House Hunting & House Hunters with Shanon

October 18, 2018

Season 1, Episode 16. Fellow Freiburger Shanon Turner joins us to exchange stories of apartment hunting. Shanon, who has lived in Freiburg for 3 years, has lived in a series of WGs, or Wohngemeinschaft/shared apartment, as well as two private apartments. From getting the mayor to write her a letter of recommendation for an apartment application to sitting down to Kaffee & Kuchen, or coffee & cake, with potential landlords, Shanon has experienced it all.

Nicole and Shanon also run through common apartment terms, like defining what warm/warm and kalt/cold means, explaining how Germans count rooms in an apartment listing, and what unexpected aspects to look out for (does "kitchen" mean room for you to bring your own kitchen, or a fully equipped kitchen?).

Nicole shares her own apartment hunting story, which involved going on a reality TV show called House Hunters International. She explains how she got on, what the experience was like, and how she feels about her apartment now.

 

RESOURCES

Relevant blog posts:

Expat Focus's resource guide 

Live Work Germany's resource guide 

From Cherry to Kirsche's blog post

 

Websites to search:

WG Gesucht 

Immobilien Scout 24 

eBay Kleinanzeigen 

Immonet 

Immowelt 

Wohnungsboerse

Null-Provision 

Search Facebook for "wohnung + [name of your city/town]" to find Facebook groups for apartments and WGs.

 

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COMMUNICATE

Got questions, comments, topic ideas, funny anecdotes? Email us at theexpatcast@gmail.com.

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Voting Rights Abroad with Duncan

October 11, 2018

Season 1, Episode 15. Did you know that American citizens, no matter where they are in the world, are eligible to vote? With the upcoming November 6 election in the United States in mind, The Expat Cast sits down with Duncan Gromko, an American voting rights enthusiast in Freiburg, Germany. Host Nicole talks with Duncan about how to register, request a ballot, and vote from wherever you are in the world. With congress's recent appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court despite Dr. Christine Blasey Ford's allegations of sexual assault against him, Americans on both sides of the aisle are seeing in real-time the importance of voting, even in non-Presidential election years, like 2018. Americans can check out the links in the show notes to find out how to register and vote in the upcoming midterm election for the Senate, House of Representatives, and local matters. Historically, only 4% of the estimated 9 million Americans living abroad vote in midterm elections. Let's do better this time, fellow American expats!

Starting at  22:20, Duncan talks about the non-profit Wahlkreis 100%, which advocates for non-EU citizens' right to vote in local elections in Germany. Duncan shares why he's involved with this group and believes in their mission, how others can get involved, and what impact a non-EU citizen vote would have on local matters. We touch on common pros and cons relevant to the debate, and discuss what stipulations might be needed for voting rights to be granted.

 

RESOURCES

Vote from Abroad, a website that helps Americans living abroad register to vote and request a ballot https://www.votefromabroad.org/vote/home.htm

Voter registration deadlines for all 50 states, from Vox https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/10/7/17947768/voter-registration-deadline-verify-2018-midterms and from the New York Times, as referenced in the episode https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/06/us/politics/state-voter-registration-deadlines.html?smtyp=cur&smid=tw-nytimes

Freiburger Wahlkreis 100%, the non-profit Duncan works with regarding non-EU citizen's voting rights http://wahlkreis100.de/sites/home.htm

U.S. Midterm Election Night Party hosted by the Carl-Schurz-Haus, for those in and around Freiburg http://www.carl-schurz-haus.de/veranstaltungen/einzelansicht.html?tx_tdcalendar_pi1%5Byear%5D=2018&tx_tdcalendar_pi1%5Bmonth%5D=11&tx_tdcalendar_pi1%5Bday%5D=06&tx_tdcalendar_pi1%5Bevent%5D=596&cHash=557fe94f8d197ed2729f2f96c21df84a

U.S. Post Midterm Election Breakfast hosted by the Carl-Schurz-Haus, for those in and around Freiburg (who prefer sleeping to watching the results spill in but still want to discuss things) http://www.carl-schurz-haus.de/veranstaltungen/einzelansicht.html?tx_tdcalendar_pi1%5Byear%5D=2018&tx_tdcalendar_pi1%5Bmonth%5D=11&tx_tdcalendar_pi1%5Bday%5D=07&tx_tdcalendar_pi1%5Bevent%5D=597&cHash=28b5342fdee0481e24286756460dec1e

For those not in Freiburg, there may be similar non-profits and events in your area. If you know of any you'd like The Expat Cast to help publicize, tag us on social media and we'll repost it.

