lot since volunteering – particularly for the Christmas Party, which is an enormous undertaking! More about myself than I can perhaps put into words though. I love working within an international community and learning new perspectives and traditions. It’s been a pleasure to meet new people and learn from their experiences.
Have you volunteered in the past? In other positions?
As well as the Christmas Party and my new role of MB coordinator, I helped out on the doors at the Flea Market. It was the first time I had been to one and it was an experience that I absolutely loved and can’t wait until we can safely do again!
What would you tell potential volunteers?
If you’re thinking of volunteering, just do it! Every role is important. So even if you can’t do a “big job” doesn’t mean your help isn’t appreciated or needed because it really is. And it is a great way to meet new people, maybe discover a new skill or find something that sparks joy and leads to something else. If you are lucky, like me, you will find friends for life and it is a great way to give back to the VFN community.
Why do you continue to volunteer despite the lockdowns?
This pandemic has been so hard (on many levels) but I am someone that also thrives (to a point!) on stress so whilst I was able to I wanted to be able to use that stress for something good. The Advent Calendar in lieu of the Christmas Party allowed us to raise money for a charity that is helping children and families who are in need even more than ever right now. It also allowed us to connect with our community and make sure they all knew that they are never alone. It has allowed us to work with our amazing member businesses and help support and promote them where we can – because many of us are suffering greatly right now.
And on a positive, it’s always good to keep learning and find new ways of adapting and now we have even discovered things that will still work for us in the future too.
Any secret tips and tricks on how to enjoy Vienna with or without kids?
Vienna is an amazing city and like many places we live we often take that for granted and don’t see enough of it. Obviously now is not the best time to give recommendations but when it is safe to do so I say get out there and just experience everything you can – even the things that don’t appeal. The museums, the art galleries, the shopping centres, take a walk around the city and through the parks, the Zoo, Spanish Riding School, the Christmas markets and other special events, get out of the city and go hiking, go skiing, visit the lakes, the coffee houses, eat Schnitzel and cake!
And of course check out our Member Businesses who have some fantastic courses to offer you! ;0)
Interested in joining the great team of VFN volunteers? The information about Volunteering possibilities can be found in the “Join & Support us” section or you can also check the latest newsletter. Alternatively contact us by the contact form on our website. We look forward to hearing from you!