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Advice please: has anyone moved to Germany in recent years?

(17 Posts)
DasPepe Tue 25-Apr-17 09:46:32

Apologies - I know there have been a few similar threads with this theme, but they have gone cold.

We have always talked about possibly moving to Germany, even quite close to deciding last year - but then we found out no2 will come along and the plan was shelved. Then along came Brexit. :/

Need some advice / success or even not so great stories on moving. We have a 4 year old due to start school in September. My husband has been offered a job in his home town in Bavaria. We don't own a house here and have some savings only. His job would pay a bit more than now. However I don't speak German and would not be able to work. We think long term it would benefit the kids for safety and education and standard of living.

Not sure what to do?! I know this would only work if I'm committed but I cannot get off the fence!

Any thoughts, stories much appreciated.

Schlobbob Tue 25-Apr-17 22:06:05

Hi DasPepe, I'm on the other thread but thought I'd join you too - we are moving this summer and I've been through a similar thought process to you. DH is almost fluent (grew up in Germany and spent 10 years of his childhood there) but I don't speak German at all. It is a scary prospect, learning a whole new language and I will hate not understanding everything! I also won't be able to work but I'm a SAHM at the moment anyway.

Pros for me - like you we don't own a house so makes moving simple, we are happy to make the move away from our hometown. Standard of living being so much better, more outdoors, better weather, living in a city where there is lots to do. Also hoping DHs commute will be easier - at the moment he either works from home or travels abroad at least weekly and it takes its toll on the kids and I. He is looking forward to regular office work again.

Cons - missing our families, though they are all willing travellers! I worry how much the kids will miss their grandparents and aunts, uncles and cousins. We will at least have skype!
Not having any friends or back up, I do worry I won't have much of a social life! I hope there are ways for me to meet people.

What helped us make our minds up was the fact we wanted an adventure together and to broaden our kids horizons a bit - take them places and be able to do more things as a family. We don't want to be living in the same town for the next 15 years and have just bobbed along through it. We've got a two year contract but there will be opportunity to extend or settle as far as we know.

What is making you sit on the fence? I'm sure there will be some wobbly, homesick days ahead but I'm really hoping it works out for us


DasPepe Wed 26-Apr-17 12:33:44

Oh gosh! Thanks so much for replying! In the past I thought that it would be an adventure - hard but also exciting!

Everything you have mentioned is true! And it confirms all my thoughts, thank you. I guess I worry that the idea that everything is better is exaggerated in my head and slightly rose tinted by the great time we have had when we visited Nurnberg (where we would move to).

I think it might also be a personal thing. I don't feel like we have worked as a team in the past, so it's hard to tell if I am getting cold feet or if I don't want to be swept along with someone else's plans.

I hope your move goes smoothly! Can is ask where you are moving to / from?
Have you made a plan to come back at some point or just move one way and see?

Thank you for your post is it helpful and encouraging!

Gimboid Wed 03-May-17 14:36:25

I'm jealous! We spent a year in Germany and it was one of the best years of my life. The kids were 5 and 4 when we were there and if work hadn't forced us back to the UK we would have been happily living there still. I also didn't speak much German and didn't work but strangely enough I was the happiest I've been for a long time. We all loved the lifestyle, made friends for life and return every year for our holidays.

Bananalanacake Wed 03-May-17 14:41:29

Yes, I moved over 2 years ago as my DP is German and he runs a company with his dad, so I had to move over here when we had DD. I still miss London and go back every 4 months.

Schlobbob Wed 03-May-17 16:05:25

Oops sorry I forgot to reply!

We are moving from the SE to Munich. Not started house hunting yet, waiting for the relocation company to get in touch as it's all being managed through DH's work so not sure where we will be living exactly! It's for 2 years initially, we can come back or extend smile

DasPepe Tue 09-May-17 12:12:16

Thank you! Apologies - I also meant to come back and post but couldn't find the thread!

@Schlobbob - good luck with the move!
Hope all goes well and you settle in very soon. Keep me posted

@Gimboid: did you struggle with the kids/ found any good ways to make the move easier?

It looks like we are going to go ahead, but when we have gently mentioned this to our 5 year old, she obviously said she does not want to move!

BertieBotts Wed 10-May-17 01:25:02

We moved in 2013. I love living in Germany but I hear that Bavaria is almost like its own separate country, so not sure my experiences are relevant to you?

DS was 5 when we moved. His behaviour was shocking for two years, I don't know if it was a reaction or just his age or both but he's very settled now and happy in German school. I was lucky to find a lovely group of English speaking women who have sort of become my adopted family.

We are planning to have a baby here and I'm quite looking forward to it though nervous they don't do gas and air!

5moreminutes Wed 10-May-17 09:38:47


I'm in a village outside Munich. Similar story to you - husband is from near Ingolstadt but we met and married in England. We moved when I was pregnant with number 2 and DC1 was a young toddler, but it was back in 2007 (now have DC3 as well).

I didn't speak any German when we moved, but am now working in German only environment with no use for my English at all...

If you are going to do it, do it now - your DC1 will have 2 years of Kindergarten to learn German before starting school (assuming they don't already speak it fluently - seems kids often don't speak the dad's home language well when they live in the mum's country, but of course if your DC1 does speak German that is even better!).