 

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Mental Health in Germany with Rebecca

October 4, 2018

Season 1, Episode 14. Five years ago, Rebecca decided to cut alcohol out of her life. Just weeks after embarking on a sober life, she and her husband moved to Germany, a country famous for their beer and drinking culture. Easy, right? Actually, Rebecca shares her experience as one of pleasant surprise, what with Germany's lesser-known strong love for non-alcoholic drinks and with the European cafe culture. The harder part of the move was dealing with the resurgence of her depression. Rebecca talks us through her process of admitting she needed help, realizing how common expat depression is, and navigating the therapy system in Germany. Rebecca also speaks about being an expat partner, or a trailing spouse, and how she found her career footing after initially relocating for her husband’s job.

 

MORE FROM REBECCA

Sunny Sanguinity, Rebecca's blog on mental health, sobriety, and all things about her immigrant life in Germany. http://sunnysanguinity.com/

Rebecca is on Twitter @RebeccaAWatsonhttps://twitter.com/rebeccaawatson

 

RESOURCES

There's a Good Chance That Today Will Suck: Dealing with Depression Abroad, which Rebecca references in the episode. https://expatessays.wordpress.com/2009/06/17/there%E2%80%99s-a-good-chance-that-today-will-suck-dealing-with-depression-abroad/

The Mindful Expat podcast, a weekly podcast about emotional wellbeing and resilience during life abroad. http://www.dananelsoncounseling.com/mindful-expat-podcast/

SharetheLove Blog, a blog and life coaching service for expat partners from a German expat partner now living in Chicago. http://www.sharethelove.blog/

 

FOLLOW

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00:0000:00

Napster Broke the Music Industry - Now What? with Reggie, Continued

September 27, 2018

Season 1, Episode 13. In the second half of our interview with Reggie, we dig deeper into how his background in rap and hip hop influenced his expectations for Germany. Why are there kids mindlessly dancing, backs to each other, to Usher in a Freiburg club, when Reggie knew from working with Usher that the whole point of his music was to bring people together? What's the point of going to a club if there's no chance that Destiny's Child might show up? We chat about German rap and hip hop, and debate how and why the culture surrounding an artist influences the outcome of music. Nicole and Reggie share their own experiences with leaving the chase-the-next-best-event culture of big American cities behind and embracing the Freiburg way of slowing down, spending time in nature, and pursuing self-care.

And, in an Expat Cast first, Reggie helps us wrap up the episode with some original freestyle rapping!

 

PART ONE

On PodBeanhttps://theexpatcast.podbean.com/

 

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00:0000:00

Napster Broke the Music Industry - Now What? with Reggie

September 20, 2018

Season 1, Episode 12. Reggie was enjoying an exciting career in the music industry when Napster came along. Quickly, the industry as he knew it fell apart. So Reggie moved abroad. With minimal research or planning, he flew into Frankfurt, Germany and let the adventure begin. Reggie shares his story with listeners, including how American foreign policy influenced his decision, and what hanging out with Jehovah's Witness groups taught him about the German people. 

 

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COMMUNICATE

Got questions, comments, funny anecdotes? Email us at theexpatcast@gmail.com.

00:0000:00

Family of Six Takes a Year Abroad with Anne & Thompsen

September 13, 2018

Season 1, Episode 11. Anne Thompsen Lord, a mother of four, and her oldest son, Thompsen, sit down with The Expat Cast to share their experience with their family's year abroad. Anne and her husband Errol wanted to spend a year abroad so that their kids could have the gift of a second language, so when Errol's job as a professor of philosophy brought them the opportunity to live in Freiburg, Germany, they leapt on it. They packed up their things, rounded up their 10-year-old, 7-year-old, and 5-year-old twins and dove into the adventure. Anne and Thom share their perspectives on life in Germany as a mom and as a kid. Their insights provide a charming mixture of classic problems, like feeling like an outsider or hating math homework, and unique problems, like finding a sense of home in a sea of unfamiliarity and navigating a school system where things like transportation aren't organized for you.

 

RESOURCES

Anne's blog about her life in Freiburg: https://theexpatcast.podbean.com/e/family-of-six-takes-a-year-abroad-with-anne-thompsen/

Freiburg Anglican Churchhttps://freiburganglicanchurch.wordpress.com/

Carl-Schurz-Haus, the German-American center in Freiburg: http://www.carl-schurz-haus.de/en/home.html

List of German-American Cultural Institutions in Germany: https://de.usembassy.gov/our-relationship/german-american-cultural-institutions/

 

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Got questions, comments, funny anecdotes? Email us at theexpatcast@gmail.com.

00:0000:00

Pregnancy in Germany with Ashley & Appleseed

September 6, 2018

Season 1, Episode 10. Ashley, from episode 3, Teaching English Abroad, is back on the show, this time with a special guest: her baby boy! Ashley is eight months pregnant when she sits down to tell The Expat Cast all about what it's like to be pregnant as an expat in Germany. We touch on everything, from the cultural differences to the procedural standards. We learn that midwives are totally normal in Germany, and it's required that mothers-to-be carry around their pregnancy medical records at all times in something called a Mutterpass. Host Nicole is in disbelief when she learns about the maternity and parental leave programs in Germany, especially the six weeks before the due date that mothers are required to take off. We also learn that it's fruitless to search for a baby shower card in Germany, where people might envision infants raining down on you in a tub, and we examine how apartment living can force anyone to be a minimalist, even in preparation for big things like starting a family.

