InterNations Featured Blog
Heather Goes To Deutschland
Our first entry for recommended expat blogs from Germany is Heather, an American expat who recently made the transition from Prague, Czech Republic to Nuremberg, Germany. She blogs at heathergoesdeutsch.blogspot.com. She updates regularly, so check back often for insights on expat life and Nuremberg's sweet pastries!
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Nuremberg.
My name is Heather and I come from Wisconsin, USA. I first moved to Prague, Czech Republic in January of 2009, and then to Nuremberg, Germany in June 2011.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I first started writing before I moved to Prague, and then really got into it when I moved to Germany. Mostly it was because I didn’t know anyone and thought it was a good way to occupy my time! But I also thought it was a good way to keep my friends informed, as well as to help others thinking about a move. Blogs are a great resource for people thinking about moving abroad, as well as for those of us already here.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
When I first decided I was going to leave Prague, I decided that I was going to post a photo a day until I left. So from March 22nd to May 31st I posted a photo every day. It was a really great way for me to revisit some old photos that I’d taken in the city, as well as giving me a good excuse to get out with my camera as much as possible before I left. It’s a beautiful city and you see something new every time you walk out your door. So those were a special few months for me.
Tell us about the ways your new life in Nuremberg differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
I didn’t really experience culture shock as I’d already been abroad for a few years; but it is different from home, and also different from what I’d been used to in the Czech Republic. There are too many differences to name, but I like the mentality towards work, the baked goods, the public transportation, and the love of the outdoors you find here.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Nuremberg? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
For the most part, I think I was prepared. I would have saved some more money before the move if I could have. Having to pay 2 or 3 months’ rent as a security deposit is normal here, and that definitely hits you where it hurts. So I could have estimated my initial expenses much better. But everything else I was reasonably well-prepared for.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
For the full story you can check it out on my blog (Tips on Living Alone), but here’s the Cliff’s Notes version: I got locked out of my flat when signing for a package one day. It was early-ish in the morning and I wasn’t dressed and had no shoes on. I had to have the DHL delivery guy break into my flat for me. Good times.
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Nuremberg?
First, do your research. Get in touch with people already on the ground and don’t be afraid to ask questions! Secondly, figure out what legalities you might have to deal with. What visas, or work permissions might be required and what do you have to do to get them? I spoke to the people at the German Embassy in Prague a few times, and they were extremely helpful. So find out as much as you can before you arrive. And lastly, prepare your stomach for the increased consumption of beer and baked goods. There are too many kinds of beer and too many different pastries to limit you to a diet. That’s what gym memberships are for.
How is the expat community in Nuremberg? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
There are some different options for expats here; for example the InterNations group or also an English Stammtisch. I’ve met some people, but not all that many, so that’s something I would like to work on. I have met quite a few people through language tandems, so that’s been great for me. You learn a little German, learn a little English, and have a drink, which is pretty much ideal as far as I’m concerned.
How would you summarize your expat life in Nuremberg in a single, catchy sentence?
Living the dream one German cake at a time.