Nominación Best Expat Blogs 2019

 

Lo primero, agradecer a Sparpedia.ch la nominación al premio Best Expat Blogs 2019 (mejores blogs expats de 2019). Es la primera nominación que recibo este año, un gran logro para mí como blogger y la confirmación de que hay un par de personas más que leen mi blog, a parte de mi familia y amigos 😉

Una vez dicho esto, me gustaría agradecerte a ti que estés leyendo estas líneas. Si es la primera vez que lees My Expat World: ¡Bienvenid@ a esta aventura!. Si ya habías pasado por aquí otras veces, me gustaría darte las gracias por estar ahí y formar parte de mi vida virtual.

My Expat World es un blog creado para compartir mi viaje, inspirar a otros a descubrir un país extranjero y ayudar a expats (y futuros expats) en Alemania a entender mejor como funciona este increíble país.

Mi nombre es Hor y soy una viajera empedernida amante de los brunchs. Me encantan las actividades al aire libre, descubrir nuevos lugares y la nieve. Encuentra más información sobre mí aquí. 

Si quieres saber más sobre este premio y votar por este blog 😉 sólo tienes que hacer click en el banner que aparece al principio de esta entrada.

Una vez más, gracias a Sparpedia.ch por esta nominación 🙂 🙂

 

 

 

Best Expat Blogs 2019

 

First of all, I would like to thank Sparpedia.ch for nominating me for the Best Expat Blogs 2019 Award. This is the first award I receive this year, a great achievement for me as a blogger and a confirmation that my reader base is now bigger than just my family and friends 😉 .

Having said that, I would also like to thank all my readers for following my expat and traveller journey. If you are new to My Expat World: Welcome to this adventure.

My Expat World is a expat blog created to share my journey, inspire others to move abroad and to help expats (and future expats) in Germany to better understand this amazing country.

My name is Hor and I am a traveller and brunch lover. I enjoy outdoor activities, to discover new places and I LOVE the snow. Find more about me here.

If you want to know more about this award and vote for me 😉 just click on the banner above.

Once again, thank you Sparpedia.ch!

 

 

5 Tips for Getting a Job in Germany

Some time ago I got the chance to discover an online platform which helps expats to understand the german labor market and to get in contact with different employers. This platform, called Employland, is a great tool for international professionals who are looking for new challenges. Therefore, I invited Employland to share some advice with you. Are you ready? Let´s go!:

Planning your next career step in Germany? Not a bad idea. Opportunities for skilled workers and professionals from all over the world are only increasing here. The German economy has been growing steadily and there is a high demand for qualified workers, which cannot be satisfied within the German labor force. Long story short, the German labor market needs international professionals!

Employland, the internet-platform which brings together international professionals and employers in Germany, shares 5 tips for getting a job in Germany

1. Qualifications in high demand in Germany

Are you a nurse, a train conductor, an engineer, or an IT-professional? Then you’re in luck! These professions are some of the skill shortage professions in Germany. Due to Germany’s changing demographic and expanding economy, there is a high need and great lack of skilled labor in Germany. More than one million open job positions have been recorded recently.

Curious to know what other fields are experiencing a skills shortage in Germany? These professions are listed by the Federal Employment Agency in the so called White list, published twice a year.

An important note: Workers in the hotel and gastronomy industry do not appear on that list, but are always in high demand!

2. German language skills wanted for employment in Germany

In some professions, German proficiency is a must-have, as regulated by law. As a nurse, a doctor or a lawyer, for instance you need to prove you have German language proficiency. The required proficiency level may vary from state to state, but typically the B-Level is required.

Even though German language proficiency may not be mandatory for other professions, it is always a plus to have. The German labor market is still not very flexible when it comes to language.

Companies tend to expect employees to have German skills, but as always there are exceptions to the rule. While professionals having to deal with customers need to be proficient in German, IT-professionals may be able to find jobs not mandating German proficiency more easily.

In Germany, the majority of companies has exclusively German as their business language, but there are also some who have English as their business language and things are changing. The skills shortage and the need for international professionals will probably pressure companies to be more flexible when it comes to German language skills. But for now, it’s a good idea to practice your German.

3. Recognition of foreign qualifications in Germany

Even though it might not be mandatory for your particular profession, it may prove useful to have your foreign qualifications recognized. Whether or not you need to have your qualifications recognized depends on your profession. If you want to practice a regulated profession in Germany, you need to have your qualifications recognized.

