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Expat Advice: Dream vs. Reality of Expat Life in Cologne, Germany

Submitted by Deutschexpat

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Describe how you "dreamed" expat life would be before you moved overseas. Please provide as much detail as possible.

I moved to go on an adventure. I had no great expectations. What I had was the needed experience in Aerosapce after 5 years with Boeing. I was single and had no ties, so it was easy to leave. As a child, my family moved around and I spent 4 years in the 70s in Puerto Rico. This was a main reason why I decided to go. That and I grew up watching Soccer Made in Germany on PBS. So, I can say I expected to play a lot of soccer!

How has your expat experience met the expectations you dreamed about before you moved abroad?

My experience is more than what I imagined. I married a local girl and built a life. I was able to spend 8 years or so working in F1, the pinnacle for motorsport. I am able to buy my own single family house in a country where house ownership is relatively low compared to the USA. Holiday time is twice to three times as good as in the USA. The family is valued so much more than in the USA. In Germany the "Family" is even written into the constitution! My tax rate in Germany when i first moved, was at the same level that is was when i lived in Baltimore where one had to pay federal, state and city taxes. I had a higher quality of life while being taxed at the same level as being in Baltimore. Taxes are considered high in Germany, but the quality of life is damn good as well.

How has your expat experience NOT met the expectations you dreamed about before you moved abroad?

The back lash against immigration bothers me, of course because I am an immigrant. But then, American's are treated differently that others. This experience came out when the company I would for for this first 2 years became insolvent. Most non Europeans/ non Americans were summarily kicked out of the country. The simple fact is that immigration is good for Germany. Am I also disappointed with the drive of conservatives in Germany to be more like the USA. I am worried that the social safety nets are being weakened.

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Comments about this Report

Feb 1, 2012 10:25

Do you speak enough German to be able to settle down here in Germany? How well do you know the German system to allow you to settle down here? What did you do in Boeing? and what college degree do you have? The unemployment rate in Germany is very high, so how did you as a foreigner land a job with a German company? This also implies you can read and write German fairly well. Do you? Are you a white/European AMerican?

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