Lauren, who now lives in Munich, Germany with her fiancé Brooks, is not a novice when it comes to moving to a foreign country. She was born in British Columbia, Canada, and moved to Washington State at a young age. In 2013, Lauren and Brooks moved to Düsseldorf, Germany where Brooks would play hockey.
GXC: What is the hardest part about living in a Germany?
Lauren: I think the hardest part for me is being so far from family and friends. Modern Technology makes it so much easier now a days, but the distance can be tough. To get home is usually about a 20 hour day, and a nine hour time change. Takes quite a toll on almost anyone. Although, I find it gets easier every time!
GXC: What do you miss most about the US/Canada?
Lauren: What I miss most is being able to communicate with anyone you come across. I am not fluent in German yet (although I hope to be soon), so that can be challenging at times. In most big cities people speak English quite well, but it’s not quite the same in smaller towns.
GXC: What is the biggest misconception about Germany?
Lauren: I think a lot of people view Germans as unfriendly, cold people. They may be a bit harder to get to know, but most of them are very kind people. I’ve made many friends that are from Germany and I can honestly say I don’t think I’ve heard them say a bad thing about any one they know. I sure appreciate that in a person.
GXC: What is one thing you wish people knew about Germany?
Lauren: How beautiful it really is! I think a lot of people have different feelings about Germany since World War II, but there is so much history there. It’s actually incredible. Every city is truly so different as well. I definitely recommend Bavaria if anyone is planning a trip! It is so green and beautiful and so much history as well.
GXC: What stereotypes have you encountered about the US/Canada?
Lauren: Many Germans believe Americans live a very extravagant lifestyle. Many people in Germany spend their entire lives in a small apartment, working the same job for life, enjoying Sundays with family when the entire city shuts down. A guy told me once that most Germans get a job and are content to stay with that job whereas a lot of Americans are looking to move up during their entire careers.
GXC: What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned living in Germany?
Lauren: Just learning to embrace the culture and differences. To not be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Attempt to speak German, even if you do botch it people appreciate the effort. Ride your bike anywhere and everywhere even if you do get honked at here and there. Try the bratwurst and schnitzel, it’s actually amazing! And last but not least, drink the beer!
GXC: How has this experience changed your perspective on the world?
Lauren: Seeing different cultures around the world is an amazing thing. I’ve found that I enjoy so many things about Germany. I love the fact that everything shuts down on Sundays and you see families out together doing some form of activity. I love that they are so environmentally friendly, such an unselfish way to live. If I had any advice to others, it would be to get out and see the world. It’s such an amazingly, satisfying thing and I’ve grown so much from this experience.
Couldn’t have said it better myself! Danke.