Regulated professions include that of teacher, physiotherapist, nurse, and medical doctor, for example. If you want to exercise a profession that is not regulated (such as plumber, accountant, or electrician), you do not have to undergo the recognition procedure.

Exception: If you are third-country national and you want to exercise a non-academic profession in Germany, you need to have your qualifications recognized in order to obtain a residence title and practice this profession in Germany.

EU-/EEA-nationals who plan to work in a non-regulated profession in Germany do not need their qualifications recognized. However, they should still keep the following in mind: Training and education systems differ internationally.

Recruiters in Germany may not be able to assess foreign qualification efficiently. While they know which competencies and knowledge to expect from candidates who hold a Master`s or Bachelor`s Degree, your foreign degree may not tell them anything about the duration and content of your studies or training.

The recognition, which includes a description of your qualifications, helps German employers understand your skill and knowledge level. Thus, through qualification recognition you may raise your chances of getting a job.

4. Finding a job in Germany

How do you find a job in Germany? The Internet is obviously the most efficient way to find a job in Germany from abroad.

Check out job portals online, as well as German newspapers’ job markets online. Companies’ career websites are also a good place to look. You probably know social networks like LinkedIn, where you can create your profile.

Have you heard of our Internet platform? We bring together international professionals and German employers. Create your personal profile on our platform www.employland.de free of charge, so that employers from all over Germany can find and contact you.

5. Job Application in Germany

Make sure you know what companies in Germany expect from a job application.

The procedure and norms for applying for a job vary from country to country. For example, a cover letter is a must-have for a German job application, though it is uncommon in many other countries.

A cover letter is a running text in which you describe your motivation and your competencies. It does not reiterate the information that recruiters find in your CV. Instead, the cover letter is a good means to leave a compelling impression and display your personal skills.

Cover letters should be individual, crafted specifically to each company you contact. Recruiters use the cover letter to learn why you want to work in their company specifically, why you are passionate about that exact position, and why you are the one and only candidate to do the job.

Even though the CV seems to be common everywhere, be aware that the structure varies from country to country. A few examples of CV characteristics are how information is formatted, which information about former positions should be included, how detailed descriptions should be, and if a picture should be included. Be sure to have a good idea of how a CV in Germany typically looks before applying.

We wish you great success for your job search in Germany!

 

*About Employland:
Employland is an Internet platform which brings international professionals and companies in Germany together. Professionals from all over the world create their personal profiles free of charge on https://www.employland.de/en. Employers in Germany are able to view these profiles and contact prospective employees. Job placement is free of charge for professionals. In addition, Employland is also able to look after an employee’s residence and work permit and the recognition of qualifications, if requested.

Also check out the Employland blog which offers lots of information about life and work in Germany in German and English language.

 

Bloggers Españoles en Alemania

Como te comenté a través de las redes sociales, hace unos días tuve la oportunidad de conocer en persona a unos cuantos españoles que también comparten sus aventuras por Alemania a través de sus blogs.

La reunión tuvo lugar en Düsseldorf y fue una buena excusa para poder compartir nuestras historias y experiencias en este país y, al mismo tiempo, para pasar un día muy divertido.

Para que tú también tengas la posibilidad de conocerles un poco más y descubrir sus blogs te dejo información a cerca de los mismos:

Caminando entre bosques

¿Siempre has querido visitar la selva negra pero no sabes muy bien por donde empezar? Echa un ojo al blog de Fernando, un apasionado de los paseos kilométricos por la naturaleza (en concreto por la Selva Negra). Pocos españoles conocen esta zona de Alemania mejor que este madrileño, y eso se nota en cada uno de sus posts.

¿Quieres saber más? Haz click en la foto y “viaja” hasta Freiburg y sus alrededores.

Düsseldorf lleva Umlaut

Alba es la encargada de llenar este blog con posts muy interesantes sobre Düsseldorf y sus alrededores. Ella sabe mejor que nadie lo que dejar tu país y adaptarse a una nueva cultura (antes de venir a Alemania vivió en Japón) por lo que te recomiendo que hagas click en la foto y no te pierdas sus consejos.

