What is an expat?

This blog is a collection of my thoughts and experiences as an “expat” living in Germany.

You are probably wondering what an “expat” is. Well, according to Wikipedia “an expatriate (often shortened to expat) is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country other than their native country.”

I clearly fit into this category having moved to Witten from Bedfordshire in 1996.

English roots but a German home.

I consider myself to have the “best of both worlds.” My roots are undeniably English and I would be foolish not to acknowledge this; my guilty pleasures of drinking tea or listening to my favourite programme on BBC Radio 4 every Sunday morning are proof of this.

Germany is, however, my home. I feel settled here. I feel fully integrated and accepted in a country which is rich in custom and tradition.

Yes, I am different but who isn’t?!

I remember talking to friend who moved from England to the USA and we both agreed that living in a foreign country makes you feel a little bit “special” because you are different. I realise that I am very lucky to live in a place where the people are so open-minded and welcoming.

“Sprache lebt, sie verbindet und bewegt.”

In my opinion the key to feeling comfortable in another country is being able to speak the language.  If you can communicate with others, you can connect with others.

For me this has, at times, been a real challenge but it helps that most Germans I know are very happy to converse in English. Very useful when I can’t find the right words!

When I speak English I sometimes have to explain that I am from North England and that I don’t speak the typical “German school English”. When I speak German I am often asked if I am from the Netherlands. I can’ t win!

If you are interested in learning more about my English language school then visit the website: www.time-for-english.de

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