A Plethora of Resources for Living in Germany with James

December 6, 2018

Season 1, Episode 23. When host Nicole was preparing to move to Germany, one of the websites she frequented was Live Work Germany. It seems like they've got a resource guide for every bump in the road of moving to Germany, from registering your address to navigating a foreign qualification recognition process - all up-to-date, all in English. As a librarian who loves a good resource, Nicole has long been a huge fan. So it was an honor to sit down with the man behind it all, James!

James moved to Germany from England 12 years ago for a job after studying the language in university. He didn't expect to find a new home to the extent that he did. Lucky for us all, his career evolution led him to launch a website and blog to help other expats and want-to-be expats figure out the practicalities of moving to Germany. He also chats with us about his new service, where users can send in their German correspondence and get, in English, a short run-down of what they need to do.

 

LIVE WORK GERMANY

Check out all of James' incredibly helpful resources at Live Work Germany

Sign up for James' new German Correspondence service

 

WEAREXPATS TWITTER

Nicole will be tweeting @wearexpats from December 10-17.

 

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Being an Asian Woman in Germany with April

November 29, 2018

Season 1, Episode 22. What is it like to be an Asian woman in Germany? This week, we hear one woman's perspective. April is from China, and she's lived in Canada, Austria, the United States, and now Germany. Through her time in North America, Europe, and Asia, April has been able to compare people's reactions to her across cultures. 

We discuss if/when it's acceptable to ask someone about their home country's politics, how to differentiate between a different cultural approach to getting to know someone and an offensive affront, and what to do when confronted by an act of racism or a micro-aggression. In our conversation, we share our own experiences, and we do not intend to speak for any group of people.

 

FIND APRIL

April, in addition to being an awesome person, is a talented photographer. You can find her on Instagram @zoethefroggy

 

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Expat Partners with Katharina

November 22, 2018

Season 1, Episode 21. What do you call someone who moves to a new country because the person they're in a relationship with got a job offer abroad? A trailing spouse? Bitte nicht! They're an expat partner.

This nuance is vitally important, says our guest, Katharina, of the Share the Love website and blog. When Katharina agreed to move from Munich to Chicago for her husband's job, she was excited to continue her thriving career in a new country. She was shocked and devastated to realize that getting a job wasn't that easy. Worse still: she was hardly alone. Studies showed that many expats move for their partner's job and end up stripped of their careers. Instead of succumbing to sadness about it, Katharina stood up, shook off the dirt, and decided that she would find a way to not only build the career she wanted but also to help other expat partners do so. 

She interviewed dozens of expat partners, read the research on the topic, and evaluated the statistic. She launched her website and blog to share what she found, and she became a life coach so that she could personally mentor others to regain their confidence in their new life abroad.

 

FIND KATHARINA

Check her out on Instagram to drool over her amazing photography of Chicago and her North American travels.

Visit her website to read her blog posts on expat partnership.

Read her Expat Partner Career Workbook for data, studies, and suggestions on how to make the most of your expat partner life.

 

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Germany, America, & German-American Centers with Friederike

November 15, 2018

Season 1, Episode 20. It should be no surprise that our conversation with Friederike Schulte, the director of a German-American cultural institution, had us ping-ponging across the Atlantic. Pennsylvania Quakers! Stuttgart! Silicon Valley! Berlin in the '40s! The Midwest Goodbye! The trans-Atlantic dialogue doesn't hold back on geography. We chat over-assimilation, American heroism, and "that whole hanging out concept." (I'm still chuckling about that.) Plus, Friederike tells us what a German-American cultural center actually does, why these places exist, and where you can find them around Germany.

Traveling to Stuttgart anytime soon? Stay tuned until the very end! This week's Zag Zag Zags include some unique travel tips for visitors to the Schwäbisch city.

