Making Connections

15 Jun

When I arrived I knew no other native English speakers (other than the husband) and even though lots of Germans were really lovely and befriended me, there are still times when you just want to chat with someone who “understands”. I’m not kidding when I heard English being spoken I just wanted to hug that person and MAKE them be my friend! And yes I did this, and made some very good friends so don’t discount it as an option!

Luckily this little corner of Franconia is positively bustling with people from all corners of the world thanks to the University, Siemens, Arreva, Puma, Addidas and the many more international companies that employ a massive amount of international people. Thankfully people always want to spend time with folk from their home country, being away from your friends and family means that your new friends become that link to your home country, embrace them, and you could make life long friends.

Join a Stammtisch was what I got told a lot when we first moved here, a what? Basically a Stammtisch is a regular table, and any group can have one. Some I’ve seen have matching T-shirts displaying their membership and “fun” nicknames others are merely a group of people who used to work together. There are a number of English Stammtische in this area, these people meet to speak English, but don’t expact everyone to speak it as their first language, it’s merely the common language spoken. Most of them have a facebook group detailing meets and membership, Erlangen, Nuremberg

Facebook is a wonderful tool, not only will it allow you to keep in touch easily and quickly with your friends and family back home (and allow them to do the same) but it is a great source of potential new connections! Even if you object to Facebook because of targeted advertising, information sharing and annoying oversharers you really should consider getting connected, there are a number of ways to minimise and stop your information being shared if you are worried.

To get you started, try these (I have to add the caveat that most of the expat groups I have experience of are considered “womens groups” because women are the most likely to need support and new social opportunities in Germany as they are more likely to be the one in a couple that has not moved for/due to  work)

HENhaus – Volunteer organisation that welcomes women new to the area. They will set you up with a coffee date and provide useful information for you, and your family, very useful for mums or mums to be. They will also find you contacts for groups and activities that you are interested in. A Facebook group provides real time advice and information.

Chickhaus – Volunteer organisation created to connect women new to the area socially. Dinners out, happy hour, running group, book club along with other impromptu events, directly aimed at the social needs of expat women. I can’t recommend this group enough, I’ve made life long friends and shared wonderful experiences with other expats here. Their Facebook group provides real time advice, information and all members are automatically invited to all events.

International Womens Group (IWG) – Members only group which provides women a forum to make friends, foster intercultural exchange and have fun.

Volkhochshule Erlangen – Their Club INTERNATIONAL is a great way to meet new people, they show films in their original languages (not just English), have musical nights and also host Spachstammtische where you can practice your German in return for speaking with people who want to learn your language. Most events are completely free! Same goes for their branches in Herzogenaurach, Nuremberg and Forchheim.

German-American Institute Nuremberg (DAI) – Has a wealth of information for Americans in the area, hosts regular events, advertises volunteer opportunities and has it’s own English library.

German French Institute Erlangen (FAI) – For all you French speakers, this place hosts regular events and has a pretty good library, they also offer language courses.

Do you know any other groups that should be added to this list?

Contact me at theerlangenexpat@yahoo.com

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2 Responses to “Making Connections”

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  1. FAQ | The Erlangen Expat - June 3, 2014

    […] How do I meet new people? You are lucky to be living in this area which just happens to be full of other awesome expats (as well as locals) just like you. – Join a language course, it’s not just about learning the language it’s also about friendship and building a new supportive circle of friends who know what you are going through. – Join a German-English discussion group, for learners of both languages, the VHS Erlangen has a range of these in their Club International (and they are free) – Join a Stammtisch, it’s a regular table with likeminded people, in Erlangen there is an English Stammtisch (English is the language spoken) it’s quite a small group but it can be fun and Deutscher Stammtisch (for foreigners who are learning German) a really fun group, no one will make fun at you as a learner! and in Nürnberg there is another English Stammtisch, this one has lots of events and is always packed. – Join a gym, a football team, go swimming and say yes to every invitation, not matter how weird, I’m also not beyond just talking to random people I hear speaking English out and about, needs must! – Whilst google is always your friend I also wrote this last year about making connections. […]

  2. Making Connections When You First Arrive in Germany | Young Germany - March 3, 2015

    […] This post was originally published on The Erlangen Expat. […]

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