Expat Interview With Brittany, American Expat Living in Germany
|Published:||20 Aug at 5 PM|
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Here's the interview with Brittany...
Where are you originally from?
I was born in Florida, raised in Pennsylvania, and spent three years in New York state.
In which country and city are you living now?
I'm currently living in a small town in Bavaria, Germany! I love it here! There are fests going on all the time. You get to enjoy the culture, beer, brats, and wear a dirndl or lederhosen if you want. Bavaria is great. I live 30 minutes from Regensburg, 45 minutes from Nurnberg, and 1:45 minutes from Munich!
How long have you lived in Germany and how long are you planning to stay?
I've lived her for a year in September and I have two more years left in Germany, but hopefully I can stay longer!
Why did you move to Germany and what do you do?
My husband is in the military so we were able to come to Germany on orders, but I also work here full-time and I am attending grad school.
My husband and I came together and once we got here, we bought our baby, a French bulldog, named Louis, that brightens our day by doing funny things like snorting, drooling, and being an overall clown.
How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
At first, when my husband told me that we had the option to move to Germany, I was beside myself. I did not want to move to a foreign country where I'd probably live in a small town, in a country where I didn't know anyone or speak the language. Being here over a year now, I can honestly say that like any other place that we have moved to I have found my niche, a job, a school, friends, and interests I love like traveling and antiquing. I love living in Germany and I don't really have plans to visit home anytime soon. At first it was hard adjusting to the language, but German isn't so hard and I am slowly learning.
Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
I am used to moving a lot because of my upbringing, going away for school, and now the military lifestyle, so I know what it is like to pick up and leave a place when you just started to make good friends. I can't say it has been easy, but that's because I look for good quality friends. My husband and I have found friends at work, in our neighborhood, and also with Germans. I can say that because we live near a military base, most of our friends are other US expats.
I had mentioned earlier that we live pretty close to some big German cities. I have so much advice about traveling and that is a big part of what I talk about on my blog. I love Regensburg, which is a neat city nearby with many shops, cafes, and cobblestones streets, it's one of my favorites. Munich is always a good time and we live very close to the Czech Republic which has some beautiful places to visit like Prague and Karlovy Vary which I just came back from vacationing in. If you are into antiques and flea markets, which I also discuss heavily on my blog. there are plenty of places to go to in Bavaria that have beautiful items to choose from.
What do you enjoy most about living in Germany?
What I enjoy most about living in Germany is how clean the country is and I think the people are very nice. I am fortunate enough to have a flexible work and school schedule that allows me to travel to a different country every month if I want to (and I have been lately). I'm really going to miss being able to travel often when I am back Stateside.
How does the cost of living in Germany compare to the US?
The American Dollar is not worth as much as the Euro so my money doesn't go as far, but I do like the fact that the tax here which is 19% is already included in the purchasing price of an item so there is no guesswork with that.
Though I can't really complain about too much, because I love living here, there are some negatives. I can't work on the German economy so my options for jobs are limited here and the pay isn't that' great. Also, stores close early during the week and are closed on Sunday's. I love German food but sometimes I just want some American food and to be in and out of a restaurant and not have to be there for 2 hours minimum. There is also no air conditioning in our home or at any of the hotels we have stayed at. It gets very hot without AC and if you do buy one they are not compatible with the way the windows open here. The language barrier can be frustrating, but I am getting around just fine and my husband can speak German so that is very helpful.
If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving to Germany, what would it be?
My biggest piece of advice would be to not be scared to explore your surroundings. There are a lot of people who just stay on the base here and don't branch out on the economy or even venture out to travel. If you are open minded and willing to try to learn the language and embrace the culture then you will love it here. If not you will probably hate it and complain that there aren't enough fast food places or shopping malls like in the States and do you really want to be that person?
What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
The hardest part of living here is that I've had to make sacrifices with my job and taking a pay cut. I've tried to make the best out of the situation by taking advantage of the very little school opportunities they have. I am really enjoying my classes here and I even get to travel to other countries like Naples and Spain to attend them! I also miss being around friends and family that I may not be able to see for another two years.
When you finally return home, how do you think you'll cope with repatriation?
I think when I do return home I will have a hard time adjusting at first with getting a job that isn't so flexible with time-off. As Americans, society is all about work, work, work, and time-off and family time are not as prioritized as they are in many European countries. Adjusting back to that mindset will be hard after this seemingly three year vacation.
- Don't wait until the last minute to travel. I travel every opportunity I have because a lot of people wait and before they know it their time here is up and they are scrambling to get in a few trips.
- Don't be afraid to travel outside of the box and visit some places that aren't so touristy or well known. Every town has it's charm.
- Learn the language. At least try to speak some key phrases of German while in restaurants. In other countries I also try to learn "hello," "good bye," and "thank you."
- Not every trip has to be expensive. Use Ryanair.com in advance, spend only a weekend at a destination, and try to find free things to do to keep within your budget. Every trip doesn't have to blow the bank.
- Don't be afraid to do things outside your comfort zone. Try new foods, talk to the locals, take advantage of opportunities you wouldn't have back in the States and most of all don't take your time here for granted, it goes very fast!
Tell us a bit about your own expat blog.
European adventures through the eyes of an American living in Germany. Traveling, antique/flea hunting, and DIY projects.
How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
Brittany Ruth can be contacted by her blog or Twitter (see links below)
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Comments » There are 2 comments
Thanks for sharing, Brittany. I love hearing about how Americans live in different countries. When my son and daughter in law lived in Germany (after he was done with his 15 months in Iraq) they traveled A LOT! They went to so many different countries and saw so many things. Whenever we visited them we were on the go to different places and countries every day except Sundays. I am so glad they got to experience it all. He said the same as you about so many never traveling at all. How sad.
Interesting information about Americans living in Germany. I'd like to hear more! Jana expatforever.com