May 6, 2016   //   International   //   By Michael Burge


I have spent most of my life following a plan. Like most people I find some comfort in structure.  My plan until now has been as follows: Get into a good college, go to graduate school, get a job, pass the CPA Exams, be in a committed relationship… well I have done most of these at least.  Anyway what I am getting at is how was I feeling about picking my life up and getting airdropped in a foreign city where I didn’t’ know a single person and was not very knowledgeable in the native language?  There is no plan or structure you can follow to do something like this, so you could imagine I had some anxiousness about initially coming to Hamburg, Germany.

During the 14 hours of travel time with a quick pit stop in London I had plenty of time to think about the upcoming three months.  Would I get lost? The answer was yes.  Would people be able to speak English? Would it be easy to get around?

Luckily, once I had landed in Hamburg most of my doubts washed away.  I was graciously greeted by my host in the airport and was dropped off at what would be my new home for the next three months.

My initial reaction:

This city is spectacular. It is the second largest city in Germany with about 1.8 million people. It also happens to be the second largest port in Europe being situated on the Elbe River which flows into the North Sea. The architecture is amazing as some buildings have a very (very) old design that we do not see in the US. For reference on the age gap, Germany just celebrated the 500th anniversary of their beer purity laws last month. Considering the US is barely hitting the mid 200’s in years, it is impressive to see how long these cities and buildings have been around.

I will be working at the firm Möhrle Happ Luther, which as of two weeks ago moved into a stunning new 12 story building. I just happened to be put on the eleventh floor where I have a tremendous view over the river. I can see most of the historical sites from my desk. Möhrle Happ Luther is a firm of about 280 professionals that specialize in Audit, Taxation, Transactions, and Legal Advising amongst other fields.  It is interesting that they are able to provide legal services in Germany as we are not allowed to in the US. By far the best part about working at Möhrle Happ Luther is the employees.  They have been absolutely amazing in the way they have treated me. I have been invited out by colleagues to watch football (soccer) games, eat lunch/dinner, etc. I could not be happier with my current situation and what the next three months have in store.

Not to say that all of my doubts have been erased, but I am finding it easier to live outside of my comfort zone. To me that is a glaring reminder that you should never be content with what is in front of you and comfortable, but look every direction for ways to grow.