One year on: moving to Munich.

All photos taken on an expired disposable camera I bought as part of a job lot on ebay.

As my alarm went off at 9 (promptly snoozed, last night's optimism seemed misplaced), I couldn't help but think "thank god it's not this time last year" when I woke up at 4.30 for my one-way flight to Munich. Seeing as I never published a post immediately after returning from my six months abroad, I thought that now would be a good a time as ever to sit down with a rather large cuppa and get talking about what was, to me, quite an important chapter.

Why did I intern in Munich?

It'd be a downright lie to say I'd always wanted to live in Germany. I studied German from year seven right up to A Level (where changing school for sixth form killed my passion for the language as I was stuck with a teacher who didn't particularly inspire me). I'd considered studying English with German at university but I didn't get the grades so stuck with straight English and the rest, as they say, is history. After graduating and its inevitable "what the hell am I doing with my life?" panics, I started looking around for alternatives to the London-based internships and jobs I'd been looking at, and saw that Stylight was looking for british interns.
I had never even considered moving abroad (having no money and no fluency does that to a girl), but a skype interview later I was their newest SEO and online marketing intern and was looking at easyjet flights and downloading the dict.cc app. I knew little about Munich other than it was the capital of Bavaria, home to Oktoberfest and, you know, was Hitler's city of choice (perhaps apt to bring this up on Remembrance Sunday, bear in mind that Munich's moved on a lot since), so touching down in Freising was the start of a learning curb that lasted me through right till the day I returned to the UK.

How did I prepare for the move?

In a word? Badly. If you plan to intern with Stylight, bear in mind that they don't give you much time to move over there - I think I initially had three weeks - but I managed to put off my start date by a week using the excuse that flights were cheaper (lol, no, I had tickets for Knife Party's Haunted House which I was not going to miss). I knew that Kavita was out there, so I sent her a tweet, we started emailing, and she completely reassured me and helped me out a load, and is now someone I'm lucky enough to call a friend. I'm not a planner, and this move wasn't any different. Most people say that I was pretty brave to move to Munich on such short notice, but it's more likely that it was a heady mix of not having much on and sheer stupidity; that said, I don't regret doing it at all.

What was interning at Stylight like?

Just a little disclaimer here, a fair bit's changed since I was there, so I'll keep this bit short and stick with what I know.
Stylight's offices are based in Neuhausen, which is a little bit West of the city centre. Stylight HQ is absolutely amazing, with plenty of natural light, a nap room (only used when I was hungover after the Christmas party) and free cereal. You sit split up by your department, then with a team of countries (mine was UK, Netherlands and Sweden, but that's probably changed since), but everyone takes lunch 12.30-1.30 so there's plenty of opportunity to chat with everyone else; or you can stereotypically arrange hourly catch ups at the coffee machine over a brew of Yorkshire Tea. Every week there's the TGIF meeting, where everyone comes together to discuss what's happened in their department over a beer. Stylight like to claim that they've got a bit of a reputation in Munich for throwing amazing parties, so that's always good fun to look forward to too.
I was assured as I left that they were planning to change this, but there are a large percentage of interns working for Stylight, so there's a lot of new starters and people leaving on a weekly basis. Despite this, I've made plenty of friends who I still keep in contact with now.

What's happened since?

I always knew I'd have to be back in the UK on a certain date as I'd committed to jury service, leaving just under a week between completing my contract and my flight back. Since touching down, I haven't stopped. Two weeks of jury service were followed by interning at Cath Kidston and Oasis, and the latter offered me a job which I've been enjoying ever since. Did interning in Munich help my job prospects? It must've in some way, but I think it's more that I was interning for an extended period of time in an online retail environment, rather than because it was abroad. Regardless, it gave me an opportunity to discover another city, and get to Berlin for €16 return.

The million dollar question: would I recommend it to you?

If you've got the wanderlust bug: go for it. Don't expect it to be anything like Berlin, Munich's pretty tame: the population's rich and you'll definitely feel like the poorest person in the room balking at the idea of paying €3,90 for a tequila shot (then doing it anyway...), but it's absolutely magical at christmastime and you'll never not find it funny to see people wearing lederhosen and dirndls on the U-bahn - then buy one for yourself. It can be pretty pricey out there (Munich's the 39th most expensive city in the world, which stings after living in Liverpool but prepped me for London), and I was lucky enough to make a little bit of extra money from my blog to help pay the bills, but it can be tough at times if you don't have savings to dip into.
I am 100% glad I did it, but six months was just the right amount of time, and I was more than happy to return to Essex as my half year was up. And, let's be honest, it's got my "what's an interesting fact about you?" ice breaker covered for life.

If you want to get more of the nitty gritty feel free to tweet or email me.

And shout out to the amazing people I met out there (plus plenty more): Lauren, Kavita, Carmen, Charlotte, Lizzy, Charlotte, Stina, Marta, Anni, Romy, Rosa, Marine, Stephanie, Piero, Linda, Nina, Willemijn... too many to say you all!

7 comments:

  1. I would absolutely love to work in Germany, Munich in particular. I've loved German culture for a long time so it feels like a kind of natural choice. Next year I have a 12 week placement as part of my university course and am looking in to working in Germany however I'm not sure how plausible that would be! Hopefully I'll live there for a period of time at some point, but if not I'll certainly be visiting lots x

    Charlotte / coloursandcarousels

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  2. I wish I had done something like this before I settled down but alas I went straight for a 9-5 and now feel my shelf life is up! Plus the free cereal sounds pretty awesome, I'd be willing to move anywhere for a free bowl of clusters.
    xx

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    1. same here, tied down now and wish I had done my MA in Manchester then did some work experience in the states or something. I agree with Maria, reunion soon xx

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  3. aaaawwww I loooove this post and our picture from fashion friday, haha =) I never really noticed that you didn't write a post about Stylight, but its so cool to read it now - I still remember Kavita telling me that a girl from the uk, a blogging girl :-P will come interning at Stylight and we were super excited to meet you, haha :) I miss you girls from Stylight a lot, but Berlin is still better than Munich :-D hope you can come visit me asap, and I will make sure to come to England some time in 2015! with lizzy moving to berlin, you even have another reason to come :-P loooove you looads and miss you girl!!! xx

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  4. I can't believe it was a year since you moved, that's crazy! It also means it' been over a year since I have seen you which is far too long! Reunion soon please!

    Maria xxx

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  5. well done for being brave and doing it, a lot of people wouldnt!

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  6. I think it's incredible you were brave enough to head out there on your own pal! It definitely put you in good stead and I'm so glad you had a fun time :) <3 Claire @ Jazzpad

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Hello, I'm Rebecca: social media exec, new-ish coffee drinker and loafer-wearer.
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