5 things you should know before moving abroad

5 Things You Should Know Before Moving Abroad

5 things you should know before moving abroad

I’m moving abroad! Now what? Here are 5 things you should know.

Moving abroad is a life-changing journey and having your ducks in a row will make it smoother sailing! Getting set up can be daunting, so plan ahead to ensure you are ready for take off. Before the big move, think about securing health insurance coverage and bank accounts. Being proactive could result in quicker success once you’re in a new country!

We Got You!

Fragomen has been there, and we get it! That is why we have put together this list of 5 things to consider before moving abroad.

5 things you should know about Moving Country Packing Boxes

Understanding visa and work permit requirements

Visa Requirements for Expats in Schengen Region

As you plan your journey abroad, it’s essential to consider the type of documentation required for entry. Your nationality, length of stay and purpose in country may call for work permits or visas – so be sure to talk with both HR at your organization and an immigration provider about timelines & necessary documents!

Many governments, require applicants to apply for a work permit approval before entering the country to work and live. Some governments require newly procured diplomas or birth certificates before applying for a work permit.  Understanding timelines are key when moving abroad.

Immigration professionals, such as Fragomen, can support in visa and work permit applications, help prepare documents, and provide advice throughout the application process.

As you plan your journey abroad, it’s essential to consider the type of documentation required for entry. Your nationality, length of stay and purpose in country may call for work permits or visas – so be sure to talk with both HR at your organization and an immigration provider about timelines & necessary documents!

Many governments, require applicants to apply for a work permit approval before entering the country to work and live. Some governments require newly procured diplomas or birth certificates before applying for a work permit.  Understanding timelines are key when moving abroad.

Immigration professionals, such as Fragomen, can support in visa and work permit applications, help prepare documents, and provide advice throughout the application process.

Visa Requirements for Expats in Schengen Region

Find out if you’re eligible to work

Once you understand that you may need a work permit to work and live in the country, it does not mean you will automatically qualify.

If you are planning to work in Germany, Austria or Switzerland, your skill set, salary level and even nationality can all be important factors when it comes time to apply for a work permit.

It’s best practice to have an immigration lawyer assess your individual situation and provide tailored advice on your eligibility requirements and the right type of visa that suits you perfectly.

Expats get work permit for Schengen Region

Choose a bank and open an account

5 Things You Should Know-Open bank account

Before moving to a new country, you should have some money in savings. In some cases and depending on your visa type and the country you are moving to, you might be required to show proof of savings with your visa and work permit application. Many governments offer cost of living calculators online, which can be a great resource for new immigrants.

When you arrive, you will also need to open a bank account. This can often be done online, however, in Germany some banks even have accounts specifically designed for newcomers and offer credit cards to help build credit history.

Review the options as it can take over 3 weeks to open a bank account and get the card and PIN number needed to receive money. An ideal Bank option for English-speaking expats in Revolut.

Before moving to a new country, you should have some money in savings. In some cases and depending on your visa type and the country you are moving to, you might be required to show proof of savings with your visa and work permit application. Many governments offer cost of living calculators online, which can be a great resource for new immigrants.

When you arrive, you will also need to open a bank account. This can often be done online, however, in Germany some banks even have accounts specifically designed for newcomers and offer credit cards to help build credit history.

Review the options as it can take over 3 weeks to open a bank account and get the card and PIN number needed to receive money. An ideal Bank option for English-speaking expats in Revolut.

5 Things You Should Know-Open bank account

Apply for healthcare or insurance

You might not be automatically eligible for health coverage in your destination country, even if it offers universal healthcare to citizens. Always check with the local government in your destination country to see what your rights are regarding healthcare.

Germany and Austria may require you to have health insurance before obtaining a work permit. If you are not eligible, due to your work permit status or application process – make sure you have valid traveller’s insurance to cover the time-period you are in the country and fully insured by the countries health care system. Your immigration team can provide you with the advice needed to ensure you are insured.

MW Expat Solution Services can help you compare insurances and help you find the best service provider.

Apply for health insurance Germany

Don’t forget about the little things

5 Things You Should Know-Moving Abroad Expats remember home

When moving abroad, we tend to focus on the big things – like housing, work, and healthcare. But there are lots of little things to think about, too! Remember to:

  • Make appointments for your utility accounts, such as internet and electricity, before leaving home.
  • Unlock your mobile phone so you’ll be able to use a local SIM card and get a power plug adapter for your charger if you need one.
  • Check the COVID-19 requirements, as travel regulations change quickly. Keep up to date on what you need to do before and after arriving in the destination country.

And most importantly, this goes without saying. Bring a few things that remind you of home and that you will not be able to buy abroad. Bringing your favourite face wash or snack food can also make a big difference when you’re just starting out.

When moving abroad, we tend to focus on the big things – like housing, work, and healthcare. But there are lots of little things to think about, too! Remember to:

  • Make appointments for your utility accounts, such as internet and electricity, before leaving home.
  • Unlock your mobile phone so you’ll be able to use a local SIM card and get a power plug adapter for your charger if you need one.
  • Check the COVID-19 requirements, as travel regulations change quickly. Keep up to date on what you need to do before and after arriving in the destination country.

And most importantly, this goes without saying. Bring a few things that remind you of home and that you will not be able to buy abroad. Bringing your favourite face wash or snack food can also make a big difference when you’re just starting out.

5 Things You Should Know-Moving Abroad Expats remember home

Overall, getting a head-start on your travel preparations and understanding the timelines will help you. Speaking with an immigration legal professional will help reduce stress and ensure a smooth transition when moving to a new country. Fragomen is here to be your trusted immigration advisor!

