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Kate, Chicago

Who are you?

My name is Kate! I am 31 and live together with my husband in beautiful Chicago.I have a background in Online Marketing and business development and love to travel and explore new cultures. I coach and consult with expat partners on my website.

Where, when and why did you move abroad?

We moved from the Oktoberfest city Munich in Germany to Chicago about a year ago. My husband got transferred from work and I decided to quit my job (I loved my job) and join him on this huge adventure abroad. We both studied in different countries before and always had thought about working abroad someday again.

What challenges did you face during the move?

The move was really exciting and we are a great team so the daily struggles of bureaucracy, finding a flat and creating a new home were doable challenges. The only downside was that I lost my wallet only one day before the move. That was definitely bad timing. 🙂

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How did you find somewhere to live?

We have been supported by my husband’s company and we enjoy the benefits of an expat package, providing a realtor showing us around the different neighborhoods of Chicago.

Are there many other expats in your area?

We are living right in the city center and our building is very international with people from all around the world. Unfortunately, it is also kind of anonymous and everyone tends to stick to themselves.

What is your relationship like with the locals?

We have many friends from different countries as it is easier to get in touch with foreigners compared to locals. I hope that we will soon be able to meet Americans and hang out together.

What do you like about life where you are?

The American culture is way more different to the European culture than I thought it would be in the beginning. Values and communication are very different. I like that everybody greets you with a smile and that there is this “you can become anything you want” mentality in the air.

What do you dislike about your expat life?

At the moment there is nothing I dislike. In the beginning, I was struggling with giving up my corporate career and creating something new for myself. However, all the struggles I phased lead me to where I am now. I am coaching and consulting with expat partners on my website. Without any struggles, I would not be able to do that so I am feeling very grateful.

What is the biggest cultural difference you have experienced between your new country and life back home?

I guess it is the value of work-life balance which is just totally different in the US compared to Germany. I met several people who have “just” 10 days off but are not even taking these days as they are valuing work higher than Germans do with their 30 days’ holiday leave.

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

I love that I can go out and enjoy Asian cuisine one day and Indian cuisine the next day. I stay away from typical American diners as the food is kind of heavy for my taste.

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

Stay open-minded and curious, and trust that everything will work out in the end. Moving abroad brings along many changes. If you are moving abroad with your partner, this relationship will most likely be the most stable thing you have. Appreciate what you have and cut yourself some slack for moving abroad.

What are your plans for the future?

I want to create a portable career so I am independent of the country we live in as I would love to travel and explore the world further.

You can keep up to date with Kate's adventures and find out about her consulting services for expat partners on her blog, Share The Love.

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