12. February 2021

From Canada to Germany: Alex & Max’s Relocation Story

Across each of our European offices, Personios join our team from every corner of the globe. Together, we all work to fulfill our core purpose of Enabling Better Organizations.

In fact, we have more than 64 different nationalities and cultures represented across our organization! And, in 2020 alone, we successfully relocated 22 people with plans for even more in each of our five growing offices in Germany, Spain, the UK, Ireland, and the Netherlands. No matter where you come from, if you are talented and embody our values and operating principles, we want to hear from you!

In this blog, our colleagues Alexandra Hoernlein and Maximilian Specht share their unique story of relocating together from Canada to our German office in Munich.

What do we do & why do we love it?

Both of us work in the Marketing team! Max within the Web & Content Team as a Content Marketing Manager for English content, and Alex under the Brand Team as a Visual Communications Designer.

Max – The best part about my role is the amount of exposure I