Fragomen offers English-speaking Immigration Law services. They are the largest exclusive immigration and visa service provider in the world. With a team of German and English-speaking experts, as well as an additional 19 language capabilities, they are ready to serve clients from all backgrounds and nationalities. Whether you are driven by lifestyle reasons or looking for new opportunities, Fragomen is here to provide comprehensive solutions and a smooth immigration experience for you and your family throughout the world’s 170 countries.

Expat Grief Seasonal Depression psychologist Cologne

Expat Grief – 5 Tips for the Winter

Hi, I am Paulina and I have ridden a rollercoaster ever since this adventure of living life abroad. As a psychologist and expat, I have had the opportunity to dig deeper into the expat experience to better understand it and learned how to apply everything I knew about human beings and their mental health to expat grief while living life in another country. One of the best ways to cope with expat grief is to share personal experiences of living life away from back home.

2018 December
Cologne, Germany

It was 2 pm and I was tired as if it were 11 pm. I didn’t know exactly why I was so tired and demotivated. Without thinking any further – I didn’t have the energy to enter the rabbit hole – I decided to take a nap on the couch.

The next thing I know, I open my eyes and it was dark, with horror I jumped off the couch and went to check how late it was. ‘I must have slept for hours! How unproductive!’ I thought. But it was only 4:30 pm. Sure, I had slept two hours more than I wanted, but I couldn’t believe how dark and sad the weather was. Everything was so still, but it was so early in the afternoon. ‘So this is winter… what a blast.’

This is how I spent my first winter. Suddenly everything I had learned and heard about stationary depression made sense! And later I realized that, on top of it all, I was going through expat grief.


December 2022
Cologne, Germany

I can’t wait for the season to start! Looking forward to the Christmas Markets and the cosy evenings that can only take place, at least without guilt, during the winter.  Learned to appreciate the magic that comes with each season, and the different activities and traditions that colour every month here.

Sure, I miss my friends and family members, but I have built a support network here. I found the beauty in every new relationship I have made and left many prejudices aside. It is not perfect, but I found my peace.

In this article, I explore some of the main challenges that arise during the experience of living abroad, more specifically dealing with the winter. Also, I will talk about some advice that can help you go through it in a mindful and wholesome manner.

Dealing with expat grief – why is the winter so hard?

The obvious answer is related to the weather and how it affects us. We can also consider the impact of the winter holidays, which we usually relate to friends and family. If we can’t be close to them, this might trigger sadness. Also, in general, the Christmas holidays can trigger stress for some people.

But there is also a more complex answer! During winter, we are somehow invited to be more introspective. It signals the end of a year and still accompanies us during the first months of the next. Somehow, we are confronted with many questions about our life decisions and future.

Where am I going? Am I on the right track? How did I spend this year? Am I satisfied? What’s next?

When we are expats it forces sometimes even deeper questions, such as: Am I in the right place? Would I be better if I were closer to my family? Is this worth it? What is here for me?

The winter is a mellow season. Besides the rush of the holidays, winter’s energy tends to be calmer. There are fewer plans, the light is scarce and our energy might feel lower than usual. On top, we might even be low on vitamins that are important for our mood and energy levels (check with a medical provider, you can find some that speak in English here on Project Expat.

So what is in your power to live a more mindful and wholesome winter as an expat? Here are 5 tips:

Normalize your feelings! And take control over your actions.

Expat Grief-women thinking about life

There is nothing more draining when dealing with expat grief or phases of depression than fighting or trying to justify our emotions. Feeling sad or demotivated can be natural. Check in with yourself and see what your mind has been telling you: are your thoughts of a different nature lately? Are you believing every thought that comes to your mind? Do I have to re-evaluate my life choices?

Try to take some perspective by mentioning each thought and validating the feeling associated next.

For example:

There is a part of me that is thinking that winter in Germany is too grey and sad. Therefore, I feel like I’m hopeless.

Then check if there is an alternative thought that is not so absolute.

There is a part of me that doesn’t like some things about the winter in Germany, and I accept it and decide to be nice to this side of myself.

Finally, look for something under your control and commit to acting accordingly.

Even though there is a part of me that doesn’t like some things about winter, I decide to focus my energy on (insert here a new hobby, activity you enjoy or something you do like about the winter season). You need to focus on a different aspect of life.

Decide not to fight reality.

Expat life Experience


That first winter I spent here, I repeated several times how much I missed the sun (I am Mexican BTW) and how much I hated the cold weather. No matter how many times I said it and fought the fact that it is like this, it never changed.

So, why spend so much energy and thoughts on something that goes way beyond my power?

I decided to take my own advice. Yes. It is cold, wet, and dark. But once we stop talking about it and dreading it so much, it stops being that important.

Develop new routines and traditions.

woman enjoying Christmas market

Going to every Christmas market in my area and establishing regular cosy dates with my husband and friends is an activity that is specific to winter, and I enjoy it a lot!

More movie nights, coffee in bed in the mornings, taking out my winter clothes, indoor activities (that I rarely do during summer) and taking mindful walks (noticing colours, nature changes and weather differences) the latter one during each season have become a new routine for me. Find those who enjoy the same activities.

Learning about Germany’s traditions can also be a great manner to be more mindful and wholesome because we activate our curiosity modus and therefore, we become more open. It also helps us integrate our past and our present.

In the same manner, sharing our traditions with our new friends gives us the chance to feel more ourselves and integrate with the new culture.

Cultivate gratitude and self-compassion.

