Have you ever wondered what life would be like in another country? Meet expat, Redawn Heuberger from South Africa, currently living in Germany. Here, she talks about her experience of moving to a new country, what life is like as a foreigner, and so much more!
She is a mother of 3 children and Founder of Rainbow Au Pair Service based in Germany and Rainbow Nation Services in South Africa (NPC). She is a powerful force in the workplace with a positive attitude, and the right amount of energy to encourage others to work hard and succeed. She loves cooking, traveling, jogging, and socializing.
SO, TELL US, WHERE ARE YOU ORIGINALLY FROM – WHERE WERE YOU BORN?
I am from Paarl, Western Cape in South Africa.
IN WHICH COUNTRY AND CITY ARE YOU CURRENTLY LIVING IN NOW AND FOR HOW LONG?
I am currently living in Oberkirch (Black Forest) in Germany for about 21 years.
WHAT WAS IT LIKE MOVING AND HOW DID YOU FIND THE EXPERIENCE OF SETTLING IN AND MAKING IT HOME?
It was exciting and stressful at the same time. Settling in my new home was not that difficult because my then-boyfriend organised everything.
TELL US ABOUT LIFE IN GERMANY – WHAT IS IT REALLY LIKE FOR FOREIGNERS?
My life in Germany was very lonely at the beginning, I couldn’t speak the language, the people were unfriendly and I was mostly homesick. I actually went home after 11 months for a month because I was soooo homesick and I cried like a baby at the airport when I departed.
CAN YOU DESCRIBE GERMANY IN THREE WORDS?
The city that I live in is a wine region, with nice restaurants, like Paarl and quite popular for tourists and hikers. Germany is also quite safe and it’s affordable to live here. So in three words: Safe, cold, green!
WHAT ARE THE BEST THINGS TO DO IN THE AREA YOU LIVING IN; ANYTHING TO RECOMMEND TO FUTURE EXPATS?
Hiking is very popular, there are also a lot of festivals you can attend. The wine in this region is also very good.
WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST ADJUSTMENTS YOU AND YOUR FAMILY HAD TO MAKE WHEN SETTLING INTO EXPAT LIFE IN GERMANY? DID YOU EXPERIENCE ANY PARTICULAR ELEMENTS OF CULTURE SHOCK? AND IF SO, WHAT WAS IT.
The biggest adjustments for me were driving on the right side of the road, learning a new language, being on time, and cooking German food.
HOW WOULD YOU RATE THE HEALTHCARE AND PUBLIC TRANSPORT SYSTEM IN GERMANY VS. THAT OF SOUTH AFRICA?
You can’t even compare it!! Healthcare is cheap/affordable and mandatory! The public transport is great, safe and always on time!
WAS IT EASY TO MAKE FRIENDS AND SOCIALIZE?
Yes, because my husband was in a band, a traditional German music group, (not my cup of tea) and I also met South Africans after six months of living here.
HOW DOES THE COST OF LIVING IN GERMANY COMPARE TO SOUTH AFRICA?
Food is cheap because the German government is involved, which means they see to it that it stays affordable for everyone even the poor. Properties are expensive though. The cars are also cheap compared to South Africa.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR ANYONE WANTING TO MOVE TO GERMANY WITH THEIR FAMILY.
Don’t come!! Only joking – haha. Do your research and Google Germany, buy a book about Germany, etc. and educate yourself about the country, culture, food, and language, etc Be prepared to answer a lot of questions, the Germans asks a lot of questions!