5 November 2018

Cherie McKay Horst - Expat in Germany

Cherie McKay Horst - Expat in Germany

We’ve had the chance to talk to Cherie McKay Horst, an American expat who has moved to Germany with her family. Mrs Horst, who has been living there for more than a year is a homemaker. Read more about her experiences in the full interview below.


Q: Where are you from originally?

A: I am from the USA, and I have lived in several States. Most recently, I lived in Michigan. 


Q: What made you move out of the USA?

A: My husband is from Germany. When we first met, he moved to live with me in the States while my daughters were still finishing up with school. After the youngest graduated, we all moved to Germany. We wanted to be closer to his family, and I have always dreamed of living abroad. 


Q: Where are you living now? How did you come to choose this new country of residence?

A: We live in Huerth, Germany which is just a little South of Koln, Germany. This is the area that my husband grew up in, and his family lives here too. 


Q: How long have you been living in Germany?

A: We arrived in August of 2017. 


Q: Are you living alone or with your family? If yes, how are they adjusting to the Expat Lifestyle?

A: We have a little apartment, and my youngest daughter lives with my husband and I. My oldest daughter has since moved back to the States. She lived with us for six months.

My youngest daughter is adjusting well, and is doing her job training at the local Vet office. My oldest, did not adjust well. The language barriers, and isolation were just too much for her, and she had to move back to Michigan. 


Q: Do you miss home and family sometimes? How do you cope with homesickness?

A: I do not really miss home, but I do miss my family and friends. I do Face Time pretty frequently with family and friends, and that helps. 


Q: What do you think about the locals?

A: I have been lucky, my husband grew up here, so he already knows most of the people in this area. They have been welcoming to me and my daughters, however, the language barrier makes meeting new people difficult. 


Q: Was it easy making friends and meeting people? Do you mainly socialise with other expats in Germany? How did you manage to find a social circle there?

A: It has been hard to meet new people since I am still learning German. I did meet a few people in my German Language classes, and that has been nice since they are going through a lot of the same things I am. I still do not really have a strong group of friends, yet, but I am working on it! Although there are some expat groups here in Koln, I haven't joined up. I am really trying to acclimate, and spend my time with locals. I am afraid if I spend too much time with other English speakers, I may not learn the language as fast as I would like. 


Q: How does the cost of living in Germany compare to your home?



Q: How much is a cup of coffee?

A: Between 1 and 5 Euros 


Q: How much is a meal in an inexpensive restaurant?

A: You can easily get a great meal for under 8 Euro, often less. 


Q: How much is a meal in an expensive restaurant?

A: My husband and I spent less than 100 Euro for a very nice meal and drinks. 


Q: How much is a bottle of wine? How about a pack of cigarettes?

A: I have found wine that I LOVE for 2.99 Euro!! A pack of cigarettes is between 5 and 7 Euros. 


Q: Do you have any tips for future expats when it comes to opening a bank account in Germany?

A: I do not have any useful info on this since my situation was unique. My husband is German, and was able to add me on to his account. I just needed my passport. 


Q: How will you describe your experience with government paperwork such as applications for Visa and work permits? Why is that so?

A: Compared to our experience in the USA when my husband filed for his Green Card, our interactions here have been amazing and very easy! Again, my situation is a little different since I have a German spouse. I just needed to provide my passport and Birth Certificate. I currently have a Fiktionsbescheinigung (Fictional Certificate), this is good for three months at a time. I am scheduled to take my A.1 language exam this month; once I pass, then I will be issued a visa. 


Q: Would you say that healthcare in Germany is reliable? Any preferred clinics or advice for expats? 

A: Very reliable and affordable. Be sure that you have traveller insurance when you arrive in Germany. Otherwise they may refuse to allow you to get State insurance. You would then have to pay for private insurance. 


Q: Did you secure a health insurance in America or Germany? What should be the essentials in the coverage for expats, in your opinion? 

A: I made sure I had travellers insurance when we arrived, then we were able to obtain State insurance.


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Q: What was the most memorable about the packing and moving process to Germany? Which was the mover you chose and how was your experience with them?

A: We sold or donated all of out things!! All we brought were two suitcases and a backpack each!! Not everyone is up for such a purging, but it is one of the best things I have ever done! 


Q: What is the biggest challenge that you have faced as a new expat?

A: Dealing with the isolation that language barriers create. 


Q: What do you think are the positive and negative sides of living in Germany?

A: A healthier lifestyle, since we walk everywhere. Better, more affordable healthcare. My medicine for Diabetes only costs me 15 Euro for a three month supply!! I the States, the same medicine was over $1000 a month(without insurance coverage) and $50 with insurance. 


Q: What are the best things to do in the area? Any particular recommendations for future expats?

A: I love to go to Koln, and to Bruhl. Lots of great shops, restaurants and site seeing to do.


Q: Do you have plans to move to a different country or back home in the future?

A: We are considering Scotland for a future move (many years from now). We have no plans to go back to the States. 


Q: What tips will you give to expats living in the country?

A: If you have the chance, make sure you learn some of the languages before you move. It will make everything SO MUCH easier! 


Q: Do you have favourite websites or blogs about Germany?

A: I read TheLocal.de often. 

This is a link to my blog. https://thatblogwherecheriemovestogermany.wordpress.com