Woman Self Compassion

When we suffer, we enter an alert or defensive mode, which usually leads to anger. This is because we focus only on what is hurting us or what we consider a potential threat. Whether you are here because of studies, work, or love, try to connect with gratitude.

What are you thankful for? What have you learned so far? How can you compliment yourself? Are there people who have supported you in this process? Can you be thankful for a new connection you made?

Self-compassion can also play a huge role here. Rather than being hard on yourself for experiencing expat grief or assuming a victim position, try to embrace your experience and honour your process! You have to constantly remind yourself to be positive.

Recognize the value of your effort, and your courage and treat your pain kindly. You are not alone; it is hard sometimes for all of us. A lot of expats feel like this.

Embrace the holidays! (If they are important to you)

start new traditions in new home

If your family traditions and holidays are celebrated during December/January, these days might be extra tough on you. I feel you. Finding ways to connect to your family can be one of the most important aspects of when dealing with expat grief, for example sending something home and or having some quality FaceTime. Also, it is okay to express how you feel and seek comfort.

Many times, we avoid these vulnerable moments because we are scared of either being a burden or not being able to recover from them. So we live in silence. We might also feel that admitting we miss them might sound like a failure or a sign of unhappiness.

What we imagine they will think and feel, or we might open, is way bigger than it is! Try it! Allow yourself to open up and revive the love of the ones you love.

Ask your friends and family in Germany to celebrate with you. If they have similar traditions join them with gratitude and try to make that special dish or special thing that your family/country does back home!


Finally, as I mentioned at the beginning, the end of a year usually comes with some reflective questions. You need to phrase your questions differently. Positively phrasing these questions can be a game changer.

Ask yourself: What could be better? Where do I want to improve? Where do I want to be in 6 months? Is there anything I can do to make my experience more positive? What have I learned? Have I accomplished anything?

There is no small accomplishment and no small goal! You want to give yourself time, patience, and kindness. Every small win counts.

If you run into any troubles to practice one of these tips or you may feel like you could use some guidance, contact me for a free call! I know first hand the experience of moving to another country, not having family members around and dealing with life away from everything you know. I provide advice, coaching and psychology services in Cologne and online.

English-speaking Psychologist Koln

Happy winter!

Renting a Flat in Germany: Step by Step

We are aware of the fact that renting a flat in Germany can be a challenge for everyone, especially for expats coming to the country. Documents, bureaucracy procedures, phone calls in a foreign language… It may all sound too much. But don’t worry – Project Expat is here to help you. We have created this article in order to assist you during all the steps in renting a flat in Germany. Let’s dive right into it!

Renting a flat in Germany

What documents do I need to rent a flat in Germany?

First of all, if you’re coming to Germany as an expat, you should make sure that you have the right to stay in the country (that is, you are in possession of a residence permit, if applicable). If you want to rent a flat in the country, the first thing the landlord will ask for is your ID or passport. Afterwards, you must be able to prove that you can financially support yourself in the country and you can therefore pay your rent. Normally, you will have to provide your landlord with a salary slip or your bank statement to prove that you have enough income.

If you have already lived and rented a property in Germany before, you will need to provide the credit record documentation, also known as Schufa Record. This document tracks the debt that you may have, which is why landlords might ask for it.

Schufa in Germany

Lastly, if you are unable to submit the aforementioned documentation, the landlord will ask you for the name of a guarantor. If you are unable to pay your rent for any reason, this person must formally agree to do so. However, this is not very common and possessing all the needed documents is usually a piece of cake!

How do I look for a flat in Germany?

There are many options for expats who want to rent an apartment in Germany. Most people just use online renting webpages where you can search for individual or shared flats, talk to the landlords and arrange everything from the comfort of your home. Some of the most popular ones are Immobilien Scout 24, Immowelt and WG-Gesucht, but there are many others.

In addition, you can also choose to rent a flat through a real estate agency, which can make things much easier, but you also have to pay a fee for this service.

After you have found your place, all that you must do is pretty simple: you just have to arrange an appointment with your landlord, submit all the documents and simply get the keys for your apartment!

What’s the usual cost of renting a flat in Germany?

This totally depends on the German city where you’re planning to stay. However, average prices are normally set per square meter. The most expensive cities to live in Germany are Munich, Hamburg and Cologne, where apartments right in the city can range from 1.500 to 2.500 euros a month. However, the further you move away from the city, the less you will pay. In the rest of cities, a one-bedroom apartment costs around 700 euros, which is very reasonable.

When you rent an apartment, you have to pay a deposit equal to three months’ worth of rent. Additionally, utilities are typically not included in the rent. Make sure that the rental agreement specifies this. Kaltmiete or “cold rent” refers to a property that does not include heating nor utilities in the rent. On the other hand, a Warmmiete includes heating costs and all the other expenses.

For Rent in Germany

For expats moving to Germany, renting unfurnished apartments in Germany might be a terrific choice because it gives them the freedom to customize the interior to their preferences and needs. When renting an unfurnished flat in Germany, there are a few considerations to make. First of all, expats should be ready to pay a larger deposit, which is often equal to three months’ worth of rent, as well as one month’s worth of rent up front. Expats should also be aware that they will be in charge of paying their own utility bills, including those for water, gas, and electricity. It’s also crucial to remember that many German landlords want liability insurance from their tenants, which can be acquired through a German insurance provider.

All things being said, we have gone through the whole list of what you have to do to rent a place in Germany. Yes, we know – it’s easier than it seems! We hope that this article made you feel less stressed about renting a flat in the country. If you’re patient enough, you will find the best home for you. Good luck on your search! Check out our 5 Step Relocation Plan!

