Leipzig, Germany Report of what it's like to live there - 01/21/12
Personal Experiences from Leipzig, Germany
1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?
No. Have lived and traveled in a few other European/German cities.
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?
New York. Seven-hour flight though Frankfurt or eight through Berlin.
3. How long have you lived here?
Five months. September 2011- January 2012.
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?
Everything is pretty convenient is you live within Leipzig. Rent is quite cheap and the connections with the bus/tram system is quite fast. Nothing should be more than a 10-15 minute tram ride away!
2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?
3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?
4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?
Everything that's typically American. Expect it to be more expensive though. Forget about the Dollar Menu.
5. What kinds of organic, vegetarian and allergy-friendly foods are available, such as organic produce, gluten-free products, meat substitutes for vegetarians, etc?
I would think that there are such things available.
6. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?
1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?
2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?
3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?
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?
Pretty much everywhere and widely accepted.
5. What English-language religious services are available locally?
6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?
Probably. No idea of cost.
7. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?
If you want to fit in and not constantly rely on others, you should know some German. Many people speak quite good English, but you should make some effort to learn basic German.
8. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?
The tram/bus lines are pretty all accessible. However, I could imagine that getting around the city center, especially with its cobbled paths, could be difficult.
1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?
Yes. For students it's a great deal, but if you buy individual rides, it can get expensive (2.10 Euro for a single ride).
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?
Phone & Internet:
1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?
Yes. Comparable to the States.
2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?
Get a pay-as-you-go phone. Cheap and easy.
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?
2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?
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?
2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?
Same as in the States.
Health & Safety:
1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.
No, not really. Just use common sense logic. Never felt unsafe.
2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?
3. 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?
Good. Nothing to complain about!
4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?
July is really the only summer month. Everything else can range from moderate to downright cold.
Schools & Children:
1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?
2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?
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?
4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?
1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?
Small. I don't know the exact numbers, but not big. This is a big college/student town, so there are also quite a number of international students.
2. Morale among expats:
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?
Quite big! There's always something happening in the clubs/bars/people's homes.
4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?
Sure! It's a great place for all, with a niche for all.
5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?
6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?
None that I have experienced or heard.
7. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?
Small but nice town, very cozy. Being able to travel easily, proximity of Berlin.
8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?
Oper Leipzig, Zoo, Spinnerei district, Canoeing/kayaking, High Ropes Course, etc.
9. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?
10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?
Great location in proximity to Eastern Europe. Things tend to be a bit cheaper here in Eastern Germany as opposed to the West. The history of the town is pretty great and shows how prominent it was 20 years ago.
11. Can you save money?
Yes, a bit. Rent is much cheaper, but the bad Dollar-Euro conversion rates destroy alot of that.
Words of Wisdom:
1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?
Yes. Leipzig is such a nice, comfy cozy town. I love it.
2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:
Expectations for great weather.
3. But don't forget your:
4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?
5. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:
6. Do you have any other comments?
I loved this city as a student and would love coming back here one day to work. It's a city that's easy to get to know, it not overwhelming (like Berlin) and really offers something for everyone.