From Chicago to Füssen, Bavaria (the early days)

An American expat who calls herself Betty Tyranny found herself living in Füssen, Germany, after falling in love with the country during a road trip. She shares with us some aspects of her expat life in Germany, like what she does for a living, her favorite activities there, and how kind and helpful the locals have been to her.

Betty Tyranny

-Where were you born?

Chicago, USA

-In which country and city are you living now

Füssen, Germany 

-Are you living alone or with your family?


-How long have you been living in Germany?

10 months

-What is your age?


-When did you come up with the idea of living in Germany?

I went on a road trip across southern Germany last summer and I fell in love with this country.

-Was it hard to get a visa or a working permit?

I am a distance-learning student so it was a bit tricky. I had to prove that I could support myself, that I had health insurance and that I'm taking 16 hours of German classes per week.

-Was it difficult for you to get medical insurance before you went there or when you first arrived?

Not at all. I talked to Mike at Spectrum Insurance.

-How do you make your living in Germany? Do you have any type of income generated?

I sell American records here on eBay. It's what I used to do in Chicago, too, however they sell much better here. I also clean apartments a few times a month. I was fortunate that I befriended the woman who owns the vacation apartment I stayed in when I first moved here. 

-Do you speak German  and do you think it's important to speak the local language?

I think it's important to learn the language if you move to another country, of course. I'm struggling with German, but everyone is so nice and helpful about it. Also, most people speak English here. There is definitely a dialect here in the Allgäu in southern Bavaria. 

-Do you miss home and family sometimes? Describe your favorite recreational activities there or those that are available.

Yes, absolutely. In fact, being around friends and family are what I miss most of all. 

There are plenty of things to do here if you like nature and history. The area has multiple lakes and is situated at the foot of the alps. There are countless hiking and biking trails, not to mention photo ops. King Ludwig II's most celebrated castle, Neuschwanstein, is also nearby as is the Austrian border (only 4 km away).

-Do you have other plans for the future?

I plan to travel to several countries while I am fortunate enough to live in the heart of Europe. First up is Slovenia and Croatia this Christmas. My preferred method of travel is auto. I love road trips! I try to take scenic routes as often as possible.

-What about housing, have you bought, or are you renting a home? How much do you pay for it?

I am renting a large studio-like apartment for 300 Euro warm. I say "studio-like" because technically I have a seperate kitchen and my bedroom area is set off to the side. It's very comfortable. Can't forget to mention the large balcony with views of the Altstadt (old town) and the alps!

-What is the cost of living in Germany?

Relatively high with 19% sales tax (VAT). However, housing in this area is cheaper than in larger cities in Germany, that is certain.  

-What do you think about the Germans?

People are generally very friendly here. When I moved in, several people in the building gave me various household items like curtains and tables, but I've heard from other Germans that that is unusual. Generally speaking, there are a lot of tourists in this area, so I think the locals are used to foreigners.

-What are the positive and negative aspects of living in Germany?

Being brief...

Positives:  Food is delicious, air and water is clean. Rich history.

Negatives: German is difficult to learn. Taxes are high. Food is delicious.*

*If you like sausages, expect to gain weight.

-Do you have any tips for our readers about living in Germany?

Yes, visit the ToyTown Germany forums. Invaluable information for newcomers. Answers to nearly any question you may have can be found here: 

-Do you have any favorite Web sites or blogs about Germany?

My travel blog including many, many photos of the surrounding area:

Again, ToyTown Germay: 

Another extremely helpful resource. How To Germany:


EuroYank's picture

Greetings from another American expat from Chicago who was originally a German expat from the black forest, and am now an American expat from Chicago. This expat thing can get to be a habit.