Most Common German Stereotypes when on Holiday thumbnail

6 Common German Stereotypes when on Holidays

With the rise of travel lovers around the globe, it is very easy to confirm that every country has its own stereotypes when it comes to behaviour during the holiday season. Now that COVID-19 restrictions are being lifted worldwide and we start to see the light at the end of the tunnel, we thought that it’d be nice to refresh 6 Common German Stereotypes on vacation while you get ready for the upcoming holidays. Have you chosen your destination yet? Let’s see how the locals will perceive you over there!

Sandals and socks – an eyesore?

If you find yourself in a Mediterranean or exotic country with temperatures ranging from 25 to 35 degrees, spotting a German will be an easy task. Being one of the most well-known German stereotypes, brown leather sandals and white socks are the holiday essentials that most tourists pack in their hand luggage.

Socks and Sandals

Leaving this terrible attack on the fashion world aside, what most locals wonder is the following point: if it’s warm enough to wear sandals, why would you want to wear socks with them? Many Germans would defend themselves against this cliché by arguing that socks are useful to prevent blisters on their feet!

The early bird catches the sun lounger

It’s 10 o’clock in the morning and you wake up to the peaceful sound of the chirping of birds. You’re enjoying your summer vacation in a wonderful 4-star hotel. After your breakfast buffet, you decide to go down to the swimming pool and sunbathe while you read your favourite book. All of a sudden, your relaxing dream turns into a nightmare: there’s not even one spot left! Does this ring a bell?

Sun lounger by the pool

Germans have an obsession with throwing their towels into the sun lounger at 7 a.m. to reserve them for later, so it’s no surprise that this has become one of the funniest German stereotypes. The reason behind waking up this early on their days off remains a mystery, but it’s worth saying that this accurate stereotype infuriates tourists worldwide!

Mallorca, Ibiza and Formentera – the German Paradise 

It is no surprise that the most popular destination for German tourists is the Mediterranean. According to tourism statistics, over 4.5 million German citizens have visited the Balearic Islands every year since 2016. This figure pops up a question: have you ever met a German who hasn’t been to Mallorca – or better said, the 17th Bundesland, like Germans call it?


In addition to tourists, the German community on the island continues to stand out from the rest of foreigners with more than 36,000 people registered in their local municipalities.

But what stereotypical conceptions do locals have about them? Well, as rough as it may sound, we could say that especially young tourists don’t have the best of reputations over there. In fact, they are well known for partying until sunrise and drinking beer and sangria in abundance.

However, it is not only the nice weather and cheap prices that make the Germans want to return to this top summer destination, but rather the endless wonders that can be found in this charming island.

Farmer’s tan

Nothing says summer like an uneven tan! Have you ever peeled off your shirt at the beach only to find a sun-kissed lower arm but a blindingly pale torso? Then you know what we’re talking about! During their holidays, some Germans forget to put on sunscreen whilst the sun is at its peak, resulting in a natural good-looking body painting they wish they had avoided!

Sparkling water: hate it or love it

Even though sparkling water is quite common among many European countries, if we take into consideration that the biggest holiday destination for Germans is Spain, ordering a bottle of mineral water might end up in disappointment.

Carbonated water is not everybody’s cup of tea outside of Germany. We can assure you that waiters prefer not to be yelled at if they bring still water to their customers. Moral of the story: you’d better wait to have your Sprudelwasser at home.

6 Common German Stereotypes when on Holidays


Germans: Masters of the Rule Book and Connoisseurs of the Fine Print

Germans take their rule book on vacation because they love rules so much! They’ll be relaxing on the sand, observing the “no running” sign with vigilance, and making sure their beach umbrella is put precisely 10 feet apart from their neighbour’s. Even a neighbourhood watch will be set up to make sure that everyone abides by the “no diving” policy at the pool.

No Diving

They may be observed at the hotel buffet weighing out their assigned portions according to the restrictions of the “all-inclusive package.” And when it’s time to check out of the resort, they’ll be sure to strictly abide by the “check-out before 11am” guideline. But don’t worry, they still know how to have fun – they just make sure to follow the ‘designated beer drinking time’ rule while doing so.”

To end this article on a good note and avoid potential offenses, keep in mind that these are just funny and sometimes exaggerated stereotypes – we know that not all Germans are the same!

If you wish to find out more curiosities about Germany, check out our blog article on German superstitions! 

Vorschaubild_5 Step Relocation_DONATH_feature

5 Step Relocation Plan: Moving to Germany

Read on for for our Blog on 5 Step Relocation Plan: Moving to Germany

If you’re moving to Germany, we are aware of how extensive the whole relocation process can be. Don’t worry! Our partners from DONATH Moving & Relocation count on specialists that will assist you by providing their best moving and relocation services. Overall, they will support you and ensure that the entire move goes smoothly while you can focus fully on your job and your new workplace.

Moving to Germany: 5-Step-Relocation-Plan

Step 1: Finding a good moving company

As an expat, it might be difficult to decide which moving company is the most appropriate for you. Therefore, it is important that you don’t only compare prices, but you also make sure that it offers all the high-quality services that you will need during the move. DONATH Moving & Relocation created a super useful checklist for expats to help you find the best moving company. Download it here to find out the 5 steps that you should follow in your search!

Step 2: Being well prepared

The DONATH relocation experts can assist with a wide range of time-consuming tasks when moving to a new residence:

  • home search
  • rental agreement
  • school and kindergarten search (if applicable)
  • preparation of visa application
  • formalities and administrative paperwork
  • integration of the family
  • all questions relating to pets, etc.

