How to Smooth Transitions

I used to think that moving here to Germany would mark the end of my transition process. I was wrong in my belief as our international environment constantly keeps changing. Being an expat family requires continuous adjustment to new circumstances and after a few years we just got so used to it without realizing how often we still adjust.

The beginning of each new school year reminds us of the changes we need to make for another smooth transition. There will be newly hired teachers, some of whom I will never get to meet (except by e-mail). New classmates for my children, some of whom I might get to know by name at the end of the school year – just before they move away again. Private students change their lesson times as they start other projects. Friends move overseas, with some of our older ones already having left for retirement. Every year, there are Goodbye parties and Welcome Back parties.

Toytown Germany (with a very helpful platform I can recommend) probably has more newcomers posting their queries at this time of year, but transitions take place all year long. I have come to realize that we can stay put in one place, but our surroundings keep moving, affecting us with their sometimes challenging transitions.

Here is a little piece of advice I had given a while ago to a newcomer to the Frankfurt area (most likely applicable to non-working spouses):

If you have some financial security (e.g. no real pressure to find work right away), then I would suggest volunteering at first. This is what I did three times when moving overseas. I started volunteering two hours a week, made contacts, learned more about the city, got job offers soon after.
Places to volunteer: Frankfurt soup kitchen, hospitals, maybe the British Women’s Club of the Taunus, contact the “International Stammtisch at the English Theatre”, etc.
Teaching assistants do not get paid well. For part-time work at the international schools, the pay is about € 400 a month. Again, any job could help lead to more lucrative ones.
I frequently post available positions at Frankfurt International School on my blog category Vacancies at Frankfurt International School which also include teaching assistant positions. This is for you only to learn what is out there.
… and try to learn some German before coming here. Others have said that before and this is the best advice.

You may also want to read my initial post, with more details:  How to Smooth Transitions

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