Anne moved to Germany. Her story shows why moving abroad is all about your mindset.

Anne moved to Germany. Her story shows why moving abroad is all about your mindset.

Moving abroad during a pandemic, complicated? Absolutely! Moving to a country with a foreign language challenging? For sure! Multiple delays frustrating? You bet! 

There are so many occasions in a moving abroad journey where it is easy to throw in the towel. Yet, Anne’s story shows why moving abroad is all about mindset. With the right mindset, you can overcome challenges, grow from new experiences, and face the world with a positive attitude. 

Anne’s view towards new experiences, and meeting new people, shows that yes, sometimes things are awkward and uncomfortable, but what you get in return is 100% worth it. It is a perfect example of why living abroad is such an incredible life-changing experience!

Read more about Anne’s move from England to Frankfurt, Germany, and be inspired to make the move yourself!

Why Moving Abroad Is All About Your Mindset

Hey Anne!

In December 2020, your husband was offered an opportunity to work abroad via his company. Was this a dream you both had? And was it an easy decision to make?

For me, it was a very easy decision to make – my gut immediately said, ‘yes, let’s do this.’  However, my husband is more practical-minded. He thought a lot about the financial implications and had some reservations about me leaving my job. While it was a fantastic job opportunity for him, he didn’t want a move abroad to impact my career negatively. So we had many conversations before we accepted his new role.

I wouldn’t say that working or moving abroad was a dream that we both had, but we knew that it was always a potential with his company and that we’d be open to the idea if an opportunity presented itself. So basically, we didn’t go looking for an opportunity to move abroad, but we were happy when one presented itself!

Can you share what you went through? From the news of the relocation to moving about eight months later? 

Unfortunately, our move abroad took a lot longer than we had anticipated. My husband accepted his new position in December 2020, hoping that he would relocate in April 2021. Our son and I would follow him a couple of months later (giving me time to finish my responsibilities with my job, which had granted me a career break). 

We were initially very excited about moving, but as time went on, we experienced multiple delays (the pandemic playing a major role), which became tiring. The uncertainty of not knowing when we could move due to visa, passport, and quarantine issues was overwhelming. Life decisions became harder to make (e.g., renting out our apartment) as we had no timeline to work towards.

We were only able to book our flights a few days before we left, so there was still a lot of uncertainty until the very last minute. Because of all the delays, the idea of moving to Germany didn’t actually feel real until we finally arrived. I did have an ‘oh no, what have we done?!’ moment when I stepped off the plane, but that quickly went away, and the feelings of excitement and possibility took over.

What did you find the most challenging part about planning the move to Frankfurt? How did you overcome them?

The hardest part was not knowing when we were going to go. Due to the current world climate, there was no way to overcome this, so we had to learn to ‘let go’ a little bit. Practically speaking, coordinating moving out of our apartment and our tenants taking our place over was logistically challenging, but everything worked out in the end. 

At some point in the lead up to us moving, we made a firm commitment that my husband would travel to Germany in August, shortly after our planned wedding (yes, we got married in the midst of all this!), and that our son and I would follow after him as soon as we could. 

Actually, the fact that my son and I could travel to Germany was our biggest logistical issue as it took eight months for our son’s passport to be issued! 

Why Moving Abroad Is All About Your Mindset

What did you do to prepare yourself and your family for the move to Germany? 

Not a lot, actually! Initially, my husband and I attempted to learn some German, but we lost the momentum when we realised we had no idea when we would be going. There is only so far that language learning apps will get you. 

We were lucky that my husband’s company provided him with a relocation package, which included shipping our belongings from England as well as support when we arrived with finding an apartment. This also meant that we were guided through all the paperwork requirements, so we weren’t alone in our preparations. 

We also spent time researching Frankfurt, particularly the best places to live, childcare, etc, before we made the move. 


I’ve learned to take both positive and negative comments at face value, and not to read too much into them until I experience something myself. – Anne


You arrived in Frankfurt a couple of months ago. Can you tell a bit about those first months and how you experienced them? Any ups, downs, or funny/awkward situations?

The first few months were difficult in that we were in temporary accommodation living out of suitcases. We were in a small space with a newly-walking toddler, so I spent much of my time taking him out to the park, which was often deserted (I guess everyone else was at daycare!).

