Expat Interview: Meet Katharina from Germany to Chicago
Young professionals move abroad to fulfill their dreams and goals. Integrating and meeting people are important to feel ”at Home” in your new country.
I publish these interviews, revealing personal stories, tips and advice, to inspire YOU!
This month I introduce you to Katharina!
Original country: Germany – Munich
Expat countries: Spain, United Kingdom, Taiwan
Current country: United States – Chicago
Your story in a nutshell: I moved abroad due to my husband’s job. I was excited about moving to another country again. The only downside: I had to quit my job which I loved and had to start completely new. I am now living in beautiful Chicago, writing about my Expat experience on my blog www.sharethelove.blog and doing a training to become a certified coach. My goal is to share the lessons I have learned and to empower other brave Expat Partner out there.
Biggest challenges as expat: Realizing that you not only have to cope with a foreign culture, language and the lack of friends in the beginning. There is also that challenge of defining for yourself what you want to do with your time abroad, finding a job or even decide for a career change. That can be frightening at the beginning and it also took me a couple of months to realize that this is a huge opportunity for me rather than a downturn in my career.
How you Overcome fear: My personal tactic is to say yes to everything and everybody for a while. Moving abroad unfolds so many new possibilities of what it is you are striving for. Not knowing where to go was frightening at the beginning so I decided to stay open and to welcomed all the possibilities around me. This and also asking for help or advice from total strangers was really enlightening and comforting.
Integrate and adjust smoothly: What went well and what was hard? It was easy for us to find a home and settle down as my husband’s company was supporting us a lot. This is the benefit of being an Expat. On the other hand, it was hard to get in touch with locals and not only other Expats. That is something I am still working on till today it slowly changes.
Was it difficult to start your job in a foreign country? Back home I was working in Marketing and Business Development/Consulting. Here in the US I found the courage to step into independence and founded sharethelove.blog in order to support other Expat Partners who decided for this amazing journey of moving abroad.
Useful resources for expats: One word: Networking! I was never really motivated to network back in my comfort zone in Germany. However, starting over in this completely new industry I just love to get in touch with new people and exchange inspirational thoughts with others.
Cultural diversity: What is the biggest lesson you learned about another culture? Stop comparing the lifelong culture you are born in with a culture you just moved to and are still walking around like a tourist. It took me a while to get to this phase of pure observation rather than evaluation. However, it is vital for me in order to feel home in the moment and the current place I am living in.
What did you wish you knew before moving? I often ask myself this question. On the one hand, I liked how naive I approached this whole journey of renting out the apartment, selling half of my things and quitting my job. Not knowing what the future might bring enabled me to stay excited and light-hearted about the move. However, when I arrived in the USA and realized there will be more obstacles in finding a job or rather a new focus in life I would have loved to talk to a coach about my values and goals in life. I guess that’s the reason I decided to do this challenging training to become a coach because I know for sure that would have helped me a lot back then.
Final words or anything else you wish to share: Someone recently told me a quote from a children’s book. Unfortunately, I can’t remember the title but it was so strong that I keep on reminding myself of that quote when I become impatient. A young bunny asks his mother what patience is. His mother looked at him and answered in a calm but knowing voice: Patience is sitting here and waiting, knowing that everything will be alright.
And that is exactly but will happen when you trust in yourself and stop stressing too much about all these obstacles you are confronted with when moving abroad.
Please tell us your important TIP(s) when moving to a new country:
* Stay curious and open
* Be ready to step out your comfort zone
* Be patient when it comes to networking
* Remember to stand still from time to time and be grateful for all the global influences which will shape the way you think forever
Thank you very much!
Interviewed by Rachel Smets
If you want to make a change in your life, it’s never too late.
Rachel Smets is a bestselling Author, TEDx speaker, Coach, and Culture Trainer.
Living and working abroad for many years has broadened her mind, her understanding in cultures and she has learned to turn every challenge into a new opportunity.
Rachel helps young professionals fulfill their lives abroad, develop international skills through understanding cultural nuances in business and daily life. She loves to inspire and help them to become their best selves!