Relocation guide: relocating with your family
Working parents have a lot to juggle especially when relocating to a new country. At GetYourGuide we support our working parents in their relocation, onboarding, and making the most out of their job aspirations. Whether you’re at the height of your career or just starting to climb the corporate ladder, making time for your family is a balancing act.
In this relocation guide, we’re focusing on parents taking on a new role in a new city. With the help of a few of our working parents we hope to calm the related concerns parents might have. We’ll give you some insights into what it’s like to relocate to Germany, how to find childcare, and raising a family in Berlin. If you’re not a working parent, we’ll also cover work-life balance at GetYourGuide and some of the many perks about living in this multicultural capital.
How did you relocate your family to Berlin?
Gurban Hudayberdiyev, Backend Engineer - I’m originally from Turkmenistan and we had to get an international passport for my son. When I moved to Berlin he was two and a half months old and joined three months later with my wife. The initial relocation was very easy because of the company-provided housing. However, finding an apartment that suited my family, in a quiet neighborhood with lots of parks, in Berlin was very tough. Thankfully my hiring manager, Oliver Strobel, and our Office Team Lead, Mandy Mill, helped a lot with the search and strategy.
Shane Mayer, Head of Partnerships - Our son was only two when we moved here. Of course, it was harder and scarier to move with a kid, since they are your number one concern, and any move comes with some uncertainty.
We were quickly blown away by how kid-friendly Germany/Berlin is and felt immediately sure we made the right choice. It's the little things, like clean, decorated rooms for changing your baby. It's also the big things, like the child tax benefit, "kindergeld," which pays out monthly to help parents cover the cost of child care.
How to find a “KiTa,” kindergarten, in Berlin?
Malachi Soord, Senior Software Engineer - Finding a KiTa in Berlin is hard as there is a KiTa shortage and places are in high demand. Be persistent and leverage technology to help with the application process. We leveraged a mail merge approach, sending a personalized email with a photo and could track open and reply rates to follow up with the ones that were not responsive.
In the end, we were placed on lots of waiting lists and eventually got offers from three KiTas around six months after we originally started looking. For anyone coming from abroad with a family that needs immediate daycare, it should be taken into consideration that this is not straight forward.
Shane - Finding childcare is a high priority concern and it's truly incredible that Berlin promises free, high-quality daycare to all children. Of course, it can take time to get a spot. Luckily we made friends at GetYourGuide and were able to get some support. One colleague's partner was able to babysit our son while we were looking for a KiTa position. This was a win-win, since they were also new to the city and happy to have short-term work. This is the type of benefit of arriving into the GetYourGuide network. It's easy to build community simply be talking to your colleagues or posting a message in Slack for whatever you might need.
Work-life balance: How are you supported as a working parent?
Meg Telson, Customer Service Operations Manager - One of the most impactful things about GetYourGuide on my parental work-life balance is how open everyone is, including the C-level, to work with the parents in their teams to find the schedule that suits them best. When we were in our previous office, I was a five-minute bike ride from home so I worked 9 to 6 PM with very little impact on evenings with my family. Now that we're in our new office and I have a 30+ minute commute, it was a total non-issue for me to ask my manager to work a strict 9 to 5:30 PM, and make up the remainder of my day at home in the evenings, after I've enjoyed dinner with my family and helped get the kids in bed. I have no expectations for my team to be working in the evening, this is simply the schedule that works for me, and I'm able to do it with full support. And that is incredible.
Ashraf Aaref, Backend Engineer - GetYourGuide offers me a good level of relative flexibility that allows me to take my daughter to the doctor when needed or attend an important parent meeting at the kindergarten or even sometimes work from home if I need to take care of my sick daughter for the day.
Gurban - My manager and my team are very supportive for all cases. If I can't join a team meeting, we'll reschedule. If I have to go home for an emergency and work from home at the last minute, they cover me. And I'm very grateful for that. I'm grateful that the environment and the work processes we've created allows all this.
What is your advice for parents relocating to Europe?
Ashraf - Start putting your name on the kindergarten‘s waiting lists ASAP. It’s not impossible to get a spot in one but it’s in high demand.
Damien Palacio, Backend Engineer in Zurich - I think with small kids it’s easy. If they don't speak German, they will quickly catch up in kindergarten. Our son started kindergarten and in three weeks he could handle German conversations with no real issues. If they are older, then it will probably be hard for a while. GetYourGuide also provides extra courses for foreigners to study German. I would suggest to start preparing as early as possible even before relocating. If possible make your kids attend German courses, usually real classes are better than books or apps.
Meg - Reach out to other parents in the company. GetYourGuide has a number of different channels for parents where we share advice for anything from how “Elternzeit,” parental leave, works to finding a KiTa spot to which bikes are best to swapping clothes and toys. It's a fantastic network that's always delighted to jump in and support other parents in navigating a new life here for the first time.
Shane - When you worry about the challenges and hardships, also consider the amazing benefits of showing your child other countries, cultures, and languages. You are literally giving them the world.
Why is Berlin a good fit for your family?
Ashraf - Berlin is an amazing city that has everything and people from everywhere. In my case as a Muslim family, we can find many mosques and a variety of halal food. And, of course, the quality of life, health care, and education for our kids.
Meg - We decided to stay in Berlin for a few reasons. The cost of living is better, so we both have a better work-life balance. In Brooklyn we were both working more than full-time just in order to make ends meet for the two of us. In Berlin, we've been able to both work part-time with two kids and still be quite comfortable. I work full-time now, which was a decision I made for my own professional development. It was gratifying to make that decision because I wanted to for my own growth and not because I had to for financial reasons.
We also feel that Berlin is more family-friendly. From an insurance and family benefits point of view, there are so many playgrounds, parks, and green spaces. And the culture of parenting in Germany meshes closely with our values in bringing up our kids. It's much more of a community/it-takes-a-village style of parenting.
Gurban - Berlin has so many parks. Parks and lakes everywhere. I mean we can have a BBQ every weekend at Tempelhof Field after playing volleyball. Spending time in nature without any expense is amazing.
Shane - I have been completely amazed by how wonderful Berlin is for children. There are very visible markers of this, such as the numerous parks and playgrounds all over the city. There are also less visible benefits too, such as the many laws that provide employees with flexible care and family time. I didn't realize how wonderful it would be to raise a child here and to see him learn a second language, but it's perhaps what I appreciate most.