Perdido en el norte

David, el encargado de dar vida a este blog, es un viajero incansable, antiguo expat en Suiza y enamorado de la naturaleza. Desde hace un tiempo vive en Alemania y gracias a su blog vas a poder descubrir como es la vida de un español en el corazón industrial de este precioso país.

Por cierto, si estás pensando en visitar Holanda o Italia David tiene un par de buenas recomendaciones en su blog 😉 ¡Haz click en la foto para descubrir más!

Vente pa´Alemania Pepe

And last but not least, como dirían los ingleses, el archiconocido blog de Rafael. Seguro que más de una vez te has entretenido leyendo sus posts sobre Alemania. Es el blog por excelencia para cualquier español que este pensando mudarse o que acabe de llegar a este país ¡De la de apuros que nos ha sacado a muchos!

La baja por maternidad y paternidad en Alemania

La vida laboral en Alemania difiere en muchos sentidos de la española, como ya has podido ver en alguno de mis posts. Por un lado tenemos distintos horarios de trabajo, aquí se empieza y se termina antes la jornada laboral, y por otro lado tenemos otras condiciones laborales. Con esto último me refiero, entre otras cosas, a que no es lo mismo ponerse enfermo en España o en Alemania.

Una de las mayores diferencias en el ámbito laboral es la manera que ambos países tienen de entender la maternidad y la paternidad. Mientras que un país este periodo puede llegar a ser entendido como un gasto para algunas empresas, en el otro es mayoritariamente entendido como una época de la vida de la que hay que disfrutar.

Para que entiendas mejor a que me estoy refiriendo te voy a explicar, a través de los conceptos más importantes, como funciona la baja por maternidad y paternidad en Alemania:

Mutterschutz

Empecemos por la palabra más importante de todas: La baja por maternidad. El Mutterschutz es el tiempo que tiene una mujer para prepararse y descansar antes y después del parto. Algunos datos significativos de la baja por maternidad:

  • Dura 14 semanas, 6 semanas antes del parto y las 8 primeras semanas después del mismo (ampliables a 12 semanas en caso de parto múltiple)
  • El seguro por enfermedad (Krankenkasse) cubre un máximo de 13€ al día con un tope máximo de 390€ al mes, el resto lo cubre tu empleador. Vamos a ver con un ejemplo como funciona esto:

Frau Müller (típico nombre alemán 😉 ) ha ganado en los tres meses anteriores a su baja por maternidad un salario bruto de  2.800€, que en neto se le quedan en unos 1.950€ al mes. Si calculamos cuanto ha ganado al día durante los últimos 3 meses vemos que su sueldo neto diario eran 65€ (1.950*3 = 5.850€/90 = 65€). En este caso la Krankenkasse cubre 13€ y los 52€ restantes los cubre el empleador.

  • Si Frau Müller tuviese un seguro privado, este le pagará 210€ en un sólo pago.
  • Durante el tiempo que dura el mutterschutz la persona podrá seguir cobrando su sueldo (Mutterschaftgeld).
  • El empleador no puede despedir a la persona que se encuentra en perido de Mutterschutz mientras este dure, ya que esta persona está protegida por la ley alemana de protección contra el despido.

Elterngeld

El Elterngeld es una ayuda que reciben los padres de los recién nacidos que sólo puede cobrarse durante los 14 primeros meses de vida de la criatura y que debe dividirse entre los dos progenitores.

El importe de la ayuda dependerá del sueldo neto del progenitor que la solicite. Una persona que cobre menos de 1.000€ recibirá entre el 100 y el 67% del salario neto, en cambio, una persona que cobre más de 1.240€ netos recibirá un 65% de su salario neto (con un limite de 2.770€ al mes).

¿Quién puede cobrar esta ayuda?

  • Las personas que se han convertido en padres recientemente (esto incluye también personas que acaban de adoptar un hijo). En caso de parto multiple se cobrará la misma cantidad por cada hijo. Si una mujer tiene gemelos multiplicará el importe por dos.
  • Si los padres de la criatura no han trabajo en los meses anteriores al nacimiento recibirán sólo 300€ mensuales de ayuda.
  • Si los ingresos anuales del solicitante superan los 250.00€, este no tendrá derecho a la ayuda.

