White wedding: finding love by the glacier


When George Chatzimanolis from Crete used his language skills and tourism sector experience to find work in Tyrol, Austria, he didn’t realise that his life would change in more ways than one… EURES is not only a European job portal; it can also open up the chance to experience places and people you’ve never dreamt of – sometimes even the love of your life!

Born in Cologne, 30-year-old George Chatzimanolis moved to Greece at the age of 13. He later obtained a university degree in management and started working in the tourism sector, but it was hard for George to find a suitable and well-remunerated job. In addition, he was very interested in looking further afield to gain some more varied experience.

So, in October 2003, George decided to visit the Public Employment Service office in Heraklion, Crete, where he met EURES Adviser Vithleem Katsavouni. Together they looked at the various offers for employment abroad and soon found a great opportunity for George – a job where he could use his childhood German as well as the skills he had gained from his work in tourism. The position was based at the five-star Spa Hotel Neuhintertux, located by the beautiful Hintertux glacier in the Zillertal valley of Tyrol.

With the help of his EURES Adviser, George applied for the vacancy immediately. Just one week later he received a call from Austria telling him he’d got the job. George got on a flight to Austria the very next day and, upon his arrival, was happy to discover that the hotel was providing him with full accommodation in a building reserved only for staff. He had a private en suite room, a balcony and a beautiful view of the Alps. George started as a barman, and was swiftly promoted to bar manager after just one month.

However, his biggest surprise was still to come. One morning, on the bus to the hotel, George found that he couldn’t take his eyes off a beautiful girl travelling on his route. He later discovered that she was Croatian and was working in another hotel nearby. After the first nerve-wracking approach, they quickly became inseparable, spending their free days discovering Austria together – George’s boss even lent them a car in which to travel around the country.

As happy as he was with his job, George began to feel homesick for the Mediterranean climate and cuisine. In April 2004, he and his girlfriend decided to move back to Crete and to get married. Through contacts he made in Austria, George quickly found a job in management working for a large, international travel agency.

Today, George and his wife live in Heraklion with their two children, 3-year-old Nikolas and 1-year-old Nina. “I will never forget my six months in Austria. I’m still in touch with Mrs Katsavouni, my local EURES Adviser, and keep her informed about the latest developments,” George says enthusiastically.

EURES provides Europeans with the contacts and support they need to gain valuable, foreign experience, both professionally and culturally. Like George, many thousands of people each year are able to meet new people from all kinds of different cultures, learn new skills and see Europe. Why not see what’s out there for you?

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