 

RESOURCES

 

Achtung Baby: An American Mom on the German Art of Raising Self-Reliant Children by Sara Zaske, which Nicole mentions in the episode. https://sarazaske.com/upcoming-book-achtung-baby/

The Shit No One Tells You: A Guide to Surviving Your Baby's First Year by Don Dais, which Ashley mentions in the episode as the one pregnancy book she did read. This link is to the entire Shit No One Tells You series. https://www.dawndais.com/sht

Local.de's guide to parental leave in Germanyhttps://www.thelocal.de/20140113/german-parental-leave-our-guide

How To Germany's guide to having a baby in Germany. There are further pages on this site regarding maternity allowance, parental allowance, maternity leave, and job protection. https://www.howtogermany.com/pages/havingababy.html

Berlin for All the Family's guide to the Mutterpasshttp://www.berlinforallthefamily.com/pregnant/the-mutterpass-an-english-explanation-translation

Handbook Germany's site on pregnancyhttps://handbookgermany.de/en/live/pregnancy.html

The German Way's super detailed post on prenatal carehttps://www.german-way.com/for-expats/living-in-germany/health-care-in-germany/having-a-baby-in-germany-prenatal-care/

 

00:0000:00

International Student with Bahar

August 30, 2018

Season 1, Episode 9. Bahar got a taste for the relaxed German lifestyle on a short visit to a village that left her hungry for more. She'd studied English language and literature in Istanbul, so when she heard of an English-language Masters in British and North American Studies program in Freiburg, it was a no-brainer that she'd want to apply. Bahar talks us through her experience getting a student visa in Germany as a Turkish citizen, including how a 2017 law introducing fees for international students impacted her program. Now approaching the end of her program, Bahar reflects on her experience throughout the program, discusses her research interest on immigrant identity, and shares her ideas about what she'll do after graduation. This episode has great information for anyone interested in pursuing a higher education degree in Germany as well as fascinating reflections on expat identity.

 

RESOURCES

Masters in British and North American Studies at the University of Freiburg: https://www.anglistik.uni-freiburg.de/prospective-students/degree-programs/master/master-british-north-american-cs

2017 law introducing fees for international students in Baden-Württemberg: https://www.studying-in-germany.org/germany-will-reintroduce-tuition-fees-non-eu-students/

Student Blocked Account with Deutsche Bank: https://www.deutsche-bank.de/pk/konto-und-karte/konten-im-ueberblick/internationale-studenten1.html

00:0000:00

Assimilation v. Self with Jenny

August 23, 2018

Season 1, Episode 8. Part of the adventure of moving abroad is assimilating into the culture. But how do you assimilate without giving up too much of your own self identity? How much of who you are is tied to where you're from or where you live now? We sit down with Jenny to talk about our own personal journeys to adapt to life in Germany while maintaining our sense of self. We chat clothing choices, minimalism, eating habits, vacation planning, and more. On the way, Nicole learns the term #nopoo, Jenny commends Americans on their great fork skills (though she concedes that we've got room for improvement in the knife department), Nicole admits to developing self-righteous recycling tendencies, and Jenny laments the lack of road trip culture in Germany compared to California. The two share the times they've adapted too much and the times they've left too much behind as they continue to learn about and grow into their new bicultural selves.

 

RESOURCES

Jenny's blog about her first year in Germany. https://jennjustleft.wordpress.com/

Jenny's video blog about living in her car. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpGqQ8JbSTCx2mSvK4SRdlA

00:0000:00

Gap Year Abroad with Izzy

August 16, 2018

Season 1, Episode 7. Instead of heading to college straight after high school, 19-year-old Izzy decided to take a gap year and head to Germany with the Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange (CBYX), specifically the Vocational Youth Exchange. CBYX is a nearly fully-funded year-long program that brings American teens to Germany for a year of immersion into German culture and language. While staying with host families, teens work a variety of internships in fields that interest them so that they can learn more about what they want out of their upcoming college years and future career. Izzy has fully embraced this opportunity to learn about herself and the world. Her German has become flawless, she's made incredible contacts both socially and professionally, and she's taken on some tough life problems, like learning to choose what's best for yourself instead of what pleases those around you, deciding between country life and city life, and managing familial relationships as an adult, rather than a kid. Izzy has leaned into all these challenges and was able to head back to the States at the end of the program with a wider worldview, a stronger sense of self, clear career aspirations, and, yeah, a fair share of culture shock. This episode is full of details about the program as well as insights into tough topics relatable to all expats.

 

RESOURCES

CBYX runs programs for high schoolers, recent high school graduates, and recent college graduates. http://www.usagermanyscholarship.org/about

 

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