I am Jenni, a Leo from Finland. For one and a half year I’ve been living, studying and working in Germany, one of the biggest Leo countries in Europe. Before my move I knew quite a few German Leos. They also helped me to connect with Leos who lived close to city I moved in. As we Leos are quite close community, there is always someone who knows someone close there. Leos and Lions as well are one kind of a safety network: I call them my second family.
When going abroad to live there for a while, it is important to integrate to the local culture and everyday life. Small things like how something is working and what to do and where, can sometimes be quite different even in between the European countries. Some things felt silly and I couldn’t understand, but I knew that I could ask my local Leo friends.
Big advantage of knowing locals is that you really get to see so many places in addition to the tourist attractions. I would say that German Leos are also quite well prepared if you ask for a tour of the city you are visiting. The best way to get to know the culture is to visit local family and take part in different events. I stayed for few of days in a Lion family and yes, I was taught how to pour a beer properly.
As an active Leo I wanted to join some activities and meetings, for both meeting new people and not to forget being a Leo. Here in Germany Christmas markets are quite big thing and Christmas time is also really important for our organization. Last year I took part in selling mulled wine (Glühwein) and waffles. This year I was painting the picture for the advent calendar with disabled people. Both are really nice and common Leo activities in Germany.
If you have been to international Leo events you might as well go to German Leo events. Somehow there will be always few international Leos in addition to nearly 200 German Leos. Well Germany is located quite easily in the middle of Europe. Due to the international success, German Leos have also added English seminar to the program of Multi District Seminar held in every October. Also sightseeing is usually provided in the city, so we internationals are hosted very well!
I am very thankful for all of you who have been there for me. And I recommend for every Leo travelling to another country to get contact local Leos. Hospitality is one of the best values we share!
Autohor: Jenni Leskinen