Munich, Germany Report of what it's like to live there - 07/28/16

Personal Experiences from Munich, Germany

Munich, Germany 07/28/16


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

No. Germany, Scotland, India.

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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?

Midwest. About 12-15 hours, usually with a layover on the East Coast and then a short flight to my smaller hometown.

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3. How long have you lived here?

2 years.

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

Government work.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

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

For consulate employees there are two main housing areas as well as several houses located throughout the city. All apartments are 2-4 bedrooms and in good condition.

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

Similar to D.C. or Boston.

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

Nothing. Everything is available here that you would want. If you are incredibly picky about something, then ship it in bulk, but you can find everything that you want here on the local market.

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

Lots and lots of German and international restaurants. Typical fast food includes doner kebab, American chains like Burger King, etc. You can also get easy delivery through various online delivery services- some have a minimum order amount and service charges, but very reasonable.

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5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

Nope. Some homes don't have screens on the windows.

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Daily Life:

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

DPO. Local postal is easy to use 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?

Available, expect to pay standard wages for Germany.

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

Consulate employees and family members can use a gym at the consulate. There are plenty of gyms in the city where you can pay for membership.

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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?

Credit cards are widely accepted. Having a pin and chip will make it slightly easier. ATMs are everywhere and are safe to use.

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

Unsure. I know of friends that attend local Christian services.

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

German is useful but not necessary. Munich is used to American tourists and you can get by with only English. However, the Bavarians are truly appreciative of any effort to speak in German, even if it is only a sentence or two and is grammatically incorrect. Learning how to converse at stores and in restaurants will make your life easier, but you can get by without it.

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

All are very safe. Public transportation is safe, affordable and extensive. The transportation usually runs until 1 or 2 AM. You can buy single journey, multiple journey, daily, weekly or monthly tickets for public transportation which includes trams, subway and buses. Taxis are safe and plentiful, but can be a bit on the expensive side if you are going out into the suburbs. Taxi from the city center out to the suburbs will cost around 20-25 Euro.

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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. The streets are narrow in many areas and parking is tight. Many places will have street parking only. I was never concerned about my car being broken into- I probably could have left it unlocked and had no issues.

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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. Typically 50-80 Euro a month.

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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?

Plenty of options here, recommend to get a local provider.

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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?

I don't have a pet here. Several friends have cats and dogs and have had no issues with local animal kennels and vets. Dogs are highly trained in Germany and you will see them all over the city- on public transportation, in beer gardens, etc. Many people will let their dogs off leash around the city or in parks. If you have a dog, make sure that it is well trained before taking it off leash. Also, if your dog is a barker or not well trained, expect to get some looks/ judgement from the locals.

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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?

Some family members work at the Consulate, but there are not a ton of jobs. It can be hard to get everything in order to work on the local market, so telecommuting might be the easier option if available.

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2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

Plenty, lots of charities and non-profits.

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

Business or business casual almost everywhere. Formal dress in the American sense is rarely required. It is quite common in Bavaria to have occasion to wear Tracht, typical Bavarian dress (lederhosen, dirndl, etc). I recommend if you are going to be in Munich for 12 months or longer that you invest in at least one outfit, there will be plenty of times where it is appropriate to wear.

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Health & Safety:

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

Not many. Take the same precautions that you would in any city. Europe has been more on edge in the last 12 months due to the various terrorist attacks, but all locals go about their daily lives.

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

None. Excellent standard of medical care in Munich.

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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?

Great. Some might have normal seasonal allergies.

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4. What do people who suffer from environmental or food allergies need to know?

If you have food allergies, in particular for herbs/ spices, I recommend learning the names of those things in German. Most places understand dietary restrictions, but it will be easier if you can communicate those restrictions in German.

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

Mild. Winters can be long and are comparable to the Midwest. Some years there is a lot of snow and some years it only snows once or twice. The days are short in the winter. Summers can be hot and are not very long. Fall and spring are delightful.

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Schools & Children:

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

No personal experience. Most seem happy with the Bavarian International School and the Munich International School. Most high school aged kids go to MIS, but I am unsure of the reason.

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2. 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?

No personal experience. Preschool and day care is expensive. The most common things I have heard from colleagues and friends is that you need to look into these well in advance of your arrival to the city because of limited spaces.

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Expat Life:

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

Lots of expats in Munich. The quality of life is great in the city and expats are very happy.

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

Many chances to make local friends. Meetup and Internations are two online ways to find groups of people with the same interests/ activities.

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

Great for everyone.

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

Good. Large and active LGBT community in Munich.

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5. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Everything. I've really enjoyed the people of Bavaria and the relaxed lifestyle you can find here.

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

Andechs. Tegernsee. All of the lakes in Bavaria.

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

Christmas markets.

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Words of Wisdom:

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


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