Elternzeit

Esta parte es muy diferente a España, o al menos no conozco a nadie que haya tenido estas facilidades en mi país de origen, por lo que voy a explicar como funciona por puntos:

  • El Elternzeit es una excedencia se puede disfrutar en cualquier momento durante los 3 primeros de años de vida del recién nacido.
  • Esta excedencia puede ser una suspensión completa de las horas de trabajo o, simplemente, una reducción de la jornada laboral.
  • Los dos progenitores tienen derecho a la misma. Te pongo un par de ejemplos que he vivido de cerca para entenderlo mejor:

– Ejemplo 1: Una pareja de amigos decidieron dividir su Elternzeit entre los dos, por lo que cada uno se cogió 6 meses (ella los 6 primeros, él los siguientes) y disfrutaron de una suspensión completa de jornada laboral para poder quedarse en casa con su primer hijo.

– Ejemplo 2: En cambio, otro par de amigos míos decidieron hacer una repartición diferente del Elternzeit. Mientras que ella cogió 12 meses de excedencia, tras el Mutterschutz, él disfrutó sólo de dos, uno en verano y otro al poco de nacer su primera hija.

  • En este caso los progenitores también están protegidos por la ley alemana de protección contra el despido y durante el periodo de Elternzeit no pueden ser despedidos de su empresa. Al mismo tiempo, durante esta excedencia ellos tampoco podrán terminar su contrato laboral hasta una vez terminado el Elternzeit.
  • ¿Cuándo puedo solicitar esta “baja”? Con 7 semanas de antelación. Para las madres es más sencillo, ya que cuentan con 8 semanas de baja tras el parto. Los padres, en cambio, tienen que solicitarla 7 semanas antes de la fecha estimada del parto si quieres estar de excedencia justo después del nacimiento.

Y tú, ¿has tenido hijos en Alemania? ¿Conoces de cerca el funcionamiento del Mutterschutz y el Elternzeit? ¡Anímate a compartir tu experiencia con nosotros comentando este post ó a través de las redes sociales!

 

 

Summer holidays

It is almost one year since My Expat World started this adventure. Thanks to you guys my previous small, familiar blog turned into a platform where we could share our experiences, learn more about Germany and the German way of life, as well as to travel the world.

Thanks to the blog I got to know different kind of people from all around the world who have extraordinary lives which inspire others not only to keep enjoying every single second but to share all those experiences with us.

You are my motivation to keep blogging.

Every time I receive some questions regarding Germany, every time you comment my social posts, every time you contact me to get some advice for you expat adventure… Those moments make me keep writing and developing amazing content for you. However, life had other plans for me the past few months and I was no able to write and develop quality content.

Sometimes life has other plans and people need to stop. However, I would like to keep in contact with you via Instagram with #SummerTheWorld

This lack of time made me realize that I need to take some time off to re-discover my blog, to write quality posts which answer all your questions, to put all my travel experiences together and to build up an amazing story which can be shared with you (and of course which be useful for you). In conclusion, I need to take some holidays to recharge my energy and provide you with better posts.

What does it mean?

It means that My Expat World is going on summer holidays, although it would be better to call it “creative holidays”.

During this weeks I am going to produce new content for the blog, in fact, I would like to start answering all  of your questions regarding Germany, the expat life and some of my trips before creating new content (If you still  have any question do not hesitate to contact me through the social networks or just by sending me an E-mail to expattheworld@gmail.com, I will be truly happy to help you J ).

#SummerTheWorld

I would also like to inform you that this is just a creative break on the blog, which does not mean that I will be offline and disconnected from you. Quite the opposite!

In fact, I would like to be connected with you via Instagram.

As I previously mentioned, your stories are motivating and inspiring, as well as a way to keep in touch. That is the reason why I would like to invite you to use the #SummerTheWorld so that we can be connected during this period of “creative holidays”.

No matter is you tag a selfie, a picture on the beach or just a picture of the coffee machine of your company, the important thing is to keep in touch during the summer time. Do you want to join this game? I am super exited and looking forward to see all your pictures 🙂

Furthermore, if you want to remember all the good things we lived together this past year you can always follow me on Facebook and Twitter, where I will keep posting information about Germany and other countries such as Greece, Spain, The Netherlands and more. And, of course, I will try to keep recommend you places for our traditional #SundayBrunch on Twitter (if you have never heard about it you can always follow my twitter account to join this tradition).

When am I posting new content again?

