Andrea White is from the USA but has been living in Wachtberg, Bonn, Germany for three and half years. She, her husband and 2 children relocated for her husband's job. Andrea enjoys writing, is a passionate reader, loves music, travelling, cooking, cycling and hanging out with her kids. Her blog Blogging Mama captures her and her family's expat adventures.
Q: Where are you originally from?
A: United States
Q: Where are you living now?
A: Wachtberg, Bonn, Germany
Q: How long you have you lived here?
A: Three and half years
Q: Did you move with a spouse/ children?
Q: Why did you move; what do you do?
A: We moved for my husband's job. He works in HR and I am a writer.
About Bonn, Germany
Q: What do you enjoy most about Bonn, how’s the quality of life?
A: The open-air restaurants and shops are very nice. We love the path along the river that goes for hundreds of miles. It's nice for running, biking and walking.
Q: Any negatives? What do you miss most about home?
A: The lack of familiar items like foods and that shops are closed usually by 8 and on Sundays.
Q: Is the city safe?
A: Yes, it is a very safe city.
About living in Germany
Q: Which are the best places/suburbs to live in Bonn as an expat?
A: There isn't any one particular place though Plittersdorf/Poppelsdorf are popular for young professionals and near the international school. Also Heiderhof/Muffendorf/Wacthberg for those with families.
Q: How do you rate the standard of accommodation in Germany?
A: Quite small compared to the US. You use every bit of space available. Most things are modern though.
Q: What’s the cost of living in Germany compared to home? What is cheap or expensive in particular?
A: Quite a lot more than the US. Cars, housing and clothing are most expensive. Some foods are less.
Q: What are the locals like; do you mix mainly with other expats?
A: We mostly kept with other expats. Germans do not, as a rule, mix business and pleasure. They tend to also keep to themselves.
Q: Was it easy meeting people and making friends?
A: No, but having children in an international school made it easier to meet other expats.
About working in Germany
Q: What’s the economic climate like in Germany, is there plenty of work?
A: Unemployment is hovering at 11% in Bonn/Cologne. Jobs must first be offerred to Germans, then to foriegners.
Q: How does the work culture differ from home?
A: You do not have idle or personal conversations at work.
Q: Did a relocation company help you with your move?
Family and children
Q: Did your children settle in easily?
A: It was difficult at first but got easier once we met other expats.
Q: What are the schools like, any particular suggestions?
A: Bonn International School - American (BIS) is excellent. There is also a second international school (British) Independent Bonn International School (IBIS).
Q: How would you rate the healthcare in Germany?
A: We were on private insurance but having had hospital stays during our time there we found the quality substandard to the US.
Q: Is there any other advice you like to offer new expat arrivals?
A: Remember that nothing will be the same as it was back home. Take time to explore the city and learn about where you are going. Learning the language (if applicable) is a good way to try to adjust.
~ Interviewed January 2010