Immersing the kids in German was actually one of my biggest motivators, as I saw DH refusing to speak German to DC1 as a baby and small toddler because he "felt silly" doing so when I didn't speak German and everyone around was English - he felt she "spoke" English even before she spoke at all. Kids are 100% native speaker fluent in both languages now, which is a big deal to me, I feel it is an absolutely massive gift to give children, though I know not equally so to everyone.

Do you have any specific practical questions I can answer, or is it more general?

My eldest was much younger when we moved, but the main thing for me was to throw myself right into the most local possible toddlers groups and be in the village playground trying to say hello to people and let the kids interact every single day etc even before worrying about unpacking. We had a massive party for all the neighbors with preschoolers for DC1's second birthday just a couple of days before DC2 was born! This certainly got us known, and after that everyone talked to me/ us or at least smiled and waved... people from other villages had also heard of the insane heavily pregnant non German speaking English woman as for a while I kept meeting people who already knew who I was

5moreminutes Wed 10-May-17 09:44:13

Oh by the way being a SAHM until your youngest child is 3 or 4 is absolutely the norm in Bavaria, so not working will be no problem.

Schlobbob Wed 10-May-17 22:31:06

Pepe that's great that you're making the move!

When we told ours (6 and 5) DS1 cried and said he would miss his friends then got excited at the prospect of shorter days at school and his own room in a new house he can fill with Lego. DS2 seems to have got past the initial upset and is now excited about a new toy he might get. Not sure where he got that from!!

I worry about DS1 having to start second year of Grundschule with no German - DH will do his best to help them but he will be at work! DS2 will be in kindergarten for a year before school and DD is 2 so no problem.

So good to hear stories from others, I'm stalking the overseas forum to see if any new posts pop up!! Feel like it helps me prepare smile

Schlobbob Wed 10-May-17 22:44:01

5more I agree with you about languages - DH moved when he was 3 so grew up bilingual. He and SIL had a wonderful childhood in Germany and speak so fondly of it - when they came back they retained their understanding of the language. 10 years later DH is speaking German to colleagues daily and he still doesn't feel fluent, forgets the word for 'plug' or 'floor' 😁

I did an A level in a different language so I'm good with languages - seriously hoping immersion helps. It will frustrate me a lot not knowing how to say things!

How far outside of Munich are you?

I did like your story of being the pregnant English person and saying hello to everyone!

sugarplumfairy28 Fri 12-May-17 21:30:12

Hi! We moved to Nordrhein-Westfalen nearly 3 years ago, DS was 5 and had done reception year in the UK, DD was 3. Both went straight into Kindergarten and DS within a year learned sufficient German to go into school without any additional helped required. The Germans are very child friendly and they will bend over backwards to help you.

There are state run language courses, and if your DH is German then Brexit should have no impact on your ability to remain here regardless of what happens.

Despite having dual nationality myself I don't speak German and I'll be honest it is difficult, so I would urge you to get out and about, and get on a course. Having said that, I am in a tiny village and pretty much every other person speaks English so it's not impossible to get going.

Life here (for us a family of 4) is so much better than in the UK. Employers are generally more down to earth and understand that people have lives, schools are better, there is so much for children to do and they are treated incredibly well.

It is hard work (for me the school hours is still had) but it is worth it!

Gimboid Sun 14-May-17 22:08:10

We had a German tutor prior to departure but to be honest, we didn't need to, just putting them into kindergarten cold turkey was the best thing for them. My daughter was nearly fluent within a year and put me to shame! It was hard at first but not for long? They absolutely loved it.

DasPepe Tue 16-May-17 20:56:53

Thank you all!
Looks like we are going! Excited and frightened at the same time. smile

Hope to keep in touch if anyone is near Nurnberg. And might start another thread as we ploughing through packing/ moving/ settling in. smile

5moreminutes Wed 17-May-17 13:10:59

Schlobbob we're about 60 km north of Munich (about 130km from Nurnburg).

I'm a bit of a local yockel and hardly ever go to Munich - perhaps once a year. I've pretty much got everything I need without ever feeling an urge to go into the city - I'd love to live in our nearest proper town which is absolutely beutiful and has everything you could need, but it is eye wateringly expensive so we live in a teeny, tiny farming village, which also has its charms, the main one being the kids can have so much freedom and know everybody (but DD is already getting to the age where she moans a bit about not being closer to town, and I do sympathise).

Have never been to Nurnburg despite it being relatively close, although we flew from Nurburg airport last month and DD commented that she wanted to go specifically to Nurnburg and explore, and it did look nice, so we probably will try to do that over the summer!

You'll find loads of ex pats in Munich Schlobbob - there used to be a very active ex pat parents face book group though I forget its exact name but its something like ExPat Parents in Munich (I left years ago because I'm neither a proper ex pat nor ever actually in Munich, when we initially moved I thought I'd go there loads), and there are all sorts of other groups which you can find my googling (The International Women's group, Internations, and the Toytown Munich board has groups and meet ups I think).

Verbena37 Wed 17-May-17 13:21:03

You'll have a fabulous time!
We moved out to Germany (by force as DH was HM forces) but we absolutely didn't regret it and loved our time out there. I spoke pretty good German though so think that would have made a difference if I hadn't. Lots of the wives didn't drive and so stayed in the town and on camp but I made myself go to places with dd and chat to German people.

Dd was only 1 though and we were only out there for one year.
I missed it so much I was really down on our return.
We were in the Luneburger Heidi region so beautiful countryside and loads to do for families.
Ahh, they were the, cake, shopping and snow!

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