BMT 017: An American in Germany – Transitioning Abroad with Stephanie Urban

American in Germany

Living overseas is a dream for some, but it’s a reality for Stephanie Urban, who moved her life to Germany over 7 years ago.

I wanted to interview Stephanie because I have so many questions about this subject (i.e. How do you stay legally? How did you get a visa? How did you find a job?).

Join us for this interview as we find out how she decided to move her life overseas, what it took for her to get a German residency permit and secure work visas to allow her to stay in Europe legally, as well as what mistakes she made along the way.

Find out what it takes to be an American in Germany.

Meet Stephanie

Stephanie Urban is 31 years young and grew up in the beautiful Flathead Valley of northwest Montana. She studied Business Management at MSU Bozeman for two years before she decided to go back to her roots and do a year abroad in Berlin, during which she learned German and visited 12 different European countries.

Upon returning to Bozeman, she changed her major to English and did another semester in eastern Germany, where she returned after graduating in 2006. She’s now been living in the gorgeous city of Leipzig for seven and a half years and is a self-employed Business English trainer and German to English translator who also facilitates courses for Leadership Management International.

Her motto: “Leap and the net will appear.”

Episode 17 Show Notes

Fernweh – (n.) An ache for distant places; the craving for travel

Check your school’s international department (if you have the option) to seek out scholarships! Like Stephanie said: “I don’t think it’s a matter of good grades… it’s your will power and the enthusiasm you show.”

When you struggle with your family members not understanding why you want to travel: “You just have to make the people at home understand that this is an adventure that you don’t want to miss…” and remember, you can ALWAYS come home if it doesn’t turn out the way you’d hoped.

Stephanie’s amazing one-liner takeaways:

“The best things in life aren’t things.”
“If you have any inclination to do it, you should do it because that regret is just going to eat you alive.”
“If you’re even thinking about it GO. Just MAKE IT HAPPEN.”
“Life is like a mirror, what you put out there is going to be reflected.”

Links we mentioned:

5 replies on “BMT 017: An American in Germany – Transitioning Abroad with Stephanie Urban”

Jackie, this was a great episode with Stephanie. It was really authentic and I think that her story is an inspiration to many who are looking to live abroad for an extended period of time.

I loved this one. I felt for her when she said she had to pay into the retirement account!
Right now we are trying to move into Canada, and while that SHOULD be easy (3 out of 4 of us are dual citizens, my husband has a job there), the application for permanent residency is crazy. We also got slammed with taxes because we were non-residents and because he only made 84% of his yearly income in Canada (instead of the 90%, apparently, that’s a rule–we moved in late Feb. when he started the job) we got slammed because they didn’t allow him any personal deductions (like children!). So, we’d been taking out the highest amount of taxes with every paycheck of his and we STILL owed $4500Can after that. It was insane and we never thought that would happen (highest amount out of the checks!). Ugh. It has been such a nightmare, but we are almost through it. My application is turned in and we’re weeks away from them looking at it, so more than likely we’ll finally be able to move up in the Fall. Since we currently live in teh states, it stinks because we are paying higher taxes up there and not getting any of the benefits (like the healthcare, we still have to pay for that here!), and we loose between 400-500$ per month just in exchange rate. It’s kind of been a nightmare living stateside and working in Canada. If it was the opposite (living in Canada, working stateside) it would be reversed it would be much better. Who ever knows about a 90% rule??? one of those things you just have to live through, I guess.

Wow! You’re exactly right though. It’s one of those things you just need to get through, and then once you get it all sorted out, it will be a thing of the past and most likely, completely worth it. Hang in there Sarah!

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