Moving Checklist

This allows you to focus on your new professional challenge while the experts take care of everything else.

Step 3: Packing your household goods

We recommend to only use a professional moving company for your move to Germany. They have the knowhow how to pack and load an overseas container and give you advice on how to ensure your household goods.

Pack up your personal belongings and set them aside. Valuables, keys, documents and passports should be packed in a separate bag that you keep with you at all times. This way, you won’t have to spend hours looking for the things that you desperately need for the first night in your new home.

Step 4: Moving day

Don´t forget taking a day off work on your moving day. To ensure a smooth transition to Germany for the whole family, why not arrange for some trusted relatives or friends to look after your children during moving day?

Moving to Germany

Don’t forget to pack all of your most precious possessions and make sure you include plenty of snacks and refreshments – keeping everyone’s spirits up! The moving crew would also be happy to have a cup of coffee or a refreshing non-alcoholic drink.

Step 5: Arriving in Germany

Congratulations, you’ve made it to your new residence!

Moving to a new home can be an exciting and empowering experience. However, it’s important not to forget one key step: reaching out to various organizations such as banks, registration offices and insurance companies so they are aware of your updated address!

Any questions left? Do not hesitate to get in touch with our partners at DONATH Moving & Relocation. You will not regret it!

5-Step Relocation Plan: Moving to Germany

Pregnancy and Giving Birth in Germany

Are you pregnant and new to Germany? Congratulations – what an amazing time in your life! Pregnancy and birth are among the biggest transitions in life that you can experience. It’s exciting, and maybe a bit scary, but even more so in a new and different country. Pregnancy and giving birth in Germany is likely to be very different from being pregnant in your own country since Germany offers a unique service to expectant mothers.

Pregnancy and Giving Birth in Germany

Preparing yourself and your partner for parenthood is an important task. Babies can only be born once, and it helps to have an understanding of the process and what your options are, giving you more confidence to face the big day.

Let me take you on a journey through all the different stages of your pregnancy, exploring how things work here when giving birth in Germany.

The gynaecologist

When you think you’re pregnant, your first stop is usually your gynaecologist. Unlike in other countries, it is the gynaecologist (who will also be trained in obstetrics) rather than your general practitioner (GP) who confirms your pregnancy, and takes you into their care.

Being Pregnant as an Expat in Germany

This doctor will set up the various appointments you need to attend during pregnancy, do the antenatal check-ups, including taking blood, conducting ultrasound scans and prescribing any medication needed, but they won’t actually deliver your baby.

The midwife

One of the questions you are most likely to hear is whether you have found a Hebamme (midwife). Alongside seeing a gynaecologist, as described above, you can – and should – find a midwife to guide and educate you throughout your pregnancy, and to support you during and after the birth.

At its core, the midwifery model of care, which the German system is based on, sees pregnancy and birth as normal physiological events rather than as medical emergencies.

Finding a midwife in Germany

In Germany, midwives are specialists, professionally trained in caring for women during pregnancy and birth, and in the period immediately after. They train directly in midwifery at a hospital rather than starting out in general nursing and then specialising. They must pass an exam to get a state diploma, and from 2022 they will have to undertake further study.

Midwives can practise both inside and outside hospitals, and offer a range of services. Germany has always had a strong midwifery profession, and legally it is only midwives who can attend when someone is giving birth in Germany, not nurses. Doctors can deliver a baby, but only in the presence of a midwife, whereas midwives can attend a normal birth without the presence of a doctor. This is why labour wards are staffed exclusively by midwives.

Let’s look at all the services midwives offer in Germany.

Prenatal care in Germany

While many women choose to go to their gynaecologist (Frauenarzt/Frauenärztin) for prenatal care, midwives also provide prenatal, or antenatal care, sometimes on their own or in partnership with a gynaecologist. Midwives can do everything that the gynaecologist does, except for conducting ultrasound scans. If you choose shared care, you will have alternating visits with your gynaecologist and your midwife.

Even if you are seeing a gynaecologist for all your antenatal care, it’s still worth consulting a midwife. She will offer you advice about nutrition and exercise in pregnancy. Some midwives offer alternative therapies such as acupuncture, homeopathy and herbal remedies. All of this is can be helpful right from the early stages of pregnancy, when you may be suffering from nausea, right through to the end.

Prenatal care in Germany for Expats

Alongside the prenatal care, many midwives offer a range of courses on pregnancy, birth and the period immediately after birth. These could include pregnancy yoga, exercise classes, antenatal/birth preparation classes, hypnobirthing courses, breastfeeding workshops, postnatal recovery classes, baby massage and many more.

The cost of some of these courses, like the antenatal classes, is completely covered by health insurance (but only partly covered for the partner). Some courses have to be paid for privately, but being well prepared physically, emotionally and mentally can bring great benefits at this important milestone in your life.

Care during giving birth in Germany

Whether you’re in a hospital, a birth centre, or at home, midwives are the principal caregivers during labour and giving birth in Germany. Whether you have met the midwife who will look after you during labour will depend on the setting:

  • In hospital it is likely that you will not have met the midwife who attends you during the birth, but in general it will be midwives rather than other health professionals who look after you during the birth.
  • Midwives who work in a birth centre (an independent centre run by midwives) or offer a home-birth service usually provide care throughout the pregnancy. They are keen to get to know you and establish a relationship of trust.
  • Midwives with visiting rights (Beleghebamme) offer a private one-to-one service within a hospital. They have a contract with a hospital that enables them to take their clients to that hospital for the delivery. The advantage of this option is that you receive one-to-one care, and you know who will be attending the birth of your baby.

