Life In the UK. Expat Post

Life in the UK. Expat Post

I'm very excited to share my second expat post with you which was initiated by my blogging friend Jennie. She's an expat herself and thought it'll be a fun idea to start a Q&A guest blogging post on each other's blogs. Sure! 

She is planning on integrating these expat interviews as a regular series on her blog, so I felt very flattered when she reached out to me as my expat interview is the very first! Shortly before Easter, Jennie send me the questions and it was such a fun project to work on. I'm going to share Jennie's post about her expat life in London soon, so watch this space!

Hope you'll enjoy today's post.

1. Tell me a bit about yourself. Where are you from, how long have you lived in England, what do you do etc.?

I'm Carolin, a fashion-loving linguist originally from Berlin. I’ve been living in the UK for around two years and since last November, I can call London my home. In the day, I work full time in SEO for a digital marketing agency in Central looking after various clients in the fashion and lifestyle industry. When I'm not stressing over Excel spreadsheets, analyse data, optimise or translate websites, I love writing about my latest ootds, fancy blogging events or reviewing films.

2. How would you describe your blog and what can people expect to read about there?

My blog Style Lingua is a personal fashion, film and lifestyle blog. I write about things I care about and I’m interested in. I cover mostly my daily outfits, review films or attend blogging and lifestyle events such as London Fashion Week.  I see my blog mainly as my hobby as it relaxes me to write and I've developed useful skills from it. It is my creative outlet and research project, as I'm also interested in text analysis and how an audience can be engaged through various different text and content forms.

3. Talk me through your thought process and reasons for moving to England and how you ended up in London.

I fell in love with London during a school exchange in 1999. I was so fascinated by the vibrancy and energy of the city that I always wanted to return to it. I did in 2005 when I attended an International Language School and further got to know the British culture and language. There’s simply no place like London with its diverse and vibrant character. The city never fails to impress and I regularly find myself discovering new parts and sides of it – even after all those years.  

Moving to London was, in fact, one of these unexpected moments in life that changed everything: a Tweet last summer advertised an attractive job opportunity and in the next moment, I saw myself in a full-time job and packing my belongings to live in London. I’m so grateful for every day that I can now spend living in this exciting place in the world!

Westminster Bridge London. Big Ben. Expat post.

4. What do you love about living in England?

I have a very weak spot for Cheddar cheese and scones with clotted cream :) Food aside, I love everything about the beautiful English language with its simple structure, soft-sounding words and the manifold variants in accents and dialects. 

Britain’s countryside has this romantic charm to me with shabby chic cottages nestled in a lush, wild Rose Garden. Especially the area around Stratford-Upon-Avon has this old, stereotypical English character of perfect idyll to me. From enchanted forests to magical medieval castles and the white cliffs of the coast – Britain is a magnificent country full of beauty and fairy tales.  

There are so much more things why the UK is awesome, but the main factor is the British culture. It purely fascinates me as it is marked by a long tradition, influential literal heritage and a rich royal history. 

The nation is very modern and dynamic, something that I miss(ed) in Germany. Whereas Germans are practical orientated and slow in adapting to change, Brits are open to new exciting lifestyle ways through e.g. modern technologies and fast forward fashion sense. Life in the UK is fast, it is thrilling and certainly never boring! To me, living in Britain has helped me tremendously in being comfortable with myself just the way I am.

5. What are common questions you are asked by English people when you say you are from Germany?

“You’re German? – Really?” or “No way, you’re German?!?”. Most Brits have been very positive and polite. Some even started talking some German phrases that they’ve picked up in school, which is always very sweet. Older generations tend to ask me about the war and Hitler, which can be a bit awkward, as this is a part of German history I don’t relate to. Being reduced to your nationality is something a lot of Brits try to do so sometimes integrating into the society feels tough and challenging at times. 

6. What are the main culture shocks you’ve had moving to England? Is there anything Germany has that you wish England had?

Germany has indeed a few perks that I wished England had. The main culture shock was facing the Housing Crisis. I’m used to living in my own flat since the age of 18, as Germany has an extensive renting system, so coming to the UK and not be allowed to have my own place was a massive come down and setback in my personality. It was so, so hard to find a place to live. No job without a permanent home, and no home without a job – a circle hard to break through!

British people are forced to live with their parents long after the age of 18, whereas at this age, I had to run my own two-bedroom household, understand tenancy contracts, take full responsibility of the flat, pay bills whilst study full time. Germans don’t buy houses, there’s no need as renting is a (mass) business and therefore (reasonably) affordable. We have unlimited contracts, which means no hassle and no random tenancy checks as it is in the UK (which make you feel like a 5-year old that needs to be checked on).

Another thing that I really miss is German efficiency. Certain practices and ways of ‘doing’ simply won’t work in England as everything is solved short-term rather than going to the core of a problem and solve it long-term. Drives me mad sometimes! Especially British heating systems (they never work), girls wearing no jackets in winter on a night out, windows which only open 5cm or juggling change at the supermarket (first notes, then coins on top WTF?!?) are things which I will never understand.

7. Have you considered moving back to Germany? Give reasons why you would or wouldn’t.

Moving back to Germany is only an option if I can no longer afford to live in the UK. Apart from that, I don’t miss it at all. Germans have some character traits, which I don’t share and absolutely refuse so living amongst them has actually made me feel depressed for most of my life. Whenever I lived in Britain, however, I felt more relaxed and accepted as the person that I am which has supported my personal growth.

8. If you could give your younger self one piece of advice prior to moving to England, what would that be?

Be prepared for some serious WTF moments, but an experience of a lifetime.

Haha, seriously I would never do anything differently.
Happy expat living in the UK

9. If people reading this would like to travel to your home city/country, name three things they should do/see/visit.

Berlin – have a stroll around Tiergarten, enjoy the view from the column of Victory, celebrate New Year, order a hot cherry and vanilla ice cream cup from Gelato at Potsdamer Platz.

Germany in general – enjoy summer in Germany (30 degrees +) and cycle around or simply go to the beaches and have BBQs, come in winter ( -10 degrees) for the authentic traditional Christmas Market experience and skate on an ice-rink that you don’t have to share with thousands of people, see Dresden and the historic medieval city center, eat hot boiled potatoes with quark or simply indulge in a German roast (duck/rabbit with boiled potatoes, gravy and red cabbage).

Thanks so much for reading. 

Till next time, 

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