My first trip to Munich was paid for by Texas Instruments (the company I now work for, in Germany). I applied to TI the previous month for a yearlong marketing internship, and after a subsequent Skype interview, they invited me over to meet me in person (and, unbeknownst to me at the time, 4 other candidates).
I landed in Munich airport quite late, and got a taxi to the hotel in Freising I was to stay in. Little did I know at the time, that I would soon come to call this small Bavarian city home; but more on that later. After a restless night, I began my full day of back-to-back interviews in my borrowed interview clothes. When the hard part was over, we were to have lunch in on-site canteen at TI, where a chipper American woman sat down next to me; and we began chatting away like sisters. Little did I know that this woman, Corrine, would become my boss and friend after I lost the original position I was going for to my now very good friend Pulca. After this, I stuck around Freising for a couple of drinks with one of the fellow candidates from Manchester, before making my way into Munich where I had a hostel booked, and Rhys was going to meet me. As I gazed out the window of the train, I couldn’t help but notice the similarities between Bavaria and suburban America (or at least where I’ve grown up). However while I was taking this all in, it did not occur to me to contact my family back in the US my whereabouts, so you can imagine the joy of the hostel staff when I walked in, after a few worried and heated conversations with my father. Oops!
Waiting for Rhys, I made a few international friends at the hostel bar, and when Rhys arrived we hadn’t a moment to spare as we headed to the nearest beer hall. I remember being surprised on our stroll by the emptiness of the streets, the beautiful new and old architecture, and the seemingly endless amount of breweries and bars along the way. I loved Munich.
The next day we took the walking tour, and got to know the history behind the sites we saw under the cover of night. Swiftly after this I had another job interview with a new enterprise called InterNations. The office was right in the center of Munich, the job was essentially marketing for a Facebook-esque website specifically for expats, and the people were fun and dedicated. I later had to turn them down due to fiscal reasons- the pay wasn’t enough to live and thrive in a place like Munich. Nevertheless I will always appreciate the offer, and I still use and recommend the website. Anyway, we then climbed the new/old town hall (I can never remember which is which, the one that was bombed and rebuilt) and could actually see the alps beyond the city-scape. We went to the English Garden and drank huge masses of beer in the great beer gardens, and feasted on pork knuckles and sausages like Viking kings.
Leaving Munich was bittersweet, as I found out on the journey that I had one job offer (InterNations) and had lost the job I had originally flew over for (TI). Little did I know then that in the coming weeks I was to find out that I would return to this city and call it my home.
Borrowed clothes: As I had done for all of my placement interviews (and I had a lot-lets say 50+;from marketing pies in Melton Mowbray to my dream job at Virgin in Crawley) I borrowed my mom’s work top and blazer, because I’m a university student and not adult enough to own my own. Also, we found a pair of perfectly good Nike sweatpants left behind by our bunk-mates in the hostel. Thank you kind stranger! They will show up later in this blog.
Pro Travel Tips:
- Don’t go if you don’t like beer. It’s an honest waste of money. But if you’re here long enough (aka 6 months+) Bavaria will change you, and you will learn to like it.
- Don’t worry about wardrobe.Bring sensible clothes and footwear. Germans aren’t stylish.
- Try to learn a few German phrases; please, thank you, sorry, one beer please…, but don’t worry, everyone generally speaks English.
- Also, Bavarian is different to regular German, and Germany for that matter. If you’ve been to Cologne or Berlin and are expecting it to be similar-think again.
- If you are here for long enough, goto the Alps. They are too close and too beautiful. Day trip to Garmisch or Austria- you will NOT be disappointed.