Postnatal care in Germany

You can also find a midwife to cover your postnatal care (Nachsorge). She will visit you at home in the period after birth, to support you with breastfeeding and your recovery, and to offer advice about looking after your baby.

Post Natal Care for Expats in Germany

Benefits of midwife care

Being in the care of a midwife gives you the opportunity to ask all your questions and get them answered by someone with a wealth of experience. Seeing her regularly means you can be better informed during this crucial stage of your life. Studies show that women who have been under the care of midwives are more likely to have a better outcome at the birth than those who haven’t.

Finding a midwife

Unfortunately Germany, like many countries, has experienced a shortage of midwives. However, during the coronavirus pandemic, Germany allowed midwives to offer online support, and this has opened up new opportunities. It means you can consult a midwife anywhere in Germany, no matter where you live, and get answers and support.

Your first step on discovering you are pregnant should be to find a midwife, and a place for the birth. Finding a midwife can be tricky, so it’s best to start looking as soon as possible.

Here are some options for finding a midwife in your area:

  • Simply Google ‘Hebamme’ and the name of the area you live in
  • Ask your doctor – they will be able to provide you with a ‘Hebbamennliste’: a booklet with the contact details of all the midwives in your area
  • Ask your friends and colleagues for recommendations
  • Have a look on Facebook: you will often find groups called ‘Hebammenvermittlung’ plus the name of your city
  • International groups on Facebook can also be a useful source of information

Take a look at these sites:

Although it would be great to have all your services in one place, it’s often not possible. It’s probably better to see a midwife during your pregnancy, even if she is not one who can take care of you in the postnatal period. You can always be looking for a postnatal midwife as your pregnancy progresses.

Birth is the start of life, and everyone deserves the best start in life.

Useful terms

  • Antenatal care: Vorsorge
  • Antenatal course: Geburtzvorbereitung
  • Birth centre: Geburtshaus
  • Gynaecologist/OB-GYN: Frauenartzt, Frauenärztin
  • Home birth: Hausgeburt
  • Labour ward: Kreisssal
  • Midwife: Hebamme
  • Midwife with visiting rights: Beleghebamme
  • Postnatal care: Nachsorge/Wochenbett

Jutta Wohlrab has been an international midwife for 38 years and a hypnotherapist for 15 years. She has dedicated her career to guiding expecting parents to a joyful, safe and happy birth.  In her book “Happy Birthing Mind”, she shares all her tips and secrets about reducing pain, releasing fears and feeling calm and confident about giving birth. She is also an international speaker and teaches her methods to birth professionals all over the world.

Brainhacking & Brainjogging with Dr. Caroline Böttiger

The Human Brain: from Brainhacking to Brainjogging

In this article, from Brainhacking to Brainjogging, our partner Dr.Caroline Böttiger, neuroscientist and psychotherapist, will give us an overview of some scientific methods that help us improve the health of the human brain!

We know that the human brain is one of the most complex organs that exist and we are far from really understanding its functions. However, science has developed various techniques to measure, analyse and dissect it. Particularly we now know in which area of our brain we speak, feel, hear or see. In addition, we also found out what keeps us concentrated and how the brain puts us to sleep. In parallel, we started to use these insights to cure multiple brain diseases, but we can also use them to preventively train our brain to concentrate better (by literally taking our brain to the gym).

Brainhacking to Brainjogging

How does the fitness studio for the human brain look like?

The activation states of our brain are defined by wavelengths. There is a pacemaker deep within our brain that defines how awake and concentrated we are. This pacemaker stimulates different types of neurons, each of them being responsible for different frequencies. Slow frequencies put the brain asleep and high frequencies cause alertness.

Human Brain Look Like-Xray

Therefore, if you want to increase your focus and concentration, you need to stimulate the neurons in the corresponding frequency range. Of course, the brain fitness studio does, look a little bit different than a gym where you train your muscles: it uses amplifiers, electrodes and a computer. However, there is a big similarity: what you stimulate over a certain amount of time will start to grow. This brainjogging method is called “Neurofeedback”.

What is Neurofeedback?

Neurofeedback is a revolutionary technique that uses EEG recordings to assess and bolster human brain activity – empowering individuals with improved mental performance. By placing electrodes on the scalp, specialists are able to capture electrical signals from various parts of the brain and translate them into an electroencephalogram (EEG) – a unique assessment providing valuable insight. Patients themselves do not feel anything from the EEG recording. The EEG measures all relevant brain waves and forwards them to a computer. A special computer program divides the brain waves into frequency ranges. All important data is measured in real time. Video feedback on brain activity is shown to the patient.

Brainhacking Test Brain Activity Neurofeedback

Optimal human brain waves can be differentiated from stressful ones. As soon the patient reacts with stressful brain activity, the video stops until the brain activity goes back to the more efficient frequencies. Therefore, this stimulates the growth of neurons specialized in the optimal brain waves. With ongoing training, you will increase your ability to concentrate and pay attention.

How much do we need to train our brains?

In order to have a long lasting effect, you need to train your brain:

  • 20-40 times
  • 1-2 times a week.

Moreover, this is not too much when you think about the fact that the effect on better concentration will improve your brain for the rest of your life!

Brainjogging Exercise your brain

We hope that you found this article useful and it helped you better understand how to train your brain’s abilities. If you want to find out more information about Dr. Caroline Böttiger’s services, do not hesitate to check out her contact details here. And remember: mens sana, in corpore sano!

