Who are you?
I’m Diana, a 26 year old expat in Germany, I studied International Commerce and I have a five year old daughter.
Where, when and why did you move abroad?
We moved to Hamburg in 2012 thanks to a Scholarship Pablo received to do his Master’s degree. Once that was finished last December we decided to stay a bit longer.What challenges did you face during the move?
Leaving everyone behind, deciding what to bring (especially since we only brought one big suitcase each).
How did you find somewhere to live?
the first time, Pablo took care of it, he started looking for an apartment while still in Mexico, but it was hard since no one would contact him back. He received an email from his school with housing options and he contacted one of those, once here, he scheduled an appointment to see it and that’s the one we got. This time I took care of it, I followed the advice I gave on my blog about finding and apartment in Germany and looked for an apartment online. I scheduled viewings and then received an email that we got one of the ones we had seen. It is very different here, they are practically interviewing you to see if you’re the right fit for the apartment, not the other way around.
Are there many other expats in your area?
There are many Expats in Hamburg, both for work and studying. Many of my friends are expats, I’ve only met a few locals and that was through our landlords and while I was working in 2013.
What is your relationship like with the locals?
in Kaiserslautern we noticed they don’t really help you (the ones working in government related positions, they have a “that’s your problem” attitude), but back in Hamburg they were nice, and helpful, but sometimes you will get unsolicited advice, especially if you have a small child with you.
What do you like about life where you are?
It is a big city, you are sure to find most anything here, and there is a lot to do!
What do you dislike about your expat life?
I dislike being so far away from family, but I am able to put up with that, because being here is a great opportunity.
What is the biggest cultural difference you have experienced between your new country and life back home?
Stores closing on Sunday, this was much more difficult at the beginning, it takes some adjusting, but you get used to it.
How does shopping (for food/clothes/household items etc.) differ compared to back home?
Shopping is much cheaper in Mexico, but compared to the US it’s the same (with the currency difference in between) for example a dress here will cost 19,99€ and in the US it would cost $19.99
What do you think of the food in your new country? What are your particular likes or dislikes?
We don’t eat out much, but what I find at the supermarket is very diverse, I can always try something new, but I still miss Mexican food, not being able to go to the store and buy something that is easily available back home is hard. We can’t have a proper carne asada (barbecue) since the meat here is very different from what we find back home, and tortillas are not as cheap either.
What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?
Definitely do it, it is a great opportunity and you will not regret it!
What are your plans for the future?
As soon as we go back to Hamburg at the end of May I will start looking for a job.
Diana shares more tips about expat life in Germany through her blog Life in German