Expat Voices: Lizzie Mason on living in Frankfurt

Expat Voices: Lizzie Mason on living in Frankfurt

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British expat Lizzie enjoys living in Frankfurt, although she initially did experience culture shock. 'Give it time," she advises, "This feeling does go away I promise!"

Name: Lizzie Mason
Nationality: British
City of residence: Frankfurt
Date of birth: 1 July 1988
Civil status: Single
Occupation: Teacher/Teaching Assistant
Reason for moving to Germany: Work
Lived in Germany for nearly 4 months

What was your first impression of Germany?
Germany seems to be a very well regulated country. When looking at Frankfurt for the first time, the most interesting observation that I made was about the cleanliness and neatness of the main high streets and shopping areas. I get the impression that Germany, or in particular those living in Frankfurt, take a lot of pride in their appearance and their surroundings.
Frankfurt Main (Hauptbahnhof) Talke Photography (flickr.com)What do you think of the food?
Not a fan. Considering I hate beer and sausages I have often been told that I have moved to the wrong country. Having said that, Frankfurt is a very international city, so I have had the opportunity to dine at every type of restaurant from traditional German to Thai fusion.

What do you think of the shopping in Germany?
So far my experience is limited, having not had any time off work for a serious shopping expedition (insert sad face). The Zeil, which is the main shopping street on Frankfurt, has some serious brand names, Zara, Mango and Prada can all be found in and around the main shopping area. For those of us on a lower budget, there are plenty of the usual high street names to satisfy, including H&M and, if rumour is correct, a Primark!

What do you appreciate about living in Germany?
Living in Germany had enabled me to gain a great insight to a completely new culture. I feel that I have already learned a great deal about the German culture, especially through my work in school, where I get to see German families acting out their lives on a daily basis. I also appreciate the great public transport system! Having lived in a village where I had to wait for an hourly bus to town, the ease of the U-Bahn can be a-likened to a miracle.

What do you find most frustrating about living in Germany?
Not having such a good grasp on the language yet can be quite frustrating at times. But the most frustrating thing so far is the customer service. I hate having to wait to pay my tab in a bar; it always feels like the waiter/waitress is making a detour through Timbuktu. I’m also not fond of the way they send things flying off the end of the till when you are paying in the supermarket. I often wonder if we are practicing for a new German version of Supermarket Sweep.

What puzzles you about Germany and what do you miss since you’ve moved here?
I miss roast dinner. This is one of the main reasons I am so excited to be going at Christmas. Especially when a German friend told me that they celebrate on Christmas Eve with yet more sausages and potatoes. I also miss not having to try and translate things in my head before blurting them out – less humiliating ‘you should think before you speak’ moments, but ultimately less fun.

Frankfurt at sunset: Joris Machielse (flickr.com)

How does the quality of life in Germany compare to the quality of life in other countries that you’ve lived in?
Having only lived in the UK I don’t really have many comparisons. But I can say that here in Frankfurt the standard of living is very high. Most people here are working for large companies and, of course, the finance industry. This goes a short way to explaining the high street full of Prada and Chanel.  

If you could change anything about Germany, what would it be?
I wouldn’t choose to change anything. Germany has good bits and bad bits like all countries, but it is unique and wonderful for it. There wouldn’t be any point in choosing to explore a new country if you just spent your time fantasizing about what you wished you could change. Focus on what’s there – I think this would be more useful.

What advice would you give to a newcomer?
Give it time. The first couple of weeks were a complete shock to the system. As a generally confident person I felt completely like a stranded child. This feeling does go away I promise! After I had made a few friends and settled in, it started feeling much more like home. I would also advise trying to have as many different circles of friends as possible both in and out of work. This will not only improve your social life, but also ensure that you have plenty of people to help you out when you need it.

Would you like to add anything?
Frankfurt is a great city. When I say it’s international I really mean it. I have only been here for a short amount of time, and I have already met people from all over the world, doing different work at different stages of life. Moving to Germany has been, without a doubt, the best and most interesting life choice I have made (and if that’s not good advertising, I don’t know what is). 


Joining Expat Voices

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Photo credits:
Talke Photography (Flickr.com)--Frankfurt Main (Hauptbahnhof)

Joris Machielse (Flickr.com)--Frankfurt at sunset: The week before Christmas

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