Expat Services: Company – Personal Expat
I recently met with Susanne, a local German and Founder of Personal Expat, a brand new relocation and all-around expat-service company here in Düsseldorf. Their goal is to make your experience in Germany a lot easier, by helping you with all the paperwork, bureaucracy, and every-day and cultural aspects of living in Germany.
In order to give you a helping hand, I figured I’d ask her a few questions so that you can get straight to business:
Why did you create Personal Expat?
An expat friend of mine who had recently come to Germany was waiting to be picked up by his girlfriend somewhere in Düsseldorf on a chilly autumn evening. He did not really know where he was, so they were talking on the phone to try to figure out exactly where she needed to pick him up. His German girlfriend (isn’t that the reason many expats come to the beautiful hometown of Altbier?) asks:
“What street are you on?”
to which he of course replied,
“I have no freaking clue”
and she says,
“Just look at the sign in the corner, at the beginning of the street, it is probably some word ending in ‘Straße'”
“Ok, let me take a look”
…Short pause with some light jogging and heavy breathing as background noise on the phone. He then says:
“I found it! I am on the Einbahnstraße!”
That means ‘a one-way street’.
Yes, being an expat can be funny sometimes. It can also be cute, embarrassing, it can help you easily connect with other English-speaking people or even find that interesting foreign-charm love connection, but it can also be time-consuming and frustrating, especially if you do not speak the language. I want to help you.
What connected you to this idea?
As a local German born in the area, who studied in Köln/Cologne back in the day where there was no navigation system in the cars (imaging getting around town back then!), and living and working in Düsseldorf for several years with my expat husband and children, I know that having a helping hand when you move to Germany can make a huge difference and make your life a lot easier and your overall experience in Düsseldorf even more enjoyable.
Do you consider yourself an expat?
I lived in the U.S. for about three years to finish my university and gained some work experience (marketing and international business), and then moved to The Netherlands for another 3 years, you guessed it, as an expat. I might be a local German, but I understand the mentality of an expat and what it feels like to be surrounding yourself with new life decisions and opportunities.
What can you help expats with?
We will help you with pretty much all steps along the way, whether it is filling out the paperwork for local registrations, helping you find a suitable home, assisting in choosing the right telephone or internet contract, or even highlighting all the cultural nuance (like knowing that if you invite your German colleagues for a drink on your birthday, they will likely expect you to pay for the whole bill. I know, different, but that is the tradition here, and you also bring your own cake to work).
What do you hope to achieve with Personal Expat?
Our goal is to make all those time-consuming, confusing, bureaucratic aspects of living in Germany a lot easier, so you have time to enjoy the things you really like and explore all the amazing stuff Düsseldorf has to offer. Because Düsseldorf is an amazing place to live, and of course I am biased because I am from here, but my husband now fully agrees.
We will be happy to assist you and look forward to your calls, email, facebook messages (no tweets yet). If you mention that you found us via Life in Dusseldorf, we will give you a free 20-minute consultation. Visit our website at www.personalexpat.com for more information.
Do you have more questions about living #LifeInDüsseldorf? Feel free to send us an email with your question at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have tips you’d like to share with others, we’re also accepting guest posts which include the author’s name, bio and photo.