It is time for the announcement of our next adventure: we are moving to Germany! I have been there once before, on a solo tour of Europe four years ago, but it was a fleeting visit and I only had a small taste of this European country, rich in history and right in the centre of the continent! Aside from visiting friends in the smaller cities of Rostock and Göttingen, I remember spending one day in Berlin and leaving with just a glimpse of what this exciting city had to offer.
Now, we have booked flights to the capital and will be arriving in the peak of Summer. I am looking forward exploring Museum Island properly this time, taking a tour of Charlottenburg Palace, dancing the night away in the world-famous clubs, shopping at the Christmas markets and road-tripping all over the country, to find as many castles as possible!
Of course, we will have to find some work as well. I will apply for a working holiday visa, which will enable me to work and travel in Germany for a whole year. Let’s hope there are some great English-teaching positions available, as my German language skills are still very basic!
As the last remaining weeks in Australia slip through my fingers, I am full of anticipation, excitement and nerves. I only started teaching myself German a few months ago, I need to apply for a German visa when I arrive in the country and I have never worked overseas before, let alone with a foreign language. We are still in the process of selling our van and, as we have done quite a lot of travelling in Australia recently, we will be far from millionaires when we arrive in the country. All that aside, it will be the trip of a lifetime. With the future unknown, who knows what will become of us?!
If you are also about to embark on a working holiday in a foreign country, here are a few tips for smashing those pre-travel jitters and letting excitement reign!
- Be prepared. Make sure you have a secure and inexpensive place to store your belongings while you are overseas (thanks Mum and Dad!). Be sure you have all the right documents for your working visa application. Check on licence/bank card/passport expiry dates and get them updated if necessary. Be sure to let your bank know you’ll be overseas or your card may be blocked when you use it from an unfamiliar location. Make sure this is all done well in advance.
- Budget before you go to ensure maximum savings. Remember, every treat here is worth a more exciting treat overseas. Would you prefer a cheesy-mite scroll here, or some delicious German bread from a German bakery when you arrive? Every saving counts. Look at where you can cut back. Then, save, save, save!
- Research your destination. Get excited! Buy the guidebooks, read them from cover to cover, search online for information on the places you wish to visit. Watch movies set in that particularly country, read books and ask questions of people who have been there before. Study the maps, look for dream jobs, read about the history.
- Learn the local language (if it isn’t English) and try and master the basics before you arrive. I’m hoping that I will pick up German a lot quicker, now that I know how to say things like “Du bist schön” and other important phrases like that!
- Embrace the unknown. The future is not certain. Who knows what opportunities will arise when we arrive, or what lies ahead? But if I’ve learnt anything from life so far, it is that a positive attitude and enthusiasm gets you a long way. This is the opportunity of a life time – don’t let it go to waste!
Well, without further a-do, it is time to pack our bags, say goodbye to family and friends and get going. Look forward exploring Germany and posting my first article from overseas.
See you in Berlin – Bis bald!