I, therefore, had many experiences of older adults smiling and waving at my son when they saw him playing, which was lovely. At times they’d strike up a conversation, but I often found it challenging to get a word in to explain that I didn’t speak German. It’s amazing how many ‘conversations’ you can have in German, without speaking German, and without the other person realising you don’t understand a word they’re saying! So smiles and nods were all I needed to communicate in those early days, which always brightened up my day.

Unfortunately, we found that some people we met (both German and non-German) were quite negative about settling into Frankfurt. We were often told the worst-case scenario of particular experiences, which was off-putting. For example, time and time again, we were told how difficult it would be for us to find an apartment. However, we found one within three weeks of our arrival. Okay, so we weren’t able to move in for a month after that, but it wasn’t as terrible as everyone had implied it would be.

Similarly, we were told how difficult it would be for us to get a daycare space for our son and that we would be waiting months and months, but we got offered a spot straight away! So perhaps we were lucky with these two experiences. Still, the negativity at times was hard. I’ve learned to take both positive and negative comments at face value, and not to read too much into them until I experience something myself.

Why Moving Abroad Is All About Your Mindset

A move abroad is a life-changing event. Have you already experienced differences in yourself or your relationship?

I tend to be an anxious person and overthink things. Surprisingly, I didn’t overthink our move to Germany. Perhaps this is because, although I had never moved abroad, I have moved within the UK a number of times (Belfast to Glasgow to Essex to London), and within those places, I have moved apartments several times. So the act of ‘moving’ didn’t phase me. I tend to worry about the little things more than the big life things, e.g., I’d worry in advance about going to a party, but I probably wouldn’t worry about a job interview until I’m on my way to it! 

I often find new situations or experiences difficult, and I definitely still find them difficult, but I think I’m more willing to push myself in Germany. It’s silly, but an example is that in the past I would maybe have overthought sending someone a text message and worried if they didn’t reply. Here I don’t have those same feelings. Perhaps it’s because I feel I have nothing to lose here. I don’t know anyone, so I have to put myself out there, and it doesn’t matter what others think. I have more of a ‘so what? What’s the worst that could happen?’ attitude, which I feel is a good thing!

How do you find it to establish a new routine in a foreign city (i.e. finding friends, hobbies, etc.)? Do you have any tips?

Having a child seems to have made it easier to establish a new routine. Why Moving Abroad Is All About Your Mindset

Although having a toddler makes it harder for us to go out to explore the city in the evenings, it has made it easier for me to meet people through ‘baby groups.’ I signed up to many different groups on Facebook, oriented towards families and expats, and looked out for any activities that I could go to with my son. As a result, we’ve been to English-based activities and German ones. 

I’ve started chatting to people in the park and just asked outright for their phone number. I would never have had the confidence to do at ‘home’ in London, but it feels easier to do abroad for some reason. It sounds cliche but just putting yourself out there – literally forcing yourself out of the house, even on the days you feel overwhelmed or anxious, really helps. 

Lastly, I would say to others, don’t be afraid to simply say ‘hello’. You never know what it could lead to.

What are your expectations for your life in Germany? 

I am looking forward to my son learning the German language in a natural way, particularly as he has a place in a typical German daycare setting. I am so excited to give him this gift of bilingualism; he’s 20 months old, which feels like the perfect age for him to pick up a second language with no extra effort. 

On the flip side of this, I will struggle to learn the language. I am trying, but I’m finding it challenging. My motivation, in particular, is to be able to communicate with my son’s daycare teachers more confidently so that I know what he’s been up to during the day. 

Being an ‘expat’ in Frankfurt means that most people are inclined to speak English to you, whether they are German speakers or not. I feel that while living in a foreign country, it is only right to at least attempt to learn some of the language, regardless of how many speak English, but it takes a lot of effort.

Lastly, what is your advice for people out there who are thinking of moving abroad?

If you want to do it, don’t let any of the apparent obstacles get in the way. Of course, it’s important to think practically in some ways (e.g., financial aspects) but ultimately go with your heart – if it feels right, it probably is!


Moving abroad is an emotional rollercoaster, yet with the right mindset, you can overcome a lot of the hurdles along the way. In fact, moving abroad is all about mindset – so like Anne push yourself out of your comfort zone and surprise yourself! You are able to do way more than you might give yourself credit for. 

Keen to follow Anne’s adventures in Frankfurt or thinking of moving to Frankfurt yourself? Check out Anne’s instagram page @irishexpatmum and give her a follow!

Inspired by Anne’s story but unsure where to start? Take your dream and turn it into a reality with the Let’s Move Abroad Book. 

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