Growth may feel slow but it is lasting - Part 1
This past March (2018) I came to Meiningen, Germany where my friend works for the Meininger Staatstheater. It was during the week I spent here that I knew I would be moving to Germany. Almost three weeks ago I packed up a majority of my belongings and moved 3,988 miles from the town where I have spent most of my life.
This past three weeks has involved a LOT of learning. To be completely honest, had I not had someone here to guide me I would have struggled for quite a bit longer than two to three weeks. When traveling to a new country for an extended period of time it is not always easy to know what path to follow. Before leaving I had done an incredible amount of research but found myself at a loss for what I should do. In a fortuitous turn of events it became clear that I'd be going to Meiningen. At that point my friend stepped in and found me extremely affordable housing (I wasn't aware how important it was to have a physical address to receive mail) and subsequently guaranteed that I would have a support network once moving abroad. However, this alone couldn't prepare me for the other things that I would need to accomplish.
I made sure that important things like ...
✔️Documenting passwords for online accts
✔️International travel alerts for bank accts
✔️International travel alerts for credit cards
... were done before I left. So far so good. Right? Well - there is an overwhelming standard of cash being the best mode of payment. This becomes a tiny bit tricky if you forget to have cash exchanged in one of the bigger cities or don't have a European bank account.
( To be fair - VISA is accepted in most major cities and in most chain stores. If you have a travel credit card you can use it to buy groceries and put those rewards towards train and plane tickets. )
But - it turns out that having a European address and bank account are quite helpful for other things as well. When you sign up for Vodafone, DeutscheBahn Cards, the German istore and various items, you need an address to verify that you are in fact in the country.
Because I have a generation of iPhone that allows me to remove my SIM card I was able to purchase a Vodafone SIM and use it in the same phone. (I was able to purchase this SIM at the Tegut - a grocery chain). I was able to use the same phone because Verizon has a nifty service that allows you to suspend cell phone service for 90 days. It guarantees you will only pay for services you are using.
Something that I had not thought of before suspending my service and inserting the new SIM card was that I would need to login to the German iStore. I had been very clever and wrote down my passwords to different acccounts but I hadn't realized that when they all needed to be updated I would have to switch between iStores. (Certain things don't exist on the German iStore that exist on the American iStore and I need access to both of them to function abroad)
... HOWEVER ... BEFORE you suspend your services, it is important to know how to get your new services up and running as well as actually working 😂.
In Germany (and perhaps in ithe countries) it is necessary to verify your identity through a third party when you sign up for a Vodafone or a bank account. For Vodafone I was able to verify my identity over a third party app. For my bank account I had to print out a specific form that had been emailed to me, take my passport and go to the post office to verify my identity. The form was then sent to my bank for verification. Fast forward two weeks to the arrival of my debit card.
Things I have learned in assimilating
✔️It is virtually impossible to accomplish anything without a German address
✔️Be smart - Don't be afraid to ASK QUESTIONS even if it makes you feel like a fool.
✔️Listen - soak up your surroundings and environment.
✔️It takes 24-48 hours to verify your Vodafone SIM so you don't want to cancel your other phone service until you know your German phone works.
✔️It can take 1-2 weeks to verify your bank account and get your debit card. Make sure that you have enough access to cash to survive. Also - directly pulling money out of an ATM is the best exchange rate (even with the fee)
✔️N26 and Transferwise are fairly exceptional companies when it comes to setting up foreign bank accounts.
While I don't have a lead on a Visa yet... I have a German address, a German phone and a German bank account. The learning has started and so has the personal growth. Soon to come, musical growth.
Thank you for stopping,