When I first moved to Germany, I started attending Hamburg expat events to give me the opportunity to meet new people and feel more settled in my new home. When you’re younger, it’s much easier to make new friends through shared accommodation, your studies or by partying. But for those of us who are working full time, looking after children or don’t speak the language, it can be really hard to make adult friends. I was lucky and didn’t start working until a few months after I arrived, so I had the chance to get out and meet people but still struggled to build a support network. When you’re living away from all that you know, friends and family, it can be difficult not to feel lonely and to experience more extreme culture shock. The best way to combat that? By throwing yourself into meeting people, making friends and getting busy in your new life.
Dealing with culture shock in Hamburg
A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about experiencing the biggest culture shock of my life when I moved to Germany. It was shared on an expats Facebook page and had an insane response, with hundreds commenting and sharing their experiences of exactly the same feelings. For those who had ever struggled or felt alone, it was a moment of unity, a feeling that you weren’t alone. For me, it was the start of something even bigger, as various members of the group requested a meet-up and I offered to organise the first of many Hamburg expat events. Things came together with ease thanks to my connection with another expat who owned a pub in the city, and before I knew it, I had organised my first in a series of Hamburg expat events.
Expats Christmas Drinks took place on Monday night and saw a fantastic turnout of 35 people who enjoyed a night of drinks, nibbles and a Christmas quiz. Everyone left with a big smile on their face and asked when the next event would be. I left feeling inspired by the amazing response, and the satisfaction of knowing I had brought countless new friends together. It gave me all the warm, fuzzy feelings to be able to introduce like-minded individuals, and to connect with people from all over the world. With such huge interest in future events, it seemed silly to let this fizzle out when it could become something great.
Read: Moving to Germany – The Biggest Culture Shock of My Life
Launching Hamburg Expat Events
Naturally, the next step was to find a way of bringing all of these people together via social media to make it easier to organise future events, and to give people a chance to connect in their own time. Earlier this week, I launched the new Hamburg Expat Events – Absolutely Lucy Facebook group and by that evening it already had over 100 members. It’s become clear that there is a real demand for a social scene for expats living in Hamburg and for those new to life over here. After finding life in Hamburg difficult at first, I know exactly how those who have just arrived are feeling and I want to do the best I can to help them find the support network they need to feel settled. This group has been organised as a way of bringing like-minded people together to make new friends and find help for any expat issues they might face.
While a lot of other expat Facebook groups are much more online based – providing advice and help for those in need. I want this group to really focus on events and meet-ups, whether it’s over a quick coffee or a larger-scale event like Monday night. While it was the amazing power of social media that has brought this group of people together, I really want to focus on organising face-to-face meet-ups and bring people together. For me, that’s the most important thing – having people you can spontaneously meet up with for a beer or start a pub quiz team together.
Expats Gone Weird Comedy Night – January
For those looking for a laugh this January, look no further than Expats Gone Weird – Stand-Up Comedy Night (in English). Hosted by Alex Daff, the event will feature four great expat comedians performing their best sets, shooting some new material and maybe even roasting a few members of the audience! The line-up features Perry Eff from Ireland, Andrés Crump from Colombia, David Hailey from the USA and Jet Set Ty Rone, also from the USA. Its gonna be fun, it’s gonna be dirty and it’s gonna be brutal. Front row seats will get free shots if needed!
Organiser Alex is part Russian and part German, he’s been living in Germany since 1994 and is well-versed in the expat experience after living abroad for seven years. He said: “I’ve been through all the expat ups and downs. Being an expat is fun, you get to meet new people, make new friends, new languages and cultures. You open up your horizon, experience new things. But sometimes it can be really pain in the ass. Stand-up comedy was always one of the things that helped me to just switch off, listen to the performers and their stories/jokes and eventually realize you are not alone.” He returned to Hamburg in September after being away for almost 10 years and found there were no stand-up comedy events to attend, so he decided to organise a German comedy night, and then decided why not hold an English one as well!
The best thing about it, it’s a Friday evening (January 18th) and the show will end at 10.30pm with drinks and music afterwards, a perfect way to start the weekend. Taking place at Tango Universo, doors open at 7.30pm and the show will begin at 8.30pm with limited seating. Tickets cost 14€ (plus booking fee) online via this link, or 17€ on the door. I’ll be attending the event and can’t wait to see some of you there.
Are you an expat living in Hamburg? What has your experience been like? What kind of expat events would you like to see?