Tag Archives: expat life

The Everyday Expat: Understanding Cultural Awareness

Photo copyright dpa

Photo copyright dpa

Culture shock is often discussed when people consider moving abroad. Differences between home and destination country cultures can be confusing and difficult to navigate and the radical change in lifestyle can be harder than you might have imagined. Yet one of the best ways of preparing for ‘culture shock’ is by working on your cultural awareness – something which is less debated but in reality much more important for the success of your expat life long term.

Cultural awareness can be prepared for in advance but it is, above all else, something which is actively practised. Reading about your destination country before you go, especially advice from other expats, can give you a really good understanding of where you’re moving to, but once you’re there, remember to observe, ask questions politely and avoid making assumptions about the way people should or will behave.

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Take a Look: Berlin’s Eastside Gallery

by Shannon Miller

Photo courtesy Beginnings in Bayern

Photo courtesy Beginnings in Bayern

Our last day in Berlin, we took my husband’s mom to the Eastside Gallery. She’s an artist, so we figured she’d love the murals painted on old sections of the Berlin Wall. It’s another way Berliners have turned ugly history into something positive.

Photo courtesy Beginnings in Bayern

Photo courtesy Beginnings in Bayern

During the Cold War, people in West Berlin drew graffiti on their side of the wall, and when the wall came down, artists joined together to create an international memorial for freedom by painting murals on remaining parts of the wall. The Eastside Gallery is one of the world’s largest open air galleries, but it’s had its share of problems. Just this year a developer for luxury apartments destroyed part of the wall to begin construction despite protests, and every year the wall is further damaged by weather and vandalism.

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German Food: Hearty Cravings

by Alexandra Ioakim of Flythesevenseas

Photo courtesy Sail the Seven Seas

Photo courtesy Fly the Seven Seas

Before moving to Germany, my knowledge of German food consisted of popular items found on the menu of Sydney’s Löwenbräukeller (pronounced Low-en-brow in Australia, and Looe-ven-broi in German) – schnitzel, sausages, pork knuckle and sauerkraut. As a self-professed ‘foodie’ (as they say) I would often watch Maeve O’Mara’s Food Safari and Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations and was interested enough to listen to my mum’s tips to know that in general Germans love a good apple cake, a potato could accompany most meals and German bread was an art form.

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A Spring Guide to Munich

by Alexandra Ioakim of Flythesevenseas

Photo courtesy flythesevenseas

Photo courtesy flythesevenseas

Longer days, the bright neon green of new foliage, unpredictable weather, a layer of pollen resting everywhere. Spring is definitely here.

Photo courtesy flythesevenseas

Photo courtesy flythesevenseas

A city adapts itself over the seasons–the ‘wake up’ after winter being the most profound. Spring is therefore generally fresh, bright, and cheery, and Munich does not fall short of putting on a good show.

On this note, here’s my brief list of how to embrace Munich in the spring:

1. Spend an evening at the Frühlingsfest

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Expat Perspectives: A Brazilian Moves to Germany

by Davi Zwiener

German culture meets Brazilian culture.  Photo copyright dpa

German culture meets Brazilian culture. Photo copyright dpa

If you ask anyone who is planning a travel to Europe, they will hardly mention Germany as their first option. Is it because the people are known for being cold or is it because Germany itself is known for being cold (no one thinks about summer)? I don’t know, but since the first time I have been here, I’ve decided it is where I want to be.

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Experience Germany: Straubing Fest

by Shannon Miller

Photo courtesy Beginnings in Bayern

Photo courtesy Beginnings in Bayern

Everyone knows Oktoberfest, right? Beer tents, people in Bavarian clothes, giant mugs of beer, carnivals, the whole shebang. It’s one of the first things people think about when they think of Bavaria, so would you be surprised if I told you a lot of Bavarians can’t stand it?
The main reason is, of course, tourists. Oktoberfest gets overrun by tourists, partiers, and general craziness, and as someone who’s been two years (soon to be three) in a row, I gotta say, Munich’s Oktoberfest can be kind of tiresome.

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Time to Jog // Zeit zum Joggen

by Jhonatan Ceballos Serna

Photo copyright dpa

Photo copyright dpa

Our blogs are usually in English–we want people who haven’t had the chance to learn German to be able to learn about life in Germany–but in cooperation with Study-In.de, we are going to share a series of blogs written in German.  Because we know some of you would really like to get some more practice.  So give this post, written by a Colombian student in Germany, a try and let us know how it goes in the comments!  Happy reading.

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