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An Expat Talks about Living in Brandis im Wurzen, Germany

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Brandis im Wurzen

How long have you lived there?

One Year

What activities, clubs and organizations would you recommend to newcomers to help them meet others?

Brandis is a small village with few formal organizations. We have relied on our own efforts to connect with locals, starting primarily with the store owners and doctors we are using. Its slow, but working.

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In terms of religious, racial, economic and cultural diversity, are the people of this city or town diverse? Are they accepting of differences? Describe.

Several times we have had locals tell us that an American in Brandis is like a Brandiser on the moon. They are curious why we are here, but politely so. Very few foreigners, but a surprising number of Germans who have lived in the US for short contract work periods. We have met more than ten people like this. Differences they do not approve of are often remarked upon directly, you need a thick skin. But women in particular are open to learning different, more effective ways to do things when they see me do things differently.

What are the main industries in this city? What types of career opportunities commonly exist? How do most people find new jobs?

Most residents work in Leipzig or the suburbs. The city is about 25 miles from here. Commuting is expensive, so most families have only one car. Some take the train to work. A few work at the local nursing home for the elderly.

In general, what are peoples' priorities in this city? For example, do lives revolve around work, family, socializing, sports, etc.?

Family, vacation and leisure travel, work, gardening.

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If a friend of yours was thinking of moving to this city or town from far away, what other advice would you give them.

Learn German first. Learn the language before coming. Learn to speak and understand the spoken language. Otherwise, you have no hope. Most here speak German and Russian. Only the very young, under 16 know much English at all. And the local library has fewer books than most homes.

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