My idea is to come back to you in the middle of September (what a great idea to celebrate the first year of this blog, isn´t it?) so that I have time enough to put all your questions together, to organize my ideas and to create interesting content for you.

Once again, before I go on holidays, I would like to thank you for being part of this project, for sharing your experiences with me, for being curious and for contacting me. Thank you for making this blog possible! Thank you for being there!

I hope we read us again after the summer. In the meanwhile let´s #SummerTheWorld together!

Have a nice summer!!! Tons of love and gratitude for you!!

Vacaciones de verano

Aunque llevo en esto del bloggear desde hace ya algún tiempo, fue hace un año cuando decidí emprender un nuevo proyecto con mi blog.

Fuisteis vosotros los que de una manera u otra lo pedisteis; más visitas cada día, e-mails pidiendo información sobre Alemania, más experiencias compartidas… Fue entonces cuando me di cuenta de que ese pequeño diario online que yo tenía por aquel entonces podía convertirse en una plataforma para ayudar a otra gente a través de información sobre este país que tan bien me ha acogido.

Al mismo tiempo no quería perder la esencia de “Dusseldorf Moments”, mi diario online, por lo que decidí seguir compartiendo mis experiencias como expat y mis viajes por el mundo.

Sin embargo, la vida da muchas vueltas y desde hace unos meses tengo la sensación de que este blog ha perdido parte de su esencia, y no porque no escriba o porque no me sigáis contactando y pidiendo información, sino porque el tiempo que estoy dedicando a escribir nuevos posts no es el que me gustaría. Digamos que la vida ha decidido que mi vida profesional ocupa gran parte de  mi tiempo, lo que hace que me sienta un poco incómoda con el blog ya que, os lo voy a confesar, muchas veces tengo que hacer malabares para escribir algo nuevo.

¿Qué quiero decir con todo esto?

Si estabais pensando que lo dejo, que tiro la toalla, ibais por el camino incorrecto.

Cada día sois más los que me seguís, los que compartís vuestro día a día conmigo, los que leéis mis aventuras y los que queréis más información y nuevo contenido. Ahora que hemos llegado hasta aquí esto no puede parar, todo lo contrario, el blog debe seguir con más fuerza y energía que nunca.

La vida da muchas vueltas, a veces se necesita parar, aunque quiero seguir conectada con vosotros. Por eso os propongo un juego con el #SummerTheWorld en Instagram.

Por todo ello he decidido tomarme unas vacaciones. Sí, señoras y señores, ¡me voy de vacaciones!

Digamos que son vacaciones físicas y creativas al mismo tiempo. Quiero crear nuevo contenido, compartir nuevos datos y curiosidades con vosotros y que nos sigamos conociendo. Para ello tengo que parar, recuperar historias, rememorar todos los viajes y momentos vividos estos últimos meses para poder hablaros de ellos de la manera que vosotros me estáis pidiendo.

¿Qué va a pasar en vacaciones?

Durante este periodo vacacional vamos a seguir en contacto, eso tenedlo por seguro 🙂

Para que podáis rememorar todo lo que hemos vivido este último año e informaros sobre la vida expat en Alemania sólo tenéis que seguir la página de Expat the World en Facebook (anímate pinchando aquí si aún no eres fan) y ya sabéis, para cualquier duda no dudéis en contactarme por PM o a mi E-mail (expattheworld.gmail.com), que voy a estar de vacaciones pero no desconectada de la web 😉

#SummerTheWorld

Porque no sólo yo tengo experiencias veraniegas que contar, me gustaría también ver las vuestras y que vosotros veáis las de los demás. ¿A dónde quiero llegar con esto? Bien, me gustaría proponeros un juego.

Durante el próximo mes os propongo usar el #SummerTheWorld en Instagram para contarnos que tal van estos días estivales.

No importa si os sacáis un selfie, si hacéis una foto a un paisaje maravilloso o si, simplemente, hacéis una foto a la máquina de café de la oficina, lo importante es que estemos en contacto. ¿Os animáis?

¿Cuándo veréis nuevo contenido?

A mediados de Septiembre volveré con nuevo contenido, que mejor manera de celebrar el primer aniversario del blog ;), ¿no creéis?

