Five Things I’ve Learned After Moving to Germany For Masters

Let me tell you: moving to Germany for Masters studies is NOT easy. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve done in my life so far, and it’s still challenging me. I’ve been here for only about about one month, and it felt like my time here went by simultaneously slowly and quickly.

Germany is beautiful!

March 16, 2019—my first day here. To be honest, the first week was the toughest: I didn’t know anybody, I didn’t know the language, and I didn’t have a “home.” In this time, I was completely lost in my own mind. I wrestled between self-doubt, self-pity and loneliness.

However, as soon as I moved into my new place, and the busyness of school life started, I gained a sense of coziness. Now having a “home” and making new connections, I am savouring my time in Germany. In this period, I have learned 5 essential things that are lifelong lessons.

1. To step out of my comfort zone and accept challenge.

After taking a couple years to do my “own thing” and working at a small company, I found myself craving to learn more and use my intellect for the good of humanity. I was yearning for more challenging & fulfilling work.

Yes, I was comfortable in Canada, but complacency does not lead to growth. I’m still young, and I want to be challenged, I want to learn, I want to grow. So, here I am in Germany to pursue my Masters.

The main town plaza in my town, at sunset.

I’ve put myself in a place where I don’t know anyone, don’t know the language, and don’t know the culture. However, I’ve always wanted to live away from the comforts of Canada, and live in an entirely different country on my own. Now that I’m here, it totally feels like I’m out of my element but I will tackle the challenge head-on. Even now in Germany, I’m pushing myself to go past my comfort zone.

I’ve learned to accept challenges because those will lead to growth in my life, and make me a more whole individual. It’s definitely scary, but it will be worth it. 🙂

2. To become more self-reliant.

I’ve always thought I was independent, but moving here solo certainly challenged that notion. Moving to Germany alone meant that I had to completely rely on myself. My family and friends aren’t there anymore to be backup.

Moving here pushed to be rely on my own abilities and efforts. This doesn’t mean living in isolation though. I still ask for help; however, you just cannot rely on any one person to do everything for you.

Bretzel and I

I also have to be financially self-reliant. Yes, my parents are willing to provide some income for me, but I don’t want to burden them further. So, I need to manage my money well and earn my own income. All part of being an adult.

3. That I love my family and friends.

When I still lived at home with my family, I was waiting until the day I can move out to have my space. Yet, now that I’m living away from my home, I miss my family the most. Yes, they do drive me crazy sometimes, but they keep me grounded.

I’m so incredibly grateful for my friends and the community I’ve built up over the years in Canada. I’ve been so blessed to have them in my life, as some of my biggest supporters and allies. I’ve shared my life with them and those bonds will not simply vanish, even when I’m far away from them.

My going-away surprise party, prepared by my close friends.

Love is a word that I don’t throw around often sincerely. It took travelling 7300 away from home to realize that I love my friends and especially my family. I have newfound respect and love for my parents, in particular, because they took such good care of me the past 26 years. Even when I’m such a douche sometimes, they still loved and cared for me. Thank you Ma & Pa, I love you.

4. To be more organized and prepared.

This one feels out of place for some reason, but when you live on your own for the first time (especially in a foreign country), you have no time to be coddled. And that means that you have to manage your life by yourself.

In my time so far, I have become more organized with my studies, with my schedule and with my life. I’ve had to schedule things appropriately to match with public transport and with shops’ opening hours. I’m also managing my finances so I can stay in my monthly budget (600€/month).

Coffee at Kaffeebud. I only treat myself out once a week.
A beautiful (and tasty) spread with cheap ingredients! Plus all plant-based!

I’ve also become way more organized with my files and documents. Germany is such a bureaucratic country, so one must keep all their documents organized.

5. That it’s okay to make mistakes, and learn from them.

NO ONE is perfect, and you’ll make mistakes every now and then. But the most important thing in life is learning from your mistakes—and consequently improving from them. I’ve made so many mistakes in my life, but the most important thing is learning from them.

I’ve made bad financial decisions while living here, and I’m learning from those. Even in everyday life (like in the supermarket, the bank, at school, looking for rent, etc.), I’m constantly making mistakes. For example, I didn’t realize that I was paying way too much for rent (320€/month). So next semester I’m definitely going to look for cheaper accommodation.

If you want it, go for it.

Find Waldo at the Cologne Cathedral! Haha

If you want something, go for it. Like the old adage says, if there’s a will, there is a way. Once you set your mind on something, nothing will crush that idea (especially if you’re actively thinking about it).

For me, I’ve wanted to live abroad and complete my Masters. Moving to Germany for Masters was an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. Yes, there are challenges and it is a difficult road ahead, but I am ready to tackle these head-on. Bring it Germany!

City hopping on the weekends with my student semester ticket!

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