Looking for german expats in san francisco?
Her experiences inspired her to start a blog called Bright Lights of America. For more from Katherine, follow her on Twitter. A: I applied for a job from Australia on a bit of a whim, thinking there was no way they'd want to go through the rigmarole of accepting an overseas candidate.
So I was a little shocked when I found out I got the job. I write internal communications and technical documents for a business in San Francisco. Q: What do you enjoy most about San Francisco?
How would you rate the quality of life compared to Australia? A: I love the variety of things to do and see in San Francisco.
On any day of the week there are so many things that I could get out to if I had the money — music, food trucks, comedy, great restaurants, lectures, festivals, fairs, free shows in parks — there really is never 'nothing to do'. But to be honest, if you're moving from Sydney and want to go somewhere that feels like home, California should be first on your list.
The climate is practically the same apart from Karl The Fog and the people are lovely. A: It's pretty expensive here. I spend a fair chunk of my income on rent, which doesn't leave very much left over for frivolities.
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But if you budget right it's doable. Personally, I don't find the public transport system that great so there's no difference from Sydney there. The things I miss most about home are food, family and friends.
In that order. I'm yet to find a great Thai restaurant and of course there aren't any meat pies or sausage rolls or Cherry Ripes. But I can live without them. Q: What are the biggest adjustments you had to make when settling into expat life in the US?
Did you experience any particular elements of culture shock? A: Half of my blog is about culture shock. The single biggest thing for me is that my dry, Australian sense of humour just isn't understood here. Not that people take offence, it just tends to confuse them more than anything else. I'll make an offhand comment to a cashier while buying groceries and then spend an extra two minutes having to explain it so he doesn't think I'm totally out of my mind. That also comes into play at work.
Let's just say I've learned that it's best not to joke with your superiors.
Or anyone. Just be straight-laced, OK? The of homeless people. There are lots and lots.
Brace yourself for seeing them. Many are visibly unwell - broken bones, weeping or bleeding sores, mental health problems etc. It's pretty heart breaking. Getting used to driving on the right side of the road was pretty tough as well. And no one uses their blinkers in California which is endlessly frustrating. They don't use the metric system so I never know how far away anything is or what the temperature is.
Sure, there's apps for that, but I prefer not to know sometimes. What is cheap or expensive in particular?
A: As I said before, it is pretty expensive, however, I think the housing prices and rents are only slightly higher than the inner suburbs of Sydney. I can't compare petrol because I have zero maths skills and they use gallons instead of litres, so who knows?
You get more bang for your buck on mobile phone plans here unlimited data or higher caps, free texting and callingand clothes are cheaper. Q: How would you rate the public transport in San Francisco?
What are the different options? Do you need to own a car? A: I thought I could get away with not owning a car and just using buses and trains. I was wrong.
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I live outside of the city proper though so if you're in SF itself you could probably get away with it. The bus services on the weekends are really reduced so you spend a lot of time waiting and a lot of money on transport. For me it was much easier and more economical to get a second-hand car. I find the transport options strange here. They are owned by private companies and don't link up very well.
Very annoying. Using Muni can also be confusing I find, but I'm sure you'd get used to the system if you used it often enough. Q: How would you rate the healthcare San Francisco? Are there any hospitals you would recommend? A: There are good and bad sides to the healthcare system. If the business you work for offers good packages that allow you to choose your own physicians then I'd definitely go with that. I stupidly chose a package where you can only see that insurer's doctors, physiotherapists etc. So when I was not impressed with the physiotherapist I saw I didn't really have the option to visit someone better without paying straight out of my own pocket.
The other thing you need to know is that medical insurance doesn't cover dental or optical, you have to buy that separately. Q: What are the biggest safety issues facing expats living in San Francisco?
Are there any areas expats should avoid? A: I don't think there are any safety issues specific to expats here, but I will say that there are parts of SF that I don't feel comfortable walking alone in at night. I won't go to see bands playing in some parts of the Mission District because it feels like a dangerous place to me.
But as long as you keep your wits about you, you're pretty safe during the day and for the most part at night. Q: How do you rate the standard of housing in San Francisco? What different options are available for expats? A: Since the market is so tight, any available space is put out for lease or rent.
That means there are some pretty dodgy places out there. A lot of them don't have kitchens or owners specify "light cooking" which means using a microwave or an electric burner. Expect apartments to be tiny. The housing stock is older than Sydney's so they're a little more run down as well. Here they call granny flats "in-laws" and they can either be attached to the main house or sometimes very rarely they are detached.
Otherwise it's apartments or house shares. If your job is on the peninsula or in the city I wouldn't recommend living anywhere in East Bay because you will hit a mountain of traffic every day both ways just on the bridge over and back. If you need something cheaper than the inner city, go for South San Francisco, Milbrae, and parts of Daly City are not too bad.
Q: How tolerant are the locals of foreigners? Is there any obvious discrimination against particular religions or women etc.? A: I guess I get off pretty scot-free with this one. I'm a Caucasian woman so I can't say that I've ever really experienced discrimination. San Francisco is a fairly multicultural city though, there are lots of people from all over the world — Asia, India, Pakistan, Australia, Europe and South America. I haven't noticed discrimination against particular groups of people but I also can't speak for everyone.
I did notice that men can be aggressive in trying to chat up women, though.