American Expat Living in Germany - Interview with Chad

Published: 22 Dec at 10 AM
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Filed: Interviews,Germany
Chad and his wife Amanda have been married since 2003 and are both working professionals in the same multinational company. They love to travel and see the world. He has an industrial engineering degree from NC State University and an MBA from Queens University in Charlotte, NC USA. And, she has a PhD in Chemistry from NC State University. Their love of life and family is only slightly less than their love for each other. Chad's expat blog is called WorldThruOurEyes (see listing here)

The story of us
The story of us

Here's the interview with Chad...

Where are you originally from?
My wife & I originally from the US (via North Carolina, New York, & New Jersey). I am originally from the Charlotte, North Carolina USA area. And, my wife Amanda is from upstate New York in the Finger Lakes region.

In which country and city are you living now?
We are currently expats living in Germany in the Rhineland-Palatinate (wine) region in the city of Ludwigshafen.

How long have you lived in Germany and how long are you planning to stay?
We moved to Germany on December 31, 2012 and will be here at least through the end of 2015, if not a few months into 2016.

The view from Hiedelberg Castle in Germany
The view from Hiedelberg Castle in Germany
Why did you move to Germany and what do you do?
Because our company is awesome and we had a chance to work overseas. I am an internal consultant, and she works in the business area.

Did you bring family with you?
Does our dog-child Barney count?

How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
We came to Germany with a very open mind, so the transition was not too bad. That's not to say that there hasn't been times where it wasn't so easy getting adjusted here.

Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
Yes. And, Yes and No. Mainly our new friends are fellow Expats, but we have made German friends as well.

One of the countless scenes at a German Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas Market)
One of the countless scenes at a German Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas Market)
What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
Travel and experience the sites and culture of living in Europe. Locally, for us, we live in the wine region of Germany so there are always wine festivals to enjoy.

What do you enjoy most about living in Germany?
Experiencing a new culture and being placed outside of our comfort zone.

How does the cost of living in Germany compare to home?
Before moving to Germany, we moved from New Jersey from a town about 30 minutes west of NYC. So our cost of living was very high there, especially property taxes. So, we think the costs are a little lower here for some things, but others not so much.

One of our many trips....this is from Ireland and the Kylemore Abbey in western Ireland
One of our many trips....this is from Ireland and the Kylemore Abbey in western Ireland
What negatives, if any, are there to living in Germany?
The negatives go away with time. But, still for us, we do miss the convenience of living in the US regarding shopping stores being open at all times (here in Germany, they close at 8pm during the week and are closed on Sundays).

If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving to Germany, what would it be?
Do not focus on the differences and things that you miss, as this will cause a sense of homesickness. Instead, focus on the positive and the newness, and accept that there are differences and that you are not going to change a culture.

What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
For me, learning the German language. I have advanced degrees in engineering and business, but learning a language is a struggle for me...but, I am getting there!

When you finally return home, how do you think you'll cope with repatriation?
It will be an adjustment. I went home for the first time last Christmas after a year in Germany, and could tell the difference straight away.

When in Munich, one must partake in the festivities at the Hofbrauhaus....we were in Munich to watch the finale of the World Cup to see Germany win
When in Munich, one must partake in the festivities at the Hofbrauhaus....we were in Munich to watch the finale of the World Cup to see Germany win
What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
  1. Do research of the area you will live before coming to get somewhat familiar with your surroundings.
  2. Have a native person help you with the challenges faced during the first month of living in a new place (i.e., residence permits, work visas, tax forms, buying appliances, etc.)
  3. Make an effort to learn some of the language and practice with your new colleagues.
  4. Learn and appreciate the cultural differences to explain how and why people react the way that they do in a different way that you are use to. Once you understand their culture, it will help you adjust.
  5. Enjoy it! I mean, look. You are living in a new country, in places with hundreds & in some areas thousands of years of history. Places we Americans have only seen or read about in movies or books. Try to experience and see as much of things as you can, have fun, and don’t be so American about things.
Tell us a bit about your own expat blog.
This work assignment is the first time that either Amanda or I have lived outside of the United States. On both sides of our family, they have never travelled too much, and I started the blog as a way to share our experiences in travelling with them. I started the blog before moving to Germany since we were doing a lot of travel in the US, but then our world totally changed once we became Expats. So, what started out as a hobby has become a somewhat of an obsession for me now.

How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
Emails and comments left with us through our blog site are the best.

About the author

Expat Blog ListingChad is an American expat living in Germany. Blog description: A married professional couple sharing their experiences as they travel the world, while living & working in Germany.
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