4 years ago I made the decision to pack up my things and move out of my childhood home to Munich. When I was younger I had made the decision that I wanted to move out when I was 18, not because I was unhappy at home, but because I wanted to explore the world. Well that idea brought me across the country from Berlin to Munich.
But why did I move there?
In Germany you can go to university after high school or you can learn a trade. I decided to do the latter, as I did not feel ready for university just yet.
So the year before I finished school I applied for a training to become a Media Manager for Digital and Print media. I worked very hard on my application and sent it out to around 20 publishing houses around Germany. 5 of them decided to invite me for an interview and of those 5, 3 offered me a job. In the end I decided to go with the Droemer Knaur publishing house in Munich. Their application process was very welcoming and they hire three trainees every year, so you are not alone, which I found quite important especially since I moved so far away.
Where am I going to live?
Once I had signed the contract, it was time for me to find a place to live. In all honesty, I was a little bit shocked when I looked at the prices. Though Berlin is the capital of Germany, you can find a flat for really cheap. Maybe because it is so big. Munich was a whole other story. It is not only much smaller than Berlin, but also so much more expensive! You either had to find a flat outside of Munich, which makes a social life rather hard or you could move into a kind of halls system for trainees. This is what I went with in the end. Still paid a whopping 465€ per month for a single room with a sink in it, sharing a kitchen and the bathroom with around 15 other girls. Sounds like a dream doesn’t it? But you haven’t heard the best part of it, the main door was locked at 09:30pm and all visitors had to leave by that time.
It wasn’t all bad though, they offered breakfast and dinner, which sometimes was edible and sometimes wasn’t. Oh and as I have mentioned, I only shared kitchen and bathroom with girls, well that is because it was a girls accommodation. Gotta love religious Bavaria.
How to get around Munich?
When I moved to Munich, I had the luck that my accommodation was located in Schwabing. For those of you who don’t know Schwabing is a rather central district of Munich. It was around 20 minutes away from my work by bike, which made for great exercise on a daily basis. Only during winter time when the streets were a little slippery, I needed to take the tram, but that left about a minute away from my house and took me straight to work. That was a luxury I was not used to, considering it took me around 45 minutes to get to school when I was younger.
If I wanted to go into town, I could also take the bike, which took me about 35-40 minutes. Otherwise there was a train station not far away that took me there in about 5 minutes. I usually bought what is called a stripe ticket. You had around 10 stripes and you had to stamp one every time you got onto a train or switched to a new one. Considering how rarely I took the train, that was the cheapest option for me. There are of course monthly tickets as well, though from what I have heard from co-workers, these can become quite expensive, depending on the district you live in.
What about food?
This was a bit of a toughie for me. I was so used to all the things that my parents bought, that it never occurred to me, that maybe different parts of Germany sell different kind of foods. Well let me tell you they do! For one I was not able to get my favourite ketchup in Munich. That might not seem like such a bad thing, but it makes for a great and easy base for a bolognese and with working 40 hours or more, that was something I really missed.
It was little things like that, not something you necessarily realise immediately upon arriving, but it creeps up on you in unexpected moments. Like when my parents said they were eating something we call ‚yeast dumplings‘ (Hefeklöße), a tasty dish during summer, served with fruits. I went to the shops and again they did not have it. As I said it is not something big, but something you should be aware of. Different parts of Germany sell different kinds of food. Of course Munich also has to offer great Bavarian things, such as Obazda which is a Bavarian cheese speciality, that I would definitely recommend.
It was difficult for me at the beginning to live all alone in Munich, but I suppose living with a lot of other girls had its perks. I met some really great people there. We would spend evenings together first eating dinner in the main room and then in one of our rooms, either talking or watching a movie on one of our laptops. Though we had to watch all the movies on DVD since our accommodation did not provide us with WiFi.
Moving away definitely has made me grow a lot, especially since I was only 18 at the time. According to my friends and family I have gotten much more confident since I moved out.
What you can do in Munich for fun is a topic I will delve into at a later time.