1. Can you give an introduction about yourself?
I am from Leipzig, Germany, and worked in Freiburg before I moved to the US. I came to the Bay Area in June 2008. So I’m already two years in CA. While I initially planned to stay just two years, I will be here probably for another year.
2. What are you currently doing?
I am a postdoc at Stanford University doing computational biology.
3. When you think back to your decision making and moving, what was the most difficult aspect in deciding to move here?
I cannot say which was the most difficult thing. Definitely nothing is straightforward, but if planned nothing is really hard. DS2019 and Visa things are annoying but doable if they are done well ahead of time. Getting a SSN, bank account and drivers license costs some energy.
4. What did you do to prepare yourself?
I read the internet about which steps to do when. Also Stanford has a introductory class for postdocs that helps in many aspects and they cover health care. I also got useful information from other Germans that spend time in the US before (although that was often overwhelming and I could not really remember much).
5. What was the most useful source of information?
Other people and the Wikibooks website.
6. How did you experience your first couple of days in California?
I came a Saturday, enjoyed the Sunday by working around Stanford and began to work on Monday. Working, organizing things, getting to know the area kept me super busy the first 3 weeks.
7. What do you enjoy most about your new life and what do you enjoy least?
The weather is awesome. I came in June and that was perfect. Apart from that the awesome outdoor opportunities that CA has to offer. Sometimes I miss German food that you cannot get here. And maybe from time to time German mentality, although fortunately there are lots of Germans around.
8. What was your biggest challenge to overcome in your new life/place?
People here are often different than Germans and one has to adopt to that. Otherwise it may easily happen that the straight German manner offends others.
9. Can you tell us your funniest experience you had in the US and if you have, the saddest situation?
I met on top of Half Dome in Yosemite two Germans who also work at Stanford. How likely is that? The world is a village. I don’t really remember what the saddest situation was.
10. What would you tell a friends who is about to move to California?
Enjoy your time. Remember the good and not the bad things.
11. Did you travel CA? If yes, do you have a secret tip/destination for us?
Yes, despite some problems, it is a great time and a valuable experiences.
12. What do you miss most from home?
I have been to Yosemite a lot and did many hikes there. A great hike is to Half Dome or Clouds Rest (offers a better 360° view). Apart from that, Yosemite’s high country is worth seeing. Also Joshua Tree is a unique place. In the Bay Area, Mission Peak (East Bay) is a good hike.