Canadian Expat In Berlin - Expat Interview With Cheryl Howard

Published: 10 Nov at 11 AM
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Filed: Interviews,Germany
A Canadian freelance writer based in Berlin, Cheryl Howard writes all about European travel and expat life. Filled with wanderlust, her nomadic heart and soul has taken her to over 24 countries throughout North and South America, the Caribbean and Europe. Unable to sit still for long, she's always planning her next trip. Some people think she's inspirational. Cheryl's not sure but you can read all about why she quit her job, sold everything she owned and left behind a great life in Toronto all to move to Berlin. Cheryl blogs at cherylhoward.com (see listing here)


cherylhoward.com

Here's the interview with Cheryl...



Where are you originally from?
I'm from Toronto, Canada.

In which country and city are you living now?
I live in Berlin, Germany.

How long have you lived here and how long are you planning to stay?
I've lived in Berlin for the past 18 months. I'm planning to move home to Canada at the end of November with hopes to someday return as I've really loved my time in Germany's capital.

Why did you move and what do you do?
I moved to Berlin to experience a new life abroad and live out my dream to live a life in Europe. I currently work as a freelance travel writer and IT project manager, a weird blend of professions to say in the least. The typical story of a freelancer in Berlin!

Did you bring family with you?
Nope, I moved to Berlin on my own.

cherylhoward.comHow did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
While the adjustment wasn't easy, it also wasn't all that difficult I have an adventurous spirit and am a pretty adaptable, social person. I sought out other expats and locals and made new friends within my first 4-8 weeks of being in Berlin.

Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
It was pretty easy! My circle of friends includes expats and locals. I used social media to reach out to other expats and met locals by frequenting a chilled out wine bar in my neighborhood.

What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
There are tons of things to do in Berlin and as far as I'm concerned, it's the coolest city on the planet. For me the best parts of Berlin are the cafe culture and nightlife. You can sit in cafes for hours socialzing with friends or getting work done. The nightlife is crazy, wild and unlike anywhere else. You can easily find yourself walking out of a club at 8 AM and there's even some clubs that people visit after having a Saturday or Sunday brunch!

What do you enjoy most about living here?
Being so close to other European countries and being able to visit different cities easily and cheaply for the weekend. A weekend away to Budapest or maybe Krakow - why not?

cherylhoward.comHow does the cost of living compare to home?
It's much cheaper to live in Berlin as the rents and other costs are much lower as compared to Toronto.

What negatives, if any, are there to living here?
I miss little things from home sometimes! Square pillows, dry stick deoderant, chicken wings, root beer ... etc.

If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving here, what would it be?
I'm a pretty big advocate of those who want to join us "cool people" here in Berlin. My advice would be to move here with a solid plan, as it's not the easiest place to find work. So either have a savings that you can live on, find a job before you arrive or have work that's location independent.

What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
Language diffculties have proven to be the biggest challenge, something which can easily be resolved with a class or two or in my case, three or four or five ... I'm not very disciplined when it comes to trying to focus on such things and am easily distracted by other more fun activities. I mean after a 40-60 hour work week, sitting down to learn German verbs isn't really my idea of fun.

cherylhoward.comWhen you finally return home, how do you think you'll cope with repatriation?
Since I do want to return to Berlin in the future, I'd like to use my time at home to really learn German. No excuses! As I'll miss Berlin, I'll comfort myself with sausages and beers whenever I'm homesick. I might gain a lot of weight during my first while home.

What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
1. Learn the lanaguage (be better than me).
2. Be social and get out there and meet new people. Use social media to find others in your area, Twitter, Facebook groups etc.
3. Be open to new experiences. Don't compare your new home to your old one, enjoy the cultural differences and find humor within them.
4. Don't just hang out with other expats. Get to know locals.
5. Enjoy your new city - act like a tourist.

cherylhoward.comTell us a bit about your own expat blog.
My blog focuses on European travel and expat life. I write about the various places I visit around Europe and offer tips about where to visit, sleep, eat etc. I also write about my experiences as an expat from as hilarious of a perspective as possible - one of my most popular entries has been about my first time visit to a German sauna which was very well ...interesting!

How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
They can visit my site, cherylhoward.com for more information and email me at cheryl.howard{at}gmail-dot-com. I'm always happy to offer up advice to others!

Cheryl has an expat blog called cherylhoward.com http://cherylhoward.com/ which is very worthy of a visit. She can be found on Twitter @cherrysberries. cherylhoward.com has an ExpatsBlog.com listing here which would love a nice review if you can spare a quick moment! If you liked this interview with Cheryl, please also drop her a quick note below.
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