Frankfurt, Germany Report of what it's like to live there - 09/27/17

Personal Experiences from Frankfurt, Germany

Frankfurt, Germany 09/27/17

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

Taiwan and Tunisia.

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2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

Pennsylvania.

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3. How long have you lived here?

Two years.

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4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, military, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

U.S. government.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Siedlung housing has a bad reputation. If you're single and want quiet, ask to be away from the field house. If you have kids and want to be near the playgrounds, ask to be near the field house. the rooms are big, the storage is big, and GSO is very responsive to any problems.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Less expensive than DC by far, plus the commissary is only 30-40 minutes away.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

None, I found everything I needed and more.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

Tons of pizza and ethnic foods all over the city for delivery and takeout.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

Both pouch and DPO were quick and reliable.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

We had a cleaning person come in 4 hours per week for 50 euro per week. It was worth it.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

The gym at the consulate is being redone, once that is complete it should surpass the Siedlung gym. The Siedlung gym is fine - tons of cardio and lifting. Also, several EFM's and employees host onsite classes like Zumba, Pilates, yoga, martial arts, etc.

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4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

Everything is safe to use. Cash is always better, and some places don't accept credit, but the grocery stores accepted credit cards as did major restaurants.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

Small cars are better, but even large vans and SUVs were fine.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Yes, it can take up to a month to get internet. We didn't have any serious difficulty with it during our two years, but the equipment is outdated and it's likely that you'll have several outages during your tour.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

We got SIM cards at the gas station. They worked fine for our entire tour.

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

Yes, tons of pets and services for them.

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

Most jobs were at the consulate for spouses.

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2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Less formal than I've seen at other embassies and consulates.

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Excellent medical care.

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2. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Excellent air quality year-round.

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3. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

HUGE - morale swings like a pendulum - it depends on who is in charge at post.

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2. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

Yes - Germany is liberal and tolerant.

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3. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Christmas markets.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Yes.

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2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Consumables.

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