I’ve been planning this move to Germany since last July and am so excited to finally be sharing the news with you all! Here’s the rundown on what I’ll be doing overseas, where I plan on living, and more!
I’ve been meaning to write this blog post for months now, but I’ve kept putting it off. If it’s not clear from the title of this post, I have a pretty massive life update to share with you all…
I’M MOVING TO GERMANY!!!!
Holy smokes, my hands started shaking after writing that. I’m so excited and so nervous about this move, and I think the reason I kept putting off telling you that I was moving was because it felt like an out of body experience. Since July of last year, I’ve known that I wanted to move to Germany, but the lease for my current apartment expired in August and that felt way too soon for me to pack up my life in NYC and move to a different continent. So I called my landlord and asked if he’d be willing to extend our lease for a few months instead of a full year (like we’ve done the last two years to renew our lease), and he agreed to extend our lease until May 1st.
Since renewing my lease, I’ve been working my butt off to expand my SEO consulting business — which has presented its own unique array of learning experiences — while simultaneously prepping for the biggest move of my life. No pressure, right? But I’m getting way ahead of myself. I’m going to do my best to break down where I’m at right now and how this whole Germany plan came together.
The number one question I’ve gotten from close friends and family about this move is ‘Why Germany?’ And I understand where they’re coming from — I already live in NYC (arguably the most exciting city in the US), have put down roots here, and have an amazing apartment and roommate. Why the heck would I want to give all that up?
The simplest, most honest answer I can give is this: I’ve just always wanted to move to Germany. One of my mom’s best friends is from Germany, and she made a big impression on me as a child. I thought her being able to speak German was the coolest thing ever, and I loved hearing stories about her hometown. So when I started high school and found out my school offered German classes, I jumped at the chance to take them. From day one, I was totally in love with the German language and culture. I know it’s not a place most people automatically love (like Italy or France or someplace equally romantic sounding), but for me it was love from the get go.
The first time I visited Germany was in high school. I had a German exchange student (hi Hannah!), and we each spent one month at each other’s houses, eating meals with our families and attending school together. And then in college I studied in Freiburg, and to this day that’s the only place I’ve ever felt homesick for. When I left Freiburg (sobbing, I might add), I was desperate to find my way back somehow. But I didn’t think there was any way for me to live in Germany again unless I was a student and got a visa that way.
Fast forward to June 2018 — I got laid off, started my own business, and realized this was my opportunity to hop the pond. As scary as it seems to leave everyone I know behind, I know that I will regret it for the rest of my life if I don’t at least try to obtain a German visa and make the move. So yeah, that’s the most concise answer I have as to why I want to move to Germany.
What part of Germany?
I’m 95% positive I want to move to Berlin. It just makes the most sense for me right now since Berlin is the NYC of Germany. It’s young and vibrant, has lots of museums, is packed with history, and it’s one of the most affordable capital cities in Europe. Plus, I’ve visited twice before and really enjoyed it.
For a while, I was considering moving to Hamburg since one of my good friends lives there, but I think Berlin is the smarter choice. Hamburg is less than two hours away from Berlin, though, so I can easily take the train to see my friend. She’s from Scotland, so a two-hour train ride is a vast improvement from how far apart we used to live!
Do I Speak German?
Ja! I took German classes throughout high school, then majored in Germanic Studies in college. I started taking German lessons again last May, because I realized my language skills were slipping (I did not want my American accent to creep back into my German!). Looking back, I feel like the universe was preparing me for getting laid off. I mean, what are the odds that I would wake up one day in May determined to start taking German lessons again? At that point, I had no clue that my company would be doing a huge round of layoffs soon, nor did I think I’d be moving to Germany ever. I simply wanted to speak German again!
My lessons were another big reason why I decided to pursue this move; it just felt like my whole world was coming together (albeit messily), like of course I’m going to move to Germany now that I’m free to do whatever I want!
Do I Know Anyone in Germany?
I’ve kept tabs on my high school exchange student over the years and some of the German friends I made through her. But the only person in Germany I’m really close with is my Scottish friend living in Hamburg. I’m not worried about making friends though! When I moved to NYC, I knew nobody, and within the first year of living in the city I had met so many incredible people and felt totally at home.
When am I Moving?
My lease is up May 1st, and I’ll be flying to Hamburg on the 28th. It feels so far away, yet also so soon.
Do I Already Have a Visa?
No, which is why moving to Germany is a bit of a gamble. I have to wait until I’m in-country to apply for a visa, but I can only apply for a visa once I’m signed up for German health insurance, have a German bank account, and have secured an apartment in Berlin. It’s a bit of a Catch 22, isn’t it? I’m sure I’ll be writing posts in the future about the visa application process, so I won’t go into the details now!
What Will I Do Once I’m There?
I plan on spending my first week in Germany exploring Hamburg with my friend — I thought it best to begin this new chapter of my life with someone I’ve known for a long time. I’m not prone to homesickness or anything like that, but since this is such a big move I wanted there to be a friendly face waiting for me at the other side, you know?
After my time in Hamburg, I’ll take the train to Berlin and stay in an AirBNB until I secure an apartment. I have 90 days to schedule my visa appointment, but there’s no guarantee the appointment will occur within the first 90 days. So until I have the appointment and am told yay or nay about the visa, I can’t leave the country or work for German companies. I can, however, continue working with my US-based clients (which is why I’ve been trying to expand my client base leading up to the move).
How Long Will I Be in Germany?
I have no clue! There’s no guarantee that I’ll be given a visa, so if that’s the case I’ll be in-country for three(ish) months. And if I do get a visa (fingers crossed!), it’ll be good for one year. I’ll then have the option to renew it.
My Immediate Next Steps in the Moving Process
My to-do list is about a mile long at this point, but for now I’m focused on purging my possessions to make the move easier (side note: it’s shocking how much stuff I’ve accumulated after just three years in this apartment). My dad will be coming to New York at the end of April to move my stuff back home to Indiana. I’ll be driving back with him and will be in the Indianapolis area until I move at the end of the month. During that month at home, I anticipate having lots of last-minute appointments, coffee dates with friends, etc.
Phew! That was a lot of information to throw at you. Like I said, I’ll be periodically sharing updates about the move, and once I’m in Germany and have settled down somewhat, you can expect lots of Germany content coming your way. If you have any questions about my move, please leave me a comment!
Tell me: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
PS. I took all of these photos the last time I was in Germany (2015). So if you were wondering why I have such a babyface in the first picture, that’s why!