Moving to a new city in a different country can sometimes be a daunting experience. My friend and fellow blogger Rachel from rachelsanghee.com has taken this step a few years ago when she moved to Stuttgart with her husband. This June she will be teaching the new course Living in Stuttgart for International Women at vhs stuttgart where she will be sharing her own experiences and insights on how to settle in and adopt to a new life in a new city like Stuttgart. I talked to her about how she felt when she arrived here in 2012, what she would have loved to know back then and what her course will be about.
[This article is part of my non-paid cooperation with vhs stuttgart]
Rachel, you’ve moved to Stuttgart in 2012. What was difficult for you at the beginning?
Everything! From public transportation, shopping, buying groceries to finding a flat to getting hooked on with the internet. But that was the great and exciting thing about moving to Stuttgart. I’ve never lived in Europe so it was such a big change. But I have to say, it was so interesting, new, exciting and eye-opening all at the same time.
You even gave birth to your first child here in Stuttgart. How was it being pregnant in a foreign country? Did you find all the information about pregnancy and giving birth in Stuttgart that you needed?
I think I was more nervous than I should have been. In the end, moms get pregnant everywhere and it was my first time, so everything was new to me anyway. Perhaps it was tricky because I didn’t have much friends who were already pregnant and who could help me out with their insights and wisdom, but I’ve learned along the way through various channels, including websites, my doctors, hospital staff and even nurses. But yes, I’m thinking it did take a bit more time and effort to get all the info I needed.
You will be teaching the course Living in Stuttgart for International Women at vhs stuttgart this July. What motivated you to do so?
I love sharing my experiences and thoughts on everything, I think it comes from my journalist background or maybe I’m just nosy. I thought this would be a great opportunity to share my experiences as an expat and a woman, from childbirth, pregnancy, shopping and all those little details you face while starting a new life in this city. Moving to a foreign place is overwhelming already as it is, and since this course will be in English, I thought it could be a breath of fresh air and also act as a safe haven for everyone.
What awaits women in your course?
Everything and anything you want to know! This course is technically based on my experience and knowledge but anyone who has better ideas or suggestions can participate. Moving to a foreign country or city is not just a physical move, it’s about learning and adapting to a new environment, and I hope we all get to share the best of our knowledge and experiences beyond age, occupation and interests. I really do think everyone will be able to leave the course with ideas and inspiration, and hopefully use this as a fuel to further adapt themselves to their new lives in this wonderful city.
What would you consider as the most important advice for women who are new to Stuttgart? What would you have loved to know at the beginning?
Such a difficult question. To be open is important. Open to new ideas, new cultures and new people. Stuttgart is becoming more and more international and that means you are exposed to different ideas, cultures and people. There is in fact no “correct” or “right” way to adapt to Stuttgart, you need to find your own way. This course will hopefully guide you a bit, offer you shortcuts and help you discover your own way of adapting. I would have loved to know some useful shortcuts or insights on some aspects, like where to buy the best flowers or where to go when you need some good comfort food from wherever you are.
What motivated you to team up with vhs stuttgart and join their new English-speaking program?
The new English-speaking program proves how international this city has become and is becoming and, of course, I jumped on the opportunity. vhs international – English Program offers so many courses and events at a fair price. It doesn’t matter if you want to do sports, learn to cook or go to a business workshop – there is always something for everyone. I wish there was something like this when I first came here!
More information about Rachel’s course:
If you want to learn from Rachel’s experiences you can enroll here for her course Living in Stuttgart for International Women:
More information about Rachel: