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Jasmine: Expat Relocation

In our InterNations Recommended Blog section we let you take the spotlight! Expat life in general is, of course, a perfect breeding ground for great, user-generated reads, and life in Germany makes no exception. Take your time and browse the great blogs showcased in this article!

Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to Germany, etc.

I'm Jasmine, a born and raised Canadian. I moved to Germany a little over 2 years ago to follow my dreams as well as to create new ones.

When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?

Moving to Germany was life changing for me. There were so many things I thought I new but learned I didn't. There was so much that I had seen and so much still to be seen and blogging became a sort of outlet for me. I wanted to the rest of the world to be a part of all my adventures. I had a lot to share and what better way to share it, than to blog about it?

Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?

Wow. To be honest, it's quite difficult to pick a favorite. I've written about so much over the past year and with so many great experiences it's hard to pin point which one is greater than the other. But if I'd have to choose, I'd probably have to go with my article about shipping your furniture and other belongings to Germany. That's perhaps one of the most informative articles in terms of getting things in order when you've been presented with so much chaos. After all, once you've secured a home, there's no real comfort unless it's furnished.

Tell us about the ways your new life in Germany differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?

I've always been somewhat of a chameleon, or at least that's what I told myself. Moving to Germany was a big eye opener for me. I realized that really blending in wasn't as easy as I had envisioned, especially not when your native language is so different from the one of the country you're residing in.  Top 3 culture shocks: Voice overs. My first time in a German movie theater to see the wonderful Keanu Reeves was a bit strange to say the least. Everything started out normal, and then he spoke and I couldn't wrap my finger around how weird his 'German' voice sounded. Being stared at is not a sin. I learned that staring is normal. If people want to look, they'll look and if you dare to stare back, you would have entered yourself into a staring competition that you just can't win. In Canada, if you glimpse someone staring at you, they're very quick to look away. In Germany, the staring just continues until they've had their eye full. All Germans speak Englisch. It always made me chuckle when I asked with my broken German 'Sprechen Sie Englisch?', only to hear 'a little' followed by a sentence in absolutely perfect English. I think it's amazing that Europeans typically speak between two and three languages and what they consider 'a little' is what I consider fluent.

Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in Germany? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?

If someone asked me when I was in Canada, planning my move to Germany if I was prepared, I would have definitely said yes. However, once I got to Germany I realized that I couldn't have been further from the truth. Sure, I had all the things I needed for my visa in order, but in terms of having everything prepped and sorted to allow a comfortable lifestyle, I was nowhere near ready. But in no time I realized that the internet was my best friend, and with my dictionary on hand and my computer on, there was nothing that I couldn't find. In some cases it might have taken hours, but I learned a lot through my research adventures. If I could do things differently I would probably consider taking a German course or two while in Canada and I would definitely do all the research before I got to Germany.

Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?

Nudity  is completely acceptable. Maybe not on the streets but definitely in the sauna and spa. You've got to tackle saunas with a mind of steel, and be prepared to bare it all.

Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in Germany?

  • Make new friends through friends of friends. Before you move to Germany, spread the word. Tell your family members and friends about your plans. You'll be surprised to see that quite a few of these people know someone located in Germany or someone who's been, and you'll not only make new friends before you get to Germany, but you'll also learn a lot in terms of what to expect.
  • Arrange for your furniture to be shipped. This is something that you'll definitely want to take care of while you're still in Canada. You'll save a lot of money, a lot of stress and won't have to wake weeks for your bed to get to Germany.
  • Take a German Course. Of course when you're moving to Germany you'll have all these plans to learn the language quickly, but once you arrive and realize that communicating in English is quite easy, you may let learning German take the back seat. Don't! You want to learn the language, you need to learn the language, it's  vital part of the whole German experience.

How is the expat community in Germany? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?

The expat community in Germany is great. I lived in Frankfurt when I just got to Germany, and I have to say that I've never met a group of people more welcoming than the expats here. There are so many organizations, so many meet ups and groups, that making friends really is quite easy. And even though you may think that this will hinder your ability to learn Germany, it truly won't. The expats I have met have emerged themselves into the culture, and helped me to do just the same.

How would you summarize your expat life in Germany in a single, catchy sentence?

Life in Germany comes with difficulties, excitement and amazing experiences.

Daiki Saito

"When my company decided to send me to Essen, I took a quick look at the local community and said: Please do!"

Cristina Fernandez

"On InterNations I did not only meet interesting people but I also found a flat near Bochum and settled in quickly. A great platform."

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