 

GERMAN-AMERICAN CENTERS (in the order they were mentioned in the episode)

Carl-Schurz-Haus in Freiburg

Amerika Zentrum in Hamburg

American Space in Leipzig

Amerika Haus Nordrhein-Westfalen in Köln

Deutsch-Amerikanisches Institut Saarland in Saarbrücken

Deutsch-Amerikanisches Institut in Nürnberg 

Amerika Haus in München

Deutsch-Amerikanisches Institut in Heidelberg

Deutsch-Amerikanisches Institut in Tübingen

Deutsch-Amerikanisches Zentrum/James-F.-Byrnes-Institut in Stuttgart

Atlantische Akademie Rheinland-Pfalz in Kaiserslautern  

Kennedy Infozentrum/Amerika-Gesellschaft Schleswig-Holstein in Kiel

 

STUTTGART TIPS

Visit Stuttgart's Public Library

Go get a Bretzl at Weible

Check out the bar Imme

Spend hours in The World's Largest Pig Museum

 

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Weltschmerz & Culture Shock with Tanya

November 8, 2018

Season 1, Episode 19. "It can be tricky to stand in your power."

Have you ever felt completely fatigued, your energy fully spent, not because of anything in your personal life but rather because of the world at large? Welcome to the feeling of Weltschmerz, one of those wonderfully untranslatable German words, which combines the words Welt, or world, with schmerz, or pain, to create: worldpain.

Many of us, expat or not, have felt this over the last couple of years, and in honor of recent violent attacks in America & the US Midterm Election 2018, The Expat Cast sits down with Tanya Dantus, fellow expat and therapist. We chat about how current events effect us as expats, then dive into learning how turning to psychotherapy can be hugely helpful in dealing with tough situations, political or otherwise. As we head into the holiday season, may this episode's resources and ideas help you prepare for potentially complicated interactions, whether you're traveling home or staying abroad!

 

TANYA'S TIPS

Tip #1:
Don't be afraid to SHOP around for your THERAPIST!
 
A therapist is one of the most intimate professionals one can have: treating your soul, mind, and emotions is not something you want to do with someone you don't feel safe & comfortable with. 
 
The insurance policy in Germany allows you to go check out a couple of therapists for a first session (sometimes even a couple) before deciding on one. Plus, many therapists who don't take insurance also offer a complimentary session. Be sure to take advantage of this & see if it's the right fit both ways. 
 
Tip #2:
Each of the states in Germany have a Kassenärztliche Vereinigung, where the psychotherapists who have licensure are registered (there are other therapists who are non-licensed, and can be good, too, and they won't show up on this registry and you have to really look to what training they have to see their qualifications).
 
Each state's website has a "Arztsuche" function with which you can search for a psychotherapist who speaks English (or another language for that matter) in your city. I found this to be super helpful. The one for Baden-Württemberg is: https://www.arztsuche-bw.de 
 
Google the one for your state and make sure you do the extended/advanced search function to be able to add in preferred language. 
 
Tip #3
There are different kinds of psychological counselors in Germany: Heilpraktiker(in) für Psychotherapie & Approbierte Psychologische Psychotherapeut(in), and coaches.
 
The breakdown in Germany: one can study Psychology & not be a psychotherapist. To become an official psychotherapist, after studying a Masters in Psychology, one must do an Ausbildung (training) in Psychotherapy, with practice hours. It's about 3 more years, with a final test at the end. In California this is different, because the training is built into the Master's program for Counseling Psychology as well as pieces of the practicum or practice hours.
 
As someone with education from outside Germany in Psychotherapy, I have found it extremely difficult to get the equivalency & Approbation, but I am well underway now after 3 years of figuring out how/what to do. I have spoken to numerous other foreign-trained professionals who have always required a lawyer to have a successful outcome. Thus, I don't feel one needs to always disqualify someone for not having full Approbation, especially if they are from outside Germany. Ask. It is very possible they have full licensure in their "home country" and just have not gotten it here yet. I find this worthy to mention, especially to the expat community. 

