Little less unites more than playing the same sport, you had grown up with in your home country. Now with new potential friends in new surroundings.
That’s why the idea of a landing page for international newcomers had been on deck for quite a while. The thought of being new in a foreign country, overcoming language and cultural barriers is something that is difficult to imagine. Hence why we’re looking to offer new team members from all over the world, a piece of home. In the case of soft- and baseball, we’re able to do so through sports.
We were able to pile some information together, but felt like something was missing for it to feel complete.
The process came to a halt until the day we stumbled across an interesting website, more or less by chance. The website Life in Düsseldorf by Jenna Davis seemed to hold the solution to aforementioned problems.
“Jenna is an absolute stroke of luck for us and I’m pretty sure she knows my home town better than I do,” says softball head coach Frank Mohr, who had made the discovery and can’t help but smile.
Born in Oakville, a suburb of Toronto, she came to Düsseldorf via a few detours. Her work as a travel blogger took her to South Africa in 2014, where she met her future husband. After two years of a more or less long-distance relationship, she decided to call it quits in Canada and start a new life in Germany.
“We first lived in Freiburg, where my husband went to university,” she begins the conversation with us. “I loved the vibe there – nature, cobblestone streets, the student scene. When I first arrived in Düsseldorf, it wasn’t exactly love at first sight, unlike with my husband. The city seemed big (coming from a small town) and the art/fashion scene wasn’t my cup of tea. I also needed time to get used to life here and I really missed my friends and family from Canada. For a long time, Düsseldorf just felt like a big city to me. Now I walk through the streets and see lots of familiar faces.”
One of the reasons for this is that Jenna is out and about in the city like hardly anyone else. Her blog allows you to get to know Düsseldorf in a whole new way.
It wasn’t until I started www.lifeinduesseldorf.com that I discovered the beauty and uniqueness of the city. The blog, initially born out of necessity, became a tool to connect with experts, share insights, and assist fellow expats navigating the challenges of settling in.
The biggest challenge, Jenna explains, was undoubtedly all the paperwork. Registering in a city for the first time, dealing with residency permits, and navigating the bureaucratic maze. She has now overcome all of this and calls Germany, and Düsseldorf in particular, her home.
It quickly became clear how great the need for such a blog was.
“Within weeks, we had 35,000 readers. It was a game-changer in not only my work life but my personal life as well.
Her 12-Step Checklist also proves to be helpful
“As I mentioned, the paperwork and legality behind getting yourself set up for success here in Germany is tough. This is precisely why I built up www.lifeinduesseldorf.com and then expanded to www.lifeingermany.com. The checklist is a free downloadable 17-page checklist which helps navigate expats and immigrants through the paperwork trail of getting started here in Germany. I’ve managed to make this somehow impossible process easily digestible in just a few simple steps.”
For Jenna, there is no question that sport overcomes boundaries.
“100% – actually, I would go as far to say that it is one of the BEST ways to help feel more welcome in a new country. Sports challenge you to be brave and meet new people, but it also allows you to work together as a team and create bonds and friendships that just don’t form the same way off the field.”
When asked if she could imagine coming to the Senators to try out the game, she smiles and says:
“Believe it or not, I played soccer competitively for 12 years during my childhood. Even though that with two kids, I now prefer relaxing exercises like yoga, zumba, and hiking, I would absolutely love to, just promise me not to laugh.”
Jenna on what success means and the future holds …
If you asked me that 10 years ago, I might come back to you with a income number or a social media following that I hope to achieve. However, looking at my life now, this is the definition of success for me:
I am living in an incredible city, learning a new language, I have the opportunity to explore so many amazing countries, I am happily married with two beautiful children and I run my own business that provides me the financial freedom to spend much of my time doing the things I love – spending time with my kids, exploring the city and hiking… lot’s of hiking.
I absolutely love what I am doing and where I am today. I hope to expand the Life in Düsseldorf and Life in Germany brands, help even more internationals to the best of my ability and continue exploring all the amazing things that Düsseldorf has to offer.
Life in Düsseldorf and Düsseldorf Senators, what can we expect from this collaboration?
“I hope that together we are able to build an even stronger bond between the internationals here in Düsseldorf. I hope that by sharing all that the Düsseldorf Senators have to offer, we will show newcomers to Düsseldorf that joining a sports team actually isn’t all that scary and that just because we’re in Germany doesn’t mean that people are not going to open their arms to new members and they might actually enjoy speaking English with you too! I hope that our collaboration will help ease the minds of newcomers and show them that there is more to this city than what meets the eye.”
Life in Düsseldorf + Düsseldorf Senators … the foundation for a landing page is set!
A big thank you to Jenna for your cooperation on this upcoming project. Images courtesy of LifeinDüsseldorf shot by Christina Lorenz.