The dust is settling and Londoners (and maybe a few others) are waking up to the realisation that their jobs are moving across the channel. Deutsche Bank is coming home, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup are said to be moving many jobs to Frankfurt as well. Apparently there are so many banks reserving space in Germany’s financial crown jewel that BNP Paribas just reported that Frankfurt is running out of office space!
So if you are faced with a move and don’t know how you are going to cope without your local pub, the chippy and a constant supply of tea and biscuits, here are your essential survival tips:
- don’t pretend that your german skills are ever going to be good enough to be useful, just bookmark Leo in your browser and make friends with at least one helpful German.
- choose your accommodation based on two things: proximity to either an ubahn or sbahn line and proximity to one of the English-speaking pubs. Don’t question, just thank me later 😉
- don’t fight like a dog with the rest of the house hunters. You will never win if don’t speak German or aren’t in the country yet. Get your company to pay for an agent (Makler) to do it for you. Here is a good English-speaking Makler. Many hours of your life will be saved…
- when someone tells you that the famous Frankfurt apple wine is like an amazing variation of cider, don’t believe them. Just order a beer. Apple wine is tasteless and flat.
- as a rule of thumb, locals spend about 1/3 of their net income on an apartment. Housing goes from about €600 to €2500 a month in the area and prices are heavily connected to commuting time. Expect about 4 times the amount of space for your money compared to London
- if a property is easy to get and has a good price, there is a problem that all the locals see immediately. Nothing worth having on the property market is easy to get at the moment
- unless you have a guaranteed private parking spot, consider living without a car. Parking in places like Nordend, Westend, and Sachsenhausen is a nightmare
- join one of the three hubs for foreigners. These are Internations, and the two Expat facebook groups: Frankfurt Expats and Expat in FFM
- plan your Summer around the festival schedule (there are a lot of big summer parties in Frankfurt) and then head to the Alps for the Winter
- don’t burn any bridges when leaving the UK. you will need friends to keep you supplied with tea and biscuits when they (hopefully) visit. Germans just don’t understand how to make a biscuit and buying locally is extortionate. The local Brit shop and online british store are ok backups though.
And remember, its not too bad over here, you’ll get an average 100 days more sunshine and 2 degrees extra warmth. When you go home people will be amazed with your healthy-ish tan.