Frankfurt, Germany Report of what it's like to live there - 09/17/20
Personal Experiences from Frankfurt, Germany
1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?
Manila, Istanbul, Vienna, Seoul, Hong Kong, and Munich.
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?
USA. Direct flights from many cities in the US to Frankfurt.
3. How long have you lived here?
4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?
Housing, Groceries & Food:
1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?
Many employees live on the compound although by 2020, the consulate had 100 off-compound leases. From the compound, it's just over a mile to the consulate. It's much longer from other parts of the city.
2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?
Widely available; not much more than Washington DC, and consulate employees have access to the commissary in Wiesbaden.
3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?
4. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?
Not in my experience.
1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?
DPO. German mail is also reliable.
2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?
Very expensive. Some people had weekly or biweekly cleaners; very, very few had nannies.
3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?
Gym on the compound; CrossFit, yoga, and other facilities around town. Not too expensive. We paid 140 Euros a month for four workouts a week at CrossFit.
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?
Weirdly, Germans love cash. You can usually pay by card but you should always have cash just in case.
5. What English-language religious services are available locally?
Anglican and Lutheran right near the compound. Catholic and non-denominational available too.
6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?
It helps, but it's not necessary.
1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?
Public transport is safe and affordable. Taxis are expensive.
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?
A small SUV or small minivan.
Phone & Internet:
1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?
You can get it set up to be ready upon arrival, if you live on compound.
2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?
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, we had positive vet experiences with the cat.
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?
The consulate has a lot of EFM jobs.
Health & Safety:
1. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?
Medical care is excellent.
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?
3. Are there any particular mental health issues that tend to crop up at post, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (winter blues)?
Bring a happy lamp!
Schools & Children:
1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?
There are a few choices. FIS is by far most popular with consulate families. We had mostly positive experiences in the upper school. However, at the Primary School we felt like the teachers were too traditional and not really IB PYP teachers. It was not great for our kid. The whole Primary School staff seems to have been there forever and are entrenched in their own habits.
1. Is it easy to make friends with locals here? Are there any prejudices or any ethnic groups who might feel uncomfortable here?
Not really. Between the compound, language issues, and Germans generally taking a while to warm up to people, it's tough.
Words of Wisdom:
1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?
Without a doubt.
2. Do you have any other comments?
It's a very easy place to live. It's not a great place to visit but is a great jumping off point for visiting other places. We had a great tour and were sad to leave.