Bringing your Family to Germany

Bringing your Family to Germany: Step by Step

We are aware of the fact that moving to a new country can be very challenging, especially if you find yourself alone through all the changes that you have to face. Therefore, bringing your family to Germany with you can make the whole experience so much easier. This is why we would like to offer you all the information that you need to know in order to reunite your family in Germany – keep reading!

EU/EEA/Switzerland citizens

If you and your relatives are citizens from the European Union, European Economic Area or Switzerland, there are no kind of restrictions for them to enter Germany. They do not need a visa nor a residence permit to move to the country and they can stay there for as long as they want to.

EU Citizens

Rest of citizens

For the rest of nationals, there are some requirements to meet in order to bring your family to the country. First of all, you must be in possession of a valid residence permit. There are four kinds of residence permits that allow expats to bring their family members to Germany: the EU Blue Card, the long-term residence permit, the settlement permit and the residence permit for highly-qualified individuals. If you want to find out more information about what kind of visa you and your relatives will need, you should check the website of the German Federal Foreign Office.

Non EU citizens

Official requirements

Once you make sure that you have a valid residence permit that allows you to bring your family to Germany, you must be able to prove the German government that you are financially stable. This means that you can support yourself and your family members with regards to funds, accommodation and health insurance. The German government claims that every family needs to have “sufficient living space” and all the household facilities must be included in the property.

Official Documents to get into Germany

If you wish to bring your wife or husband to Germany, you must be able to prove that they are officially your partner. Therefore, you will need to provide a marriage certificate or a civil partnership record.

With regards to family reunification, you must prove that you have the custody of your children. However, if both parents share custody of the child and one of them is not moving to Germany, the other parent must provide their consent before the child can move to the country. A good Relocation Agency can help you with this.


The last step is related to the verification of the identity and nationality of your family members. For this purpose, they must be in possession of a valid passport. Since the German government needs evidence that this person will enter Germany legally and not pose any kind of threat to the country, their criminal record might be required in some cases.

Bringing your family to Germany

There are many benefits to sharing a family life in Germany due to its safety, its high-quality school system and many others advantages. We hope that this guideline helped you understand all the steps that you need to follow if you want to bring your family to Germany!

Join the Community!

The most important to a make new country home, is building friendships and networking. We highly recommend you to join our Facebook Group “Project Expat Community” to connect with other Expats in your city and to stay tuned about Project Expat Events and new Partners.

Public Transportation Germany

Public Transport in Germany: The Expat Guideline

Lets learn about public transport in Germany! Being an expat in Germany can be a bit perplexing when it comes to understanding the public transport. After getting accustomed to it, though, you’ll find out that Germany has one of the most reliable transportation systems in Europe, and many people rely on public transport for commuting, especially in urban areas.

Five common types of transportation are: S-Bahn, U-Bahn, regional trains, trams and buses. Let’s find out more about them!


The hybrid urban-suburban rail lines that serve a metropolitan region are referred to as S-Bahn. It connects the suburbs and commuter regions to the city centre and the main railway station. The S-Bahn—short for Schnellbahn or Stadtschnellbahn (city rapid rail)—is the quickest public transportation option in Germany. It offers second class only, and tickets are not need to be reserved in advance. To locate an S-Bahn station, just look out for signs featuring a white “S” on a green background at any Hauptbahnhof.

Public Transport in Germany-S Bahn


In Germany, there are only 4 U-Bahn systems that we can find in larger cities: Berlin, Munich, Hamburg and Nuremberg. In Germany, the U-Bahn (short for Untergrundbahn) is the local term for subways, “Tubes,” and underground systems. With many stations offering transfers from the S-Bahn to U-Bahn (or vice versa), it’s easy to spot a U-Bahn station as they are marked with a blue sign featuring a white U. Plus, both S-Bahn and U-Bahn trains operate all night on weekends making them incredibly useful if you’re out late!

Public Transport in Germany- U Bahn

Regional trains

It is certain that, even if you have only been in Germany for a short time, you know of the famed Deutsche Bahn (DB). Regional trains in Germany are cost-efficient and offer travellers the means to explore the country with ease – despite their tendency to be late. Two varieties of trains are offered by DB: RegionalBahn (RB) with multiple stops and RegionalExpress (RE) with fewer stops but at a faster rate. 

Public Transport in Germany-Regional Trains DB

If you travel by train quite often, we recommend you to download the Deutsche Bahn app on your phone. This way, you can have access to your tickets and up-to-date departure information at all times. You have the option of buying a BahnCard, which can provide you with a 25% or 50% discount on your overall fare when travelling in Germany, thereby making it much more cost-effective.

Buses and trams

Trams and buses are an integral part of Germany’s public transport, unlike other cities. They have a lot of stops in the city centre and many German towns use them to link places that are far away, and they continue running even when other forms of public transportation aren’t operating anymore. Tram and bus stops are usually linked, with the same identifying symbol – a yellow circle enclosing a green H.

Public Transport in Germany-bus stop

Buying tickets for public transport

Acquiring tickets is usually done at station ticket machines. You must then validate them with the ticket validator (Entwerter) on the platform prior to boarding the train. When it comes to buses and trams, you have the option of getting your tickets from either the driver or from a ticket machine that is on-board. Likewise, you need to validate it as soon as you get on them. Don’t forget to do this, otherwise, it will be the same as if you didn’t pay for your tickets.

The absence of any ticket check or other barrier to entry on German public transport can be appealing to some, though it is necessary to purchase a ticket in order to use the service. Nevertheless, you never know when a controller might swing by to check that everyone has a valid ticket. A fee of 60 € is imposed if one is found to have not acquired a ticket. So it is definitely not worth risking it!

