Expat Voices: Kristine Young on living in Germany

Expat Voices: Kristine Young on living in Germany

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American Kristine Young, who is based in Nuremberg, misses modernity–cutting edge art and culture but loves the abundance of nature activities nearby.

Name: Kristine Young
Nationality: American
City of residence: Nuremberg
Occupation:  Marketing Manager
Reason for moving to Germany: Job relocation

What was your first impression of Germany? 
Difficult for a foreigner to adjust.  Lots of bureaucracy and systems that are hard to understand. People are not so friendly. Amazing places to travel to close by.

What do you think of the food?
Hearty, monotonous--not a lot of spices, rich and creamy.

What do you think of the shopping in Germany?
Both inconvenient and expensive; I prefer to do my shopping outside of Germany.

What do you appreciate about living in Germany?
The work-life balance is amazing and I have lots of time off to explore the beautiful areas nearby. I like the abundance of nature activities.

What do you find most frustrating about living in Germany?
The customer service is horrible and processes are over complicated.  There isn’t enough support for foreigners; for instance, a lack of English language documentation. Things are expensive considering how much you earn and get taxed. 

Photo © joiseyshowaa

 Nuremberg Town Hall from the top floor of the Town Museum

What puzzles you about German culture and what do you miss since you’ve moved here?
Germans are very reserved and do not make a lot of conversation. I find meals and social gatherings very awkward because there are a lot of silences with people sitting around just looking at each other.

I miss social chatter. I miss good quality ethnic food and variety in food.  I miss modernity–cutting edge art and culture (I know this exists in other parts of Germany, just not where I live). 

How does the quality of life in Germany compare to the quality of life in other countries that you’ve lived in?
It’s a lower quality of life when it comes to material things. It’s a higher quality of life when it comes to time off from work. 

If you could change anything about Germany, what would it be?
I would make it a more social, friendly culture, more open to modern culture, with more international cuisine and less bureaucracy.

What advice would you give to a newcomer?
The best thing about Germany is its position in Central Europe – take full advantage of it!

If you would like to share your perspective about life in Germany and contribute to Expat Voices, send an email to editorial@expatica.com with 'Please send me an Expat Voices questionnaire' in the subject line.
Photo credit: joiseyshowaa

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2 Comments To This Article

  • Kristine posted:

    on 10th February 2010, 13:25:28 - Reply

    Thanks Robin for the positive feedback! I also had the same feeling when I went back to the US, I couldn't believe how chatty everyone was! Happy to hear that slowly you adjust and can start to see things from the other side. And also happy that I'm not the only one who feels this way.
  • Robin posted:

    on 10th February 2010, 11:29:07 - Reply

    You expressed my sentiments exactly!
    However, I have culture shock when you go home because everyone is so loud, so friendly--at least I feel as though people are invading my personal space all the time now!! That's after 6 years. I also find that people are more identified by their jobs and would prefer to work than have down time...or maybe don't know how to deal with downtime. I certainly didn't!! Used to think the suggestion of walking on the trail with someone was the most boring thing I could think of, but now I really enjoy it.
    Again, thank you for your article....and for expressing my feeings exactly.