Meredith, Near Stuttgart in Baden-Württemberg

Who are you?

My name is Meredith and I am from Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada. I love to travel, read, bake and blog!

Where, when and why did you move abroad?

After five and a half years of being in a long distance relationship, I moved to Germany in 2013 to join my German fiancé. After living so many years apart, we are now happy to be married and living together near Stuttgart in Baden-Württemberg. Shortly after moving to Germany, I started writing my blog Kaffee und Kuchen to describe my experiences living as an expat in Germany.What challenges did you face during the move?

One of the challenges I faced when moving to Germany was a change in my lifestyle. In Canada, I was used to being very independent and self-sufficient. Once in Germany, I found that I needed a lot of support from my husband for simple matters like getting groceries, setting up a bank account, figuring out a cell phone plan, etc.

In Canada, I had a wide social network of school and university friends, co-workers and acquaintances. I have found it challenging to make friends in Germany due to my limited German knowledge and because I live in a small town. Joining expat meet ups, reading expat blogs and learning German have helped me meet other expats who are going through similar experiences.

Are there many other expats in your area?

The expat community is quite large in Germany, especially in big cities like Munich, Berlin, Frankfurt and Hamburg. I think it can be difficult to meet fellow expats if you live in a small town with fewer foreigners. Though I live in a small town, I live just outside of Stuttgart where there are lots of expat groups and activities. The more I attend these events, the more like-minded people I meet.

What do you like about life where you are?

After living here for almost two years, there are so many things that I’ve come to appreciate about living in Germany. For starters, there are numerous festivals, markets, tours, hikes, conventions, beer gardens, vineyards, galleries, museums and castles to explore all over the country. Public transportation, especially train travel, makes it convenient to get around. Germany is a great jumping off point for travel all over Europe.

What do you think of the food in your new country? What are your particular likes or dislikes?

I love the emphasis on fresh and local produce in Germany. I’m also a huge fan of German bread – I can never walk by a bakery without taking a peak at the tempting baked goods on display!

I don’t eat a lot of meat and I find more traditional German dishes are quite meat-heavy. That being said, I can always find something on the menu that I like.

Sometimes it can be hard to find specific foreign ingredients in a grocery store. I’ve gotten to know which tiny local shops and markets sell which produce and products so I can usually find what I need to make a recipe.

What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?

Learn as much German as you can. Though many people speak English, being able to speak and understand German will greatly increase your quality of life and will make it easier for you to make friends, understand more about your surroundings and integrate into German society.

Find ways to get involved with the expat community and the local community. I joined some online expat sites several months before moving to Germany and a few more once I arrived. These groups offer great resources to learn more about German culture, networking, accommodation, insurance, transportation, and much more. My goal is to meet more locals and make more German friends in the coming years.

Want to follow along on my German adventures? You can find me at:

Blog: www.kaffeeundkuchen.co
Facebook: www.facebook.com/kaffeeundkuchenblog
Instagram: @kaffeeundkuchenblog
Twitter: @kaffeekuchenco
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/kaffeekuchenco