First Steps in Hamburg... And a New Country...

There it is. Your decision has been made. You have ventured into the adventure “international experience” and are packing most of the stuff you own in boxes and preparing to move to a new country.

Here are a few of the practical things you should be considering after your arrival:


  • Everything starts with… Your address registration. First of all, check if the obligation to register applies for you. Please note, that in Hamburg you’re obliged to register within two weeks of your official move-in date
  • GEZ – what is this? It’s a flat fee that everyone in Germany pays for public TV. Sorry, there’s no way around it
  • Opening of a bank account. If you’re a foreign resident you might have some difficulties with this
  • Housing. Its good to start well ahead, but be prepared to move fast once you find the right place. The market is very fast and flats are sometimes gone literally within minutes after the ad has been posted online.
  • Start keeping a list with all the service providers you enter into contracts with. They usually sell you a minimum two-year contract. Trust me, soon you’ll lose the overview and it can get expensive if you don’t terminate a contract. Sometimes contrary to what you’d expect these long term contracts in Germany are usually automatically prolonged for a whole new year and at conditions which quite surely will NOT be in your favor. Make sure to keep this things in check with a check list and reminders of expiring termination possibilities.
  • Last but not least: make sure to have at least general knowledge of what your rights and obligations are under German employment laws and regulations. Yes, international relocation often includes a lot of trial and error, but sometimes there’s no reason to learn things the hard way!





But after the initial administrative procedures are done with and the “honey moon” of international relocation wears off the facts start to settle in.

Then the actual adaptation phase is initiated. The so-called “emotional arrival” in a new country. So then, what does it really mean to move to another country? How to ease the process of settling in?

Here are few thoughts:

  • Find a community you feel comfortable in
  • Build some in-person relationships with local people
  • Take up one or two “local” traditions
  • Pick up a new hobby
  • But also keep a special tradition/ritual you already had in your family
  • Establish a new ritual specific to your new home that is not just a “reminiscence” of “what you used to do “back home”
  • And if you have come to a new place “to stay”, inevitably there is also the inevitable processing of the grief of letting go of your old home. Letting that come and pass through you. So that you come out of it stronger, wiser and with a much wider perspective. And last but not least, with a new circle of friends who supported you through it.







If you have thoughts on this topic, I am more than happy to read them! Please share your thoughts on what helped you settle in your new home.

In the meantime, Walk ON!



"The only baggage you can bring is all that you can't leave behind."