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From Germany to the USA: Share the Love

02 April, 2018 09:27  Erin Erin

Share the Love My name is Kate, I was born in Germany and moved to the States about a year ago. I also lived and worked in Spain, Taiwan, and the UK and I love to see myself as a global citizen with European roots.

1.    Why did you move abroad?
My husband was offered a job in Chicago and we both have been excited to experience another culture and mentality.

2.    How do you make a living?
Back in Germany, I had a career as a Marketing and Business Development consultant. Here in the US, I decided against the constricting corporate world with only few vacation days and decided to take the step into self-employment. I share my experience of being an Expat Partner on my website www.sharethelove.blog and started my journey to become a coach for Expat Partners.

3.    How often do you communicate with home and how?
Nowadays it is much easier to communicate with friends and family back home. I remember my first job abroad in 2007. Back then I had no smartphone or laptop. Now it is so much easier talking to my loved ones using Skype, Facetime, What’s App and all sorts of media on a regular basis.

4.    What's your favorite thing about being an expat in the USA?
I love to have the possibility to experience the USA without worrying about visa or work permit as my husband’s company was dealing with this stressful process. In this way, I am able to focus on the bright sides and try to adopt as much of the positive and life-affirming American culture as possible.  

5.    What’s the worst thing about being an expat inthe USA?
After one year in the US, I still struggle with the superficiality of the American culture from time to time. While it is really nice to look in so many friendly faces when interacting with others – Americans are sometimes hard to read and a “yes” is more a “maybe” and a “maybe” is a strict no. You will almost never hear negative feedback face-to-face and I miss that honesty.

6.    What do you miss most?
I miss the most the German bakeries you can find on any corner. Back home it is so easy to buy dark, healthy bread or fresh croissants in the morning. Here I have to pay triple the price and take public transportation or car to find a something similar to a bakery.

7.    What did you do to meet people and integrate in your new home?
I learned to say yes to everything. This is not a German habit so this was quite a development for me. I am going to network events but also writing to people directly through social media. The best advice is to overcome the fear of addressing people directly and ask them to have a coffee or beer. I am also volunteering and joined some organizations like the German Women Association which helps a lot to bond with people.

8.    What custom/ habits do you find most strange about your adopted culture?
I have met so many Americans who have not left the country and have no idea about the culture in Europe or Asia. I understand that America has a lot to offer but I wonder why some Americans are not curious about the other side of the world. Also, I realized that work-life balance is seen totally different here and Americans don’t value vacation days the same as Europeans.

9.    What is a myth about your adopted country?
It’s a myth that Americans don’t speak any other language. While it’s true that they mostly speak English they learn other languages in school and I was surprised to see that actually German is one of the most favorite languages to learn. Tough job and I highly respect the effort!

10.    Is the cost of living higher or lower than the last country you lived in and how has that made a difference in your life?
The cost of living is much higher. Especially everyday products which used to be very cheap in Germany are really expensive here (e.g. cosmetic pads, shampoo or cheese) At the beginning we decided to carry on with our healthy diet and accepted to pay way more for groceries here.

11.    What advice would you give other expats?
Get a coach right at the beginning. Becoming an Expat and especially an Expat Partner is a life-changing decision. Not only will you be confronted with a new surrounding, new people, and new culture. You also might have to switch jobs or will face many career obstacles on your way. I wished I had done a coaching right at the beginning to set my goals and to see this time period as what it is: A great opportunity to start something new and to focus on your core values.

Share the Love12.    When and why did you start your blog?
I started my blog www.sharethelove.blog as I learned so much over the past year and I wanted to give something back. I hate the term Expat Wife and how society looks at Expat Partners and I try to give advice and comfort but also to shed a more positive and realistic light on that role. I think it’s very brave to quit your job and join your partner on this adventure abroad and companies should honor that more while Expat Partners should also cut themselves some slack. I hope to share my own experience and my honest reflections will help to realize that.

Blog LinkKate's blog, Share the Love

Guide for expatriates in New York City, USA

 

   Find out more about being an expat in the USA with Easy Expat's

Chicago Guide

 

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