Además, me gustaría, y voy a intentarlo, comenzar respondiendo a muchas de vuestras preguntas sobre Alemania y la vida aquí, así que si aún tenéis dudas o queréis información más concreta sobre algún tema no dudéis en contactar conmigo por Facebook, por E-mail (arriba tenéis todos los datos) o por Twitter, os responderé lo antes posible bien a través de las redes o en forma de post (como vosotros me prefiráis :)).

Antes de despedirme e iniciar mi periodo de reflexión estival me gustaría daros las gracias a todos por estar ahí, por seguir leyendo el blog, por darme ideas para escribir y por compartir vuestras experiencias conmigo (y con todos los que leen el blog).

Gracias a esta plataforma he e-conocido gente extraordinaria, con dotes para la escritura y con un gran fondo.

Desde aquí me gustaría desear mucho ánimo a Al otro lado del charco  en su nueva aventura y a Dusseldorf lleva Umlaut en su verano de descanso (chicas, espero releeros pronto 🙂 ) y, sobre todo me gustaría darte las gracias a ti.

A ti que estás leyendo este post. Gracias por estar ahí. Gracias por leerme. Gracias por inspirarme. Gracias por compartir.

FELIZ VERANO A TOD@S!!

Nos vemos en Instagram! #SummerTheWorld

Art in Düsseldorf: Tomas Saraceno In Orbit

Hey guys! How are you? Long time no see. It is more than one month since I posted something new.

Last month was a busy time for me but I am back and ready to tell you more about our expat adventures here in Düsseldorf.

A couple of weekends ago I had a really special visit. Some old friends came here to celebrate the bachelorette of one of them. I was so excited!! We wanted to prepare a perfect weekend for her and, at the same time, I wanted them to discover this incredible part of Germany.

Therefore I organized a beer taste evening at the Beer Craft Festival in Düsseldorf, a tour around Cologne (the sun shined the whole day :)) and another beer taste afternoon, but this time in Düsseldorf.

However, I was not satisfied enough. I wanted to offer my friends the possibility to enjoy something different, something unique. But what could I do?

Suddenly I realized about something; there is still one thing you can do in Düsseldorf that you can´t do at any other place (and it is not beer related 😉 ).

To carry out my plan I convinced my friends to spend some time in a museum. Although that weather was perfect, I mean, we had more than 20 degrees and a splendid sun shinning above us, they accepted to make some indoor activity.

The exhibition

The museum chosen to experience something unique was the impressive, well known K21 Museum.

One of the main exhibitions of this awesome museum is called In Orbit, an enormous installation suspended at a high of more than 25 meters, created by the argentinian artist Tomás Saraceno.

The physically accessible work is constructed of steel mesh that interlaces three levels. Five air filled spheres are located within the net structure.

Visitors are welcomed to enter the installation, during 10 minutes, and explore it by climbing it from the inside. Those brave enough to venture into this unique piece of art will experience a mix of feelings up there.

If you suffer from vertigo I would sadly not recommend you to enjoy this “floating in the sky” adventure, unless you feel brave enough to walk 25 meters above the floor.

Inside the installation

As previously mentioned, the installation is a construction of steel mesh that interlaces three levels. To access this art work you will be provided with a special suit to prevent personal things falling down to the museum visitors down below. Furthermore, the museum staff will also provide you with a special pair of shoes so that you can walk safety inside the net.

The entrance to the structure is located at the third level in order that the visitor can decide the path he wants to follow during his visit.

Usually I like to start at the third level to come down calmly until the first one. Personally, I think this is the best way to avoid the initial shock of being 25 meters high protected only by some steel cables.

I must admit that, although I have already visited this exhibition more than 3 times, I am still impressed by the height once I reach the first level of the net.

Price, opening hours & more

The museum opening hours are the following:

  • Tuesday to Friday from 10.00 am until 18.00 pm
  • Saturday, Sunday & holiday from 11.00 am until 18.00 pm

The admission price is 12,00€ (9,00€ for children)

Here you can find more information about the museum.

I hope you are brave enough to enjoy this unique experience! 🙂

 

The Expat Tag

A couple of days ago I discover the blog “Going American“, written by Sandra, a girl from Zurich who has just moved to Boston.

Among her interesting posts I found out one called “The Expat Tag“, where she threw together a few questions, inspired by an expat tag she saw somewhere around, as a way to keep in touch with other bloggers. I found it a great idea, therefore I thought I might also give it a go.