Public Transport in Germany- buying a ticket

Tickets prices

In German cities, a zone system is often used to establish the cost of tickets: Berlin is split into three zones (A, B and C) for this purpose. The further out of the city that you go to (zone C), the more you have to pay. You can find the different zones on the S-Bahn and U-Bahn maps online or at the stations.

It is tricky be to become familiar with the way that public transport works in Germany. We sincerely wish that the information in this article was beneficial, and you won’t experience difficulty trying to navigate around the cities! Find out more about what its really like Moving to Germany.



Best day trip ideas in Germany

A Day Trip in Germany: 5 Top Ideas

As we transition from the cold and moody weather to the sunny and lovely summer, we all start to get excited about the upcoming holiday season. If you’re tired of always hanging out with your friends in the same old boring places and are looking for alternative plans, we’re here to help. There are a lot of beautiful hidden jewels worth visiting on a day trip in Germany, so let’s dive right into them!

Zugspitze – a nature’s gem

Being the highest mountain in Germany, it goes without saying that this beautiful location will blow your mind away. The Zugspitze is situated on the Austrian border –in the southern part of a town called Garmisch-Partenkirchen– and is fairly easy to reach by public transport, especially by train.


A Day Trip in Germany: 5 Top Ideas

For those of us who wish to escape the everyday stress of vibrant cities, this spot in the Bavarian Alps is the definition of paradise. Whether you’re a hiking enthusiast or a nature lover, a breath-taking view of more than 400 summits in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy awaits you on the top of the mountain. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a professional athlete to climb the Zugspitze – there are easier routes that lead to its peak and it is also possible to hop on a cable car!

The best time of the year to visit this magnificent scenery is the month of August, since the risk of avalanche is lower during the summer. Biking, hiking, strolling around with your friends or simply tasting some traditional Bavarian dishes – we are sure that this day trip in Germany won’t disappoint you!

Starnberger See – the best getaway

If you want to take a break from the crowd in Munich and enjoy some quality time while you breath fresh air, Starnberger See is the place to go. Less than one hour and a half away from the capital by S-Bahn train, the second largest lake of the Bavarian state offers an endless range of options to choose from.

From a cultural point of view, Starnberger See holds a significant historical value, since the king Ludwig II drowned there in 1886. However, despite being a popular touristic destination, you may as well find the peaceful moments you’re searching for.


Several paths along the shore will allow you to have relaxing walks and find nice cafes, restaurants and even Biergartens with an impressive view of the Alps in the background. Besides having picnics and going for a swim with your friends, it is also possible to take a boat tour from spring to autumn and explore the villages and properties around the lake. Trust us, it will be worth it!

Heidelberg – a picturesque old town

Located in the state of Baden-Württemberg, Heidelberg is one of those cities that you cannot miss as a day trip in Germany. Once you set foot in this town, you will feel like you stepped into the pages of a fairy-tale. If you don’t trust us, a quick Google search will be more than enough to get a glimpse of what we’re talking about.


This quaint city surrounded by forests becomes even more captivating in the spring, when flowers start blooming and the sun shines bright. With a medieval castle and a charming market square, there is almost nothing that this town cannot offer. Its main streets are bustling with visitors who enjoy wandering around the city and dining in good restaurants, while a stroll around the Neckar River will help you connect with nature. What’s more, we forgot to mention that Heidelberg is a famous university town, and therefore its nightlife will not disappoint you!

Bodensee – an exciting adventure

Bodensee, also known as Lake Constance, is a wonderful summer retreat during the hottest months of the year. Many cities have direct connections to the lake by train, including Karlsruhe, Munich, and Stuttgart, which makes it the perfect day trip in Germany to plan with your friends!

Not only will you be able to go on a boat ride and visit the idyllic Mainau Island, but also you will have the chance to test your adventurous skills. Action and water sports are the most popular activities at Bodensee. If you are ready for an adrenaline shot, there are several options for you: you can try windsurfing, stand up paddling, canoe trips, diving, sailing and so much more.


In case you prefer to have a calm sunbathing day, you can always choose to stay on the shore. However, you should keep in mind that the water temperature below the surface is really cold (since it is fed by the Alps), so be ready to soak the full experience in!

Neuschwanstein – the Disney fantasy

The German castle that inspired Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle is a must-see for all the Disney fans out there. This 19th century Romanesque palace is one of the most popular touristic attractions in Germany, but this shouldn’t stop you from visiting it. Trekking up to the castle of the King Ludwig II is a magical experience from start to finish. Its magnificent architecture along with the marvellous landscape that surrounds it make it the perfect choice to spend a day with family and friends.


For Instagram lovers, taking the best pictures will be the highlight of the trip. We highly recommend you to walk up to the recently restored Marienbrücke, which bridges the Pollät Gorge waterfall and provides a spectacular panoramic view of Neuschwanstein and the nature around it.

Even though it is possible to reach the castle by public transport, there are no direct connections and it can take quite some time, which is why it might be better to book a one day trip from Munich that will take you directly to the castle and includes a guided tour to visit its interior.

If you’re still a bit skeptical about these trips due to their expenses, we have good news for you: as fuel prices continue to rise, the German government will offer a 9-euro ticket for unlimited trains, buses and trams from the 1st of June with the aim of encouraging citizens to take public transport. If you want to get more information about this ticket, check out their webpage. This means that you can spend a weekend in Berlin with your friends and head back home for only nine euros! How does it sound?