April 1, 2015

My top 8 online resources for new Expats in Munich

Are you in LinkedIn or in Xing? Last week I received an invitation to connect from Sarah:

"... I am looking for other expats like me in Munich. I found you in LinkedIn and I'd like to connect with you..."

Sarah is one of many: an international professional moving to Germany with no idea of what to expect, the culture, the language and where to meet other expats or locals with similar interests.  LinkedIn and Xing could help Sarah find her next professional challenge in Munich, once she's settled, has learnt German and is ready, but right now what she needs is friends and information:
  • Where to search for apartments
  • How to open a bank account 
  • Where to learn German
  • What are the local habits (tip or no tip?)
  • How to get by the first months with basic German 
  • Best areas in Munich to live?
  • A guide to German red tape
And where can Sarah look for these information and friends?


1.- Look for Blogs!

Blogs are very popular these days because an expat blogger is someone just like you who has already lived and survived what you are facing right now and is telling you all about it FOR FREE!

Don't reinvent the wheel! Just look for a Blog that suits you and read!


2.- InterNations

InterNations is a good place to look for people like you. It is like the Facebook for expats. When you sign up you select your country of origin and then the community you want to join, basically where you live or where you'll be living after you move: Munich. 


Screen shot of the InterNations site


The basic membership is free and is more than enough as a starting point: you get access to the groups and the forums. In Munich there is a group for everything:  hiking, skying, swimming, food lovers, playdates, day trips, language exchanges, etc. and if you have a question you can post it in the forum.


3.- Check out Expatica

I am not a big fan of Expatica... Yes, it is possibly the largest website for expats worldwide but it's not for me. I have visited it many times when planning a move or exploring a new country before the relocation but it doesn't work for me. I always ended up frustrated; lost with all their advertisements; it also takes me ages to find the section I want; I desperate scrolling up and down, clicking one page after another... 



4.- Look for Associations

The following are just examples of the many many local clubs and associations that you can join, for example:




5.- Join the Germany's English speaking crowd at Toytown Munich

ToyTown is a satellite website of the popular online Newspaper The Local that reports on German news in English. I like the forum of ToyTown, the community is very active and so it's an amazing source of information. 


Screen shot of the ToyTown site



Screen shot of The Local @ Munich site




6.- The Stammtisch

Stammtisch in German refers to a group of regulars in a pub or more precisely to the table reserved in that pub/bar where a group of regulars meet. In Munich these days Stammtisch is used for the expat meet-ups with locals where the expats practice German and the locals learn Italian, French, Spanish etc. For example:



7.- Expat Blog

Expat Blog is a specialized site for blogs: your very own online store for expat blogs. If you run a search about Munich you'll a list of all the blogs about Munich written by expats.

The Forum is weak.. or at least the quality is. You'll get better answers if you go to InterNations or ToyTown but the basic information about moving or living Munich is good, useful, worth  signing up for it.



Screen shot of My Adventures in Munich site @ expat blog



8.- Visit the Expat in the City event

The Expat in The City event is new and is brilliant. It is a local event that took place in Munich for the first time this year in March and that brought together the international community of Munich and all the services, associations and things related to the expats. 




Screen shot of Expat in the City 



Which other online resources you know to help new Expats in Munich?

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