move to germany

At 23 I felt pressured to find a good job, get married, buy a house, and have kids. Then I fell in love with an amazing German guy and everything changed. After just a few months of dating I decided to take the plunge and move to Germany so we could be together. It was the craziest thing I had ever done, and my family and friends made sure I knew it.  They said I would end up behind in the career race and everything else in life. I worried they were right.

They weren’t.

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In Germany I was considered young to have already graduated from college. I made friends that still lived with their parents, partied every night, traveled constantly, and switched what they were studying every few months. At first I looked at them like they were irresponsible, but soon I started looking at them like they were perfect.

Germany taught me to be young.

Germans as a whole are some of the most hard-working people I have ever come across, but they also know how to live exactly as they please. I’ve stayed up until 4am partying with people in their late 40’s and I’ve stood by as one of my best friends navigated having a child for the first time at 42.

I watched from afar on Facebook as friends from home started posting Pinterest-worthy wedding photos. Next came the gender reveal parties and then the thousands of adorable baby photos. All of this before the age of 25. Never once was I jealous (OK maybe I was a bit jealous of some amazing wedding dresses). I was relieved that it wasn’t me, because it easily could have been. My life had been on that exact same trajectory.

Instead, I worked 20 hours a week as an English teacher, traveled all over Europe, went to concerts frequently, partied whenever I wasn’t being a grandma, and lived exactly how I wanted.

I sometimes wonder if those people, the ones who did it all so young, are happy. I’m sure they are, but do they second guess themselves at times? Do they look at my Facebook photos and think I’m irresponsible or do they envy me?

I don’t know the answer, but I do know this; I never second guess the choice I made. I will get married to my boyfriend someday. We will hopefully be lucky enough to have children and a cute little house, but today is not that day. Today I woke up in my new home of Costa Rica, went to a farmers market, sat outside reading a book and listening to good music, cooked a nice dinner, and then spent my night drinking beer outside with some friends. It was perfect.

I’ve learned to accept that my lifestyle might not be what some people deem age appropriate, but I’m going to live exactly how I want. I’ll do things on my own terms when I feel ready, because it’s my life and I’m not going to let it be manipulated by what my society says is expected of me.

When people ask me if I think they should move abroad I want to shout “Yes! Go Now!” I think you will find the things you once thought you needed to do and be are not really what you want in life.

There is this false assumption that you have to be rich to live abroad, I don’t think that is true. Granted I was given some amazing opportunities and I have a wonderful family that will support me through anything, but I am not a rich kid with a trust fund. I get by through living minimally in some areas and living huge in the areas that are really important to me. Material things have little importance to me, experiences have maximum importance.

It is not my intention to put down anyone’s life choices. If you want to get married, have a powerful career, and children at a young age, then I think that is absolutely awesome, but your decisions should be based on your own desires, not on what you feel you have to do by the people and society that surround you.

So get out there and live like freaking crazy, however you see fit! You owe it to yourself.

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6 COMMENTS

  1. This is EXACTLY what I needed right now! I am 23, from the south, single, no children, no established career and currently in the process of becoming an Au Pair for a family in Germany. I am so excited for this journey considering that traveling the world is something I have always dreamed of doing! While others in my family are not so much. Stating that “I’m wasting my time” or ” ill never have a career”. I am not trying to have a career, I’m trying to chase a dream and do my thing! You worry about yourself! If it’s a mistake then it’s my mistake to make and I’ll own it but until then just pretend you’re happy for me. Thank you so much for helping me be more confident in my decision. You will never understand how much pressure you just took off my heart!
    – forever your fan, Kat

    • Aww thanks so much! I hope you love being an au pair and seriously feel free to message me if you ever need tips on German life. It can be a hard culture to adjust to in some ways (but it’s awesome at the same time). 🙂

  2. Hello! I have an uncle who has lived in Germany for many years now and is one of the 3 people I know who currently live there or has been born and raised in Germany. I really want to move there but I dont know the first thing on how to move to Germany. I dont know the language yet but I plan on getting Rosetta stone or even going to college when/if I get there. Any advice on how to go about the process of moving? I am also a massage therapist in the state of south carolina and I want to work as one while Im there but maybe even go to college for botany or something (Im still trying to figure it out). Do you think massage therapy is a successful career choice there?

    • Hi Lynn,
      Definitely work on learning the language, but don’t stress too much about it. You’ll pick up the basics fast and everyone speaks English. Massage Therapy could be successful but sometimes they are really strict about qualifications in Germany. For example with my university degree I would have had to take a few extra classes to make it valid in Germany. However, when I moved I worked as a freelance English teacher and it was relatively easy to get a visa that way. I would think it would be possible for you to do your own thing as a massage therapist and get a freelance visa as well, but I’m not positive about that.
      As far as studying check out this site https://www.daad.de/deutschland/studienangebote/en/ this is the go to place for all things about studying in Germany.
      Oh and also! Check out http://www.toytowngermany.com/ this is the go to site for all foreigners in Germany. There are great forums and you can post your question about being a massage therapist. I’m sure someone will know the answer.
      Hope this helps! Let me know if you have more questions 🙂

  3. I absolutely LOVE this!! I feel like I am in the exact same situation as you were. If you don’t mind me asking, did it take a while to get a resident/work visa in Germany? I Currently have a boyfriend who lives there and he asked me to move in. I am just worried I’ll get denied a visa since they’re having so much problems with the refugees coming to their country right now.

    • Hi Kaley
      You should definitely try it. I found it relatively easy to go about. I worked as a freelance English teacher, which was hard to build up at first, but once you have some experience and are known as a good teacher you can make at least 45 euros per 90 minute class. You probably wont get rich off of it and you should definitely have some money saved up to sustain you for awhile, but once you get going you can live nicely off of teaching. You should read my article about the CELTA course. http://www.thewanderlanders.com/why-you-should-complete-the-celta-if-you-want-to-teach-english-in-europe/ I took that for teaching English and it made it sooo easy for me to get jobs. As far as the visa, all you need is contracts with two schools, proof of a place to live, passport photos, and health insurance. For me health insurance was the most difficult thing to get because none of the German companies would give me health insurance till I had a residency permit, but you need a residency permit to get health insurance. Yea thanks Germany! haha. So I (and most of my colleagues) used a British company called ALC.
      Hope this helps! and if you have more questions feel free to email me! sarah.thewanderlanders@gmail.com I’m more than happy to help. I know how hard it is to navigate it all without knowing what youre doing. 🙂

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