I have had to get my Heilpraktikerin licensure which is sort of like a natural healer in psychotherapy license, which is a strange figure in German law, but that does allow one to practice Psychotherapy. You will find many of these. There are 2 kinds: ones that practice bodily practices like acupuncture & massage  and another that does psychotherapy. 
 
There is still one more figure worth mentioning and that is coaching. My favorite couples counselor in Freiburg is a coach. I practice coaching alongside my psychotherapy practice. While I was waiting to get the permit to practice psychotherapy, I had to call myself a "coach" to see people. You can find well-trained, amazing coaches, & then you can also find terrible ones just out to make a quick buck. One must be discerning, but the figure of "coach" is one that is becoming increasingly common because it is not regulated per state, that is, I can practice coaching in Italy, USA, Germany and not worry whether I have the "license" from that state. Again - that can be super bad, or amazing for someone who has a formation and just wants to travel. Get to know the person, see what their qualifications are. They may have a MFT licensure AND be a coach, too. US State laws, for example, do not allow a MFT from California to practice via Skype with someone living in another state. However, "coaching" is allowed. It allows for flexibility. Check out which is the best fit for you and keep an open yet discerning mind! :)  

 

FIND TANYA

Her Website

Instagram @TanyaDantus

Facebook @TanyaDantus

 

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Culture Shock: USA v. Germany with Christin

November 1, 2018

Season 1, Episode 18. Christin decided to take a break from her life in Germany to do a study abroad year in Charleston, South Carolina, in the hopes of improving her English. Little did she know, she'd meet the love of her life on her first day of classes, launching a whirlwind couple of years, including an engagement, a long-distance relationship, a wedding, and a permanent move to America. Now, she's settled into her life in US and joins The Expat Cast host Nicole to swap impressions about her new home. The two share which aspects of daily life give them culture shock, from ice cubes to air conditioning to banking to garbage to cars.

 

Leave a review for The Expat Cast on your podcast app of choice! We'd love it if you could take a moment to give us some stars (like, I don't know, maybe five??) and some feedback, so we can help reach more listeners like you & build our expat community even further.

 

FIND CHRISTIN

Christin blogs at This German American Life

You can follow her on Instagram @ThisGermanAmericanLife

 

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Prepping for a Job Hunt in Germany with Nicole

October 25, 2018

Season 1, Episode 17. Nicole talks listeners through four key items she needed as a foreigner in order to secure a permanent, full-time job in her field in Germany: a Lebenslauf, originals and translations of her academic transcripts, a Bewertung/recognition of her degree, and a visa. With the help of Gordon, who steps in as co-host and resident German, we discuss what these things are, why they are necessary, how to obtain them, associated costs, and tips for getting it all accomplished. Plus, we moan and groan about dealing with bureaucracy, including our personal secret to getting what you need in the face of being told no (Spoiler: it involves a lot of shouting in your angriest-sounding German). 

 

RESOURCES

1. Lebenslauf:

Welcome to Germerica's guide to writing a Lebenslauf

Immigrant Spirit's guide to the perfect German CV

The Local DE's article, "A CV will get thrown out if not in German style"

2. Transcripts:

Search "beglaubigte kopie + [name of your city]" to find places near you that offer the certified copy service.

To find a translator, try the following databases:

Justiz Dolmetscher official database of sworn translators

Bundesverband professioneller Doltmetscher und Übersetzer database of BDÜ translators, including both certified and non-certified translators 

OR

Use my translator, Herr Zipp! He's a certified professional who makes high-quality translations swiftly and precisely, plus he's an absolute pleasure to work with. 10/10, would recommend. You can contact him at translation@georgzipp.com. 

3. Anerkennung/Bewertung/Recognition:

Zentralstelle für ausländisches Bildungswesen, website also available in English 

Anabin, the ZAB database to research information about recognition based on country of origin and field

Recognition in Germany information portal from the German government

LifeWorkGermany's resource guide to the recognition process

4. Visa:

Search "auslaenderbehoerde + [name of your city]" to find your immigration office, and consult with an agent there.

 

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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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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/

 

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