26 February 2018

Judee Bendiola - Expat in Germany

Judee Bendiola - Expat in Germany

We’ve had the chance to talk to Judee Bendiola, 30, a Filipino expat who has moved to Germany alone. Ms Bendiola, who has been living there for 4 years, now works as a PhD researcher / consultant. Read more about her experiences in the full interview below.


Q: Where are you from originally?
A: I’m from one of the 7, 164 islands of the Philippines!


Q: What made you move out of the Philippines?
A: I was previously based in Singapore to work then I moved to Germany to pursue higher education.


Q: Where are you living now? How did you come to choose this new country of residence?
A: I’m currently living in Germany since I received an acceptance letter to study here.


Q: How long have you been living in Germany?
A: 4 years!


Q: Are you living alone or with your family? If yes, how are they adjusting to the Expat Lifestyle?
A: I’m living alone. Independent woman, here!


Q: Do you miss home and family sometimes? How do you cope with homesickness?
A: For the first three years, yes! Now, I just accept things as they are.


Q: What do you think about the locals?
A: At first, I thought that they were distant, and reserved. Now, I definitely know how to communicate with them and they are really accommodating especially if you are using their language.


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 is not an overnight process. Building any kind of relationship in Germany really takes time. You just really need to have a lot of patience. I join various events, groups or organizations and I eventually meet people whom I can connect with.


Q: How does the cost of living in Germany compare to your home?
A: Of course, the cost of living here is indeed higher.

Q: How much is a cup of coffee?
A: Around 1 to 2 Euros

Q: How much is a meal in an inexpensive restaurant?
A: Around 3 to 5 Euros

Q: How much is a meal in an expensive restaurant?
A: Around 15- 50 Euros

Q: How much is a bottle of wine? How about a pack of cigarettes?
A: I don’t smoke. For wine, the cheapest is around 2 Euros.


Q: Do you have any tips for future expats when it comes to opening a bank account in Germany?
A: Prepare to read official documents in German!


Q: How will you describe your experience with government paperwork such as applications for Visa and work permits? Why is that so?
A: At first, I can say that there was really a language barrier. I think research is the key and always be prepared with all the needed documents and eventually on time.


Q: Would you say that healthcare in Germany is reliable? Any preferred clinics or advice for expats?
A: Yes, their government health insurance here is way better than my home country.


Q: Did you secure a health insurance in the Philippines or Germany? What should be the essentials in the coverage for expats, in your opinion?
A: Yes, I secure a health insurance here in Germany. I think there’s not much difference in terms of coverage for expats or locals, if one avails the government health 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: I did it independently. Traumatic because of cultural differences and weather as well. It’s so hard to move especially in Winter.


Q: What is the biggest challenge that you have faced as a new expat?
A: My biggest challenge here in Germany is learning the language and finding the right strategy to be integrated and not assimilated.


Q: What do you think are the positive and negative sides of living in Germany?
A: On the one hand, it is hard to be away from my family and friends back in Asia. On the other hand, there are a lot of possibilities in terms of academic opportunities, career growth and collaboration here in Europe.


Q: What are the best things to do in the area? Any particular recommendations for future expats?
A: Since Germany is part of Schengen, it’s always fun to travel to other countries since they are all reachable via public transportation.


Q: Do you have plans to move to a different country or back home in the future?
A: As of now, I seize and enjoy every moment here in Germany.


Q: What tips will you give to expats living in the country?
A: In relation to the previous question, that’s one moral lesson that I’ve learned. It’s good to plan but having different back-up plans will definitely save you for a whole lot of drama!


Q: Do you have favourite websites or blogs about Germany?
A: DW offers great information about daily news and some guides in learning German. Check out their Langsam Gesprochene Nachrichten!


Website: https://judeebee.com/ 

YouTube vlog: judeebee (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbQblk1Qfw8K_olAWs8pBkQ?view_as=subscriber) 

Facebook: iamjudeebee (https://www.facebook.com/iamjudeebee/) 

Instagram: iamjudeebee (https://www.instagram.com/iamjudeebee/)