6 June 2017

Stacy - Expat in Germany

Stacy - Expat in Germany

We’ve had the chance to talk to Stacy, 30, an American expat who has moved to Germany with her husband. Mrs. Stacy who has been living there for almost two years, now works as a teacher.

Read more about her experiences in the full interview below.


Q: Where are you from originally?

A: Fort Worth, Texas.


Q: What made you move out of the US?

A: I married a German.


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

A: I live in a small village in Germany fairly close to Trier. We live in the area where my husband grew up.


Q: How long have you been living in Germany?

A: I’ve been here for almost two years now.


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

A: I live with my husband, but, obviously, he’s from here, so he’s only had to adjust to being married.


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

A: Of course. But, I’ve been pretty lucky in that I don’t get hit with bouts of homesickness too often. So far, it’s really just been at Thanksgiving and Christmas. But I FaceTime with my family back in Texas at least once a week, and I stay connected with my friends on Facebook.


Q: What do you think about the locals?

A: I think they’re lovely people.


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: Not in the beginning. But once I started working, I definitely had a much easier time meeting people and making friends. However, I do have a couple of other expats in the area that I am close friends with. I met them through a combination of Facebook groups for my area and in my integration course.


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

A: It’s so interesting. I read other interviews for Germany where people talked about how much cheaper it is here, but for me, it’s the total opposite. The cost of living in Germany is much higher than it is in Texas.

  • Q: How much is a cup of coffee?

A: Like anywhere, that depends on the quality of the coffee.

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

A: A full meal, including a drink, might run you about 10 euros.

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

A: 50 euros easy.

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

A: Well, I’m in the wine region of Germany, so the selection and price range pretty much runs the gamut. As for the cigarettes, they can run you about 6 euros, which is why most people who smoke drive across the border to Luxembourg to buy them. Gas and cigarettes are cheaper there.


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

A: Unfortunately, no. My husband already had everything set up when I got here, so I didn’t have to do anything.


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

A: My experiences all went very smoothly, but what I can say is that preparation is key. As long as you do your research beforehand and come to your meetings prepared, things will go easily and quickly. Also, don’t do what most people do, which is to just show up. Email the office in advance and schedule an appointment. It will save you hours in time.


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

A: That’s a tricky question because German and American healthcare is not really comparable. I think it also depends on where you live in the country (village versus city). It’s reliable in the sense that I can just go to my family doctor on any day that they’re open. I don’t need an appointment. It’s not reliable in the sense that you might have to wait for months to get in to see a specialist.


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

A: I have German health insurance. But again, my husband already had it and just added me to his policy. So, I don’t actually know much about the details of setting it up.


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: My vet had a change of heart 10 days before my kitty cats were scheduled to get on the flight to Germany. He was qualified to sign off on their paperwork, but he had never actually done it before and started second guessing things at the last minute. I ended up crying hysterically in the parking lot because the stress of everything almost killed me. It worked out in the end, though. I shipped 12 big boxes of things via FedEx. I used some other company whose name I can’t remember as the middle man since they had a business account with FedEx, and I was able to get a much cheaper rate. I did not ship any furniture. I either sold what I didn’t bring or gave it to friends and family.


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

A: I’d say the biggest challenge was figuring out how to be me in a foreign country. That might sound strange, but when you find yourself suddenly unable to complete even the simplest of tasks, trying to fit into a strange culture and starting over in your career, there are moments of identity crises. Who am I if I’m not in the life that I was?


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

A: The positive side is that it’s an amazing experience that not everyone gets to have. The negative side is being so far away from family.


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

A: I love everything about the Moselle River - boat rides, wine tasting, hiking, castle excursions…….


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

A: We don’t actually have any plans to move, but we’ve talked about maybe retiring back to Texas.


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

A: In those first months, or maybe even year, get out of the house as much as possible. It’s very easy to turn into an anti-social hermit in the beginning. Even if that means going to the grocery store or just taking a walk, get out of the house.


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

A: I like watching the YouTube channel Wanted Adventure. It’s a little Bavaria heavy at times, but it’s nice to see how other expats cope with living in Germany. And of course my blog www.eifelmausi.com.