Germans in the UK – Anne-Marie‘s answers
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 decided to start 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 asked 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?
2. What are two important things that you did in terms of preparation before you left Germany?
1) Accommodation: I was lucky to find an employer who kindly took care of this on my behalf.
2) Bureaucratic things: I had to let everyone in Germany know that I was leaving, including the registry office, insurances etc.
3. How did you go about finding somewhere to live?
The company I was about to start working for organised this for me. My boss’s wife viewed a few rental properties for me and sorted out everything with the letting agent.
4. How did you go about making new friends and meeting new people when you got here?
I met a few lovely people at work and we hang out together outside work a lot. I live in a small town, there’s not much to do which makes it difficult to meet new people.
5. What would you say is different here in terms of applying for jobs. Is there anything that surprised you?
In Germany it is common to send all your documents when you apply for a position, including not only your CV and a cover letter but also copies of your final reports, qualifications, recommendations etc. No one in the UK ever asked for anything other than CV and cover letter, not even recruitment agencies when you sign up with them. That really surprised me.
6. Do you know any good websites, books or other resources for people who want to improve their English?:
I enjoy Reddit, it’s full of rubbish but you can pick up a lot of colloquial expressions that wouldn’t be used in literature. I also recommend an English language news app, BBC for example. Reading the news in English makes it easier to discuss with friends and colleagues when it comes up in a conversation.
7. What or who has helped you most in terms of developing your language skills?
It’s difficult to say. I speak English all day, everyone speaks English to me, everything I read or write is in English and so on. I couldn’t say which element had the biggest impact.
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?
Yes, there are a few differences but it’s nothing major. In the UK people usually start off on a first name basis whereas in Germany people happily work alongside each other for years before offering the “Du”.
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?
It took some time to get used to learn food is available here and what isn’t. This mainly applies to less common ingredients but was a bit of a pain in the beginning.
I also had to get used to a few customs, such as telephone manner.
10. What food or drinks do you miss most? What are the first things that you buy when you go back to Germany?
I have a list of things but first and foremost I miss German bakeries. Not just for breakfast but as a snack. I’m not a fan of sandwiches, they’re so soft. Instead of getting lunch at M&S I would love to be able to pop into Backfactory for a Mettbrötchen! I also miss all the Turkish and Greek restaurants and take aways.
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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