I am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. However, I do have some regrets. Here are 5 things I wish I had done differently when we first moved here.
1. Take an Intensive Language Course
I thought I could save money and learn German using the many free resources available online. They are a blessing and are great tools for learning, but don’t offer the full package. Nothing compares to a face-to-face course.
Intensive language courses tend to be from Monday-Friday for anywhere between 3-6 hours per day, so you spend a full day immersing yourself in the language you are trying to learn. It’s a bit like cramming for an exam.
I am now taking a semi-intensive language course, but intend to use holiday time over the coming months to attend a fully intensive course to bring my language skills to the next level.
2. Get TEFL Qualified
I started my TEFL course at the beginning of this year, but I really wish that it was something I started as soon as I moved, if not before. There is always work available in teaching English as a foreign language. I believe I would have been able to find work very quickly if I had a TEFL qualification under my belt.
3. Join a Gym
Back in the UK, the gym was my happy place. The place where I felt truly at home being myself. It was also where I went to socialise. I met so many people in Group Exercise classes that became some of my best friends.
There is a distinct lack of affordable gyms in our area but there are lots of group exercise programmes and I wish that I had the confidence to join one in my first month. Not only do I think it would have helped improve my language skills but would have also increased my social interaction, which was (and still is) something that I miss most about England.
4. Taken an Integration Course
Slightly different from straight language courses, integration courses are designed specifically for immigrants. They do provide language lessons, but also lessons on German history, culture and the legal system.
Should we make the decision to stay here in Germany (COVID-19 is currently making a large part of that decision for us), I will definitely look into an integration course. As with joining a gym, I also think it would help with more social interaction.
5. Got an online Therapist before moving
I know that I suffer from anxiety and depression. I know hat I worry so much about money that I make myself physically sick. I know I care far too much about what other people think of me.
And yet, I thought I could handle moving to a different country and culture by myself. My friends are beyond incredible and have been amazing to talk to during the tough times, but I really should have got myself professional help to at least assist with the adjustment period.
Now I am lucky enough to be earning again, I am looking into therapy, largely because I have had some awakenings recently as to where some of my underlying mental health problems stem from and lord do I need to talk to someone professional about that!
Are you an expat? Are there any regrets you have or things you wish you had done differently? Let me know!
Bis zum nächsten mal!