Taking pride in „Fehlerkultur“
What first comes to mind when I think about what the US could learn from Austria is the social welfare system (financial, medical, social) and general infrastructure (schools, roads, public buildings). I greatly appreciate the social welfare system and infrastructure in Austria and what I was able to achieve professionally here would neither have been possible socially nor financially had I been in the USA. Both are superior in Austria and the main reasons for that I believe is the much smaller size of the country which makes it manageable and the mentality of the citizens being risk-averse and more safety focused. Austria’s global neutrality plays an important geopolitical role plus it permits the country to invest domestically.
What Austria can learn from the US is to embrace more a mentality of self-determination and an innovative spirit. Although I am living the European Dream as an adult, I am happy to have gone through the US education system. There one learns to express ideas, try things out, and experiment. Although more costly the education system overall is more flexible and integrated with student life. The term “Fehlerkultur” or “error culture” does not exist in the US. Where an Austrian might say they failed feeling shameful, an American might take pride in it even looking forward to tell the tale and have a laugh. The American mentality teaches that self-determination and innovation are the natural result of learning from mistakes.