Frankfurt, Germany Report of what it's like to live there - 07/07/08

Personal Experiences from Frankfurt, Germany

Frankfurt, Germany 07/07/08

Background:

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

First expat experience.

View All Answers


2. How long have you lived here?

2 years.

View All Answers


3. Travel time and best routes to this city from Europe or the US:

7-8 hours form the U.S. (DC).

View All Answers


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

Government.

View All Answers


Housing, Groceries & Food:

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

Compound living in apartments (Converted military barracks).

View All Answers


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

Everything is available, it just costs more. Go to the commisarys on the military bases to stock up on U.S. staples, but buy your produce from the many local markets for fresh food at better prices.

View All Answers


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

Nothing I can think of...

View All Answers


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

All fast food is available, but eating in local restaurant is so much more fun. Most are on par with what you'd pay at a fast food joint anyway, but vastly superior.

View All Answers


Daily Life:

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

I had APO access.

View All Answers


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

Expensive. The dollar isn't doing too well aginst the euro.

View All Answers


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

Credit and ATM cards are widely accepted. The only place I found that dosen't take credit is the grocery stores.

View All Answers


4. What English-language religious services are available locally?

All here.

View All Answers


5. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

AFN on the compound.

View All Answers


6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

Almost anywhere you'll find someone that speaks English, but try to learn some German.

View All Answers


7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Lots. Not very handicap friendly.

View All Answers


Transportation:

1. Do you drive on the right hand side of the road or the left?

Right side, same as the U.S.

View All Answers


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

Buses and trains are very safe and affordable, Taxis are a little pricey.

View All Answers


3. 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?

Any car is fine. Smaller is better due to narrow streets and ease of parking.

View All Answers


Phone & Internet:

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

US$60 a month for high speed internet.

View All Answers


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

I had a cheap, pay as you go phone. Everything's available.

View All Answers


3. What is the best way to make phone calls back home?

I had Deutsche Telekom and it was around 3 cents a min. to call the U.S.

View All Answers


Pets:

1. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

Very high, Germans love their pets.

View All Answers


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?

Not really, unless you're fluent in German.

View All Answers


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

I would say Germans dress nicer than Americans, but my opinion is most Americans dress sloppy making the Germans look better.

View All Answers


Health & Safety:

1. Pollution index (Good, Moderate, Unhealthy, or Very Unhealthy)?

This is probably the cleanest city I've ever lived in.

View All Answers


2. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Almost none. Much safer than most American cities.

View All Answers


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

The family doctor we had was the best I've come across.

View All Answers


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

Similar to DC.

View All Answers


Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

My oldest child went to ISF and we were very unhappy with the administration.

View All Answers


2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

Depends on the school. At ISF, not much.

View All Answers


3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

The preschool on the compound was very good. Our younger child attended for 2 years and graduated kindergarten there.

View All Answers


Expat Life:

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

Huge!

View All Answers


2. Morale among expats:

Average. Most people do their own thing outside of work. Get to know a local and you'll have a great time.

View All Answers


3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Pubs, theater, dance, anything you can think of. Germans have festivals for everything, a good reason to drink the finest beers in the world!

View All Answers


4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Great for family and couples. Single friends tell me it's tough.

View All Answers


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

Sure. Anything goes...

View All Answers


6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

The only problems I noticed were prejudices aginst Turks. Germans blame them for taking their jobs, similar to Mexicans in the U.S.

View All Answers


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

It's the heart of Europe with a major airline hub. It's easy to go anywhere from here, but don't forget all the towns and castles to see within easy driving distance. There are so many parks, each with their on character. My family was never at a loss for something to do.

View All Answers


8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Beer! Best I've ever had...

View All Answers


9. Can you save money?

Not really.

View All Answers


Words of Wisdom:

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

I'll be back soon!

View All Answers


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

View All Answers


3. But don't forget your:

View All Answers


4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

View All Answers


5. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

View All Answers


6. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

View All Answers


7. Do you have any other comments?

View All Answers


Subscribe to our newsletter


New book from Talesmag! Honest and courageous stories of life abroad with special needs.

Read More