So, Sandra, following you can find my answers:

1. Where were you born, where did you grow up and where do you currently live?

I was born in Spain and after living in different countries I ended up in Germany

2. What made you leave your home country?

Actually, I left my country due to curiosity. I wanted to see the world, to discover other countries and to meet new people. Some adventure is good from time to time 😉

What type of reactions do you get when you meet new people and tell them where you are from?

Usually people tend to tell me something in spanish; “hola”, “sangría” or “paella” are the most common words people say.

Another usual thing is to ask me about the weather; “do you miss the sun?”. They get really surprised when I explain them that the sun does not always shine in Spain.

3. What was the easiest/hardest part in adjusting to your new country?

Thanks to all the people I have met since I arrived here I got a fast and easy integration. I attended to german parties, I lived and met german people, I worked with germans… All this non-international atmosphere helped me to learn and to get used to its culture and traditions.

However, it took me a while to get used to german food. People here use tons of sauce when cooking, and, at the beginning, I found it really hard  since I am used to the mediterranean diet.

4. Images, words or sounds that sum up the expat experience you’ve had so far.

expat tag
Discover an amazing country

 

Expat Friends´ Trips
Expat Friends´ Trips

 

New flavors
New flavors

5. Your favorite food or drink item in your new country?

I love their cakes. I think germans really know how to prepare good cakes and to serve them good a huge cup of warm tea or coffee.

Regarding the german drinks, I must confess that I really like the Altbier (the traditional Düsseldorf beer). My favourite one is brewed in the Schumacher Brauerei.

What’s the one thing you said “yes” to in your new city that you wouldn’t say “yes” to, back home?

I think this is a tough question. Actually I am not sure about the asnwer. I think I have always tried to be myself regardless of where I live, however, I know I have exeperience an inner change since I live here but, sadly, I can´t give a particular example…

6. Are there any cultural norms/phrases in your new country which you cannot stand?

I know I shouldn´t say this but… Waiting for the traffic light signal to turn green. I have already get used to it, but my first months here were a chaos. I wanted to cross the street and keep walking all the time.

Nowadays the opposite happens to me. Everytime I come back to Spain I am the only person who waits for the signal to turn green… Upsss…

7. What do you enjoy most doing in your new country?

I enjoy discovering it.

Germany is a country full of contrasts. Each region has different food, cakes, beers and even a different way to talk German! I found it really enriching as an expat.


8. Do you think you will ever move home for good?

I don´t know… I do not like to think about it. If one day I feel I have to move again I will do it. If I never get that feeling I will stay here.

The best plan is to have no plan 😉

#expattag

Carnival season

carnival cologne germany

Carnival is one of the most important events in the NRW (North Rhein Westphalia) region. Probably you have already heard about the Cologne Carnival, the fifth season of the year, one of the most celebrated events in Germany. But, why do germans celebrate carnival in such an intense way? Which is the symbolism of this celebration? 

To answer these questions we need to understand that Carnival has been celebrated in cities such as Cologne from time immemorial, in fact, it is difficult to find more information regarding the first time that a Carnival celebration took place.

However, during the french occupation, leaded by Napoleon, these celebrations were suspended.

In 1814, once the french troops left the city of Cologne, its citizens reestablished the carnival tradition as a part of a German revival. In 1823,  the “Festordnenedes Komitee”, the predecessor of todays Festival Committee, was founded to “organize” the street festival, which was getting out of hands.

The same year, on the 10th of February 1823, took place the first “Rosenmontag” of the city of Cologne. Given its Christian roots the date of “Rosenmontag” is determined by the church calendar. It takes usually place the monday before Ash Wednesday.

Traditionally, the fifth season of the year, is declared open the 11th November at 11 minutes past 11 hour. At that time people stop working and the carnival celebration starts.

Does Carnival take place only in Cologne?

As I previously mentioned, carnival celebrations take place in the whole NRW region, due its catholic roots. Some other cities where to enjoy this festivity are Düsseldorf, Bonn, Aachen and Dortmund.

Although all of the above mentioned cities celebrate the same festivity (carnival)  each of them has its own carnival troupes, parades and celebrations.

How can I celebrate Carnival?

If you want to have some insights about carnival celebrations I recommend you to read the following posts:

5 Tips To Celebrate Carnival

Carnival vocabulary you should learn to do not miss anything

Carnival: The fifth season of the year