Germans in the UK is a series in which some of my German friends and contacts tell us about their experience of living and working in the UK.
I started the series because a number of my customers want to know about life in the UK. Some of them want to live here. Whilst I can talk about some differences that I’ve noticed, I’m English, I’ve always lived here and I can’t comment on what it’s like to move to another country.
Therefore I decided to ask some people who can give a first-hand report on moving to the UK from Germany.
1.How long have you been living in the UK?
For 10 years now. Time is flying…considering I planned on staying for one year only
2. What are two important things that you did in terms of preparation before you left Germany?
1. Ensuring to have sufficient funds to support me for at least 2-3 months just in case finding employment is taking more time
2. Getting an idea how life works in UK. There are a range of websites that can help with such information like gov.uk and deutsche-in-london.net
3. How did you go about finding somewhere to live?
After I had arrived in Heathrow I booked myself into a youth hostel near Earls Court. Back then, I was looking in local and regional newspapers for a place to rent. It took me about 2 weeks to find one. Nowadays I would be using the internet.
4. How did you go about making new friends and meeting new people when you got here?
There are endless opportunities in London such as work, clubs and other organisations. Best is to join a social engagement with people that have a similar demographic e.g. a swim club if you like swimming.
5. What would you say is different here in terms of applying for jobs. Is there anything that surprised you?
I was most surprised that school or university certificates don’t matter in UK. From Germany I was used to this being essential for a job application. However, all that matters in the UK is that you have the sort of experience that an employer is looking for.
6. Do you know any good websites, books or other resources for people who want to improve their English?:
I would recommend to watch a few movies in their original language. Best some British series such as Dr. Who. If you have an opportunity to join a local language exchange group then make use of it too.
7. What or who has helped you most in terms of developing your language skills?
Once I had landed in the UK, my language skills improved day by day. You pick up so much in a fairly short period of time as you are getting settled.
8. Have you noticed any big differences in terms of how people do business, what happens in business meetings or how colleagues relate to one another here?
In Germany people are somewhat more direct than it is here.
9. Is there anything that you wish someone had told you about life in the UK or anything that took time to get used to?
No there was nothing major. Preparation is key.
10. What food or drinks do you miss most? What are the first things that you buy when you go back to Germany?
Hahaha there are quite a few. Some I will bring back from Germany such as wine. For others I have taught myself in how to prepare them such as Kartoffelpuffer, Mohnstriezel and Flammkuchen :-)
Do you have a blog or a personal web page?
Further articles in this series
If you would like to answer these questions as well or to view the other articles in this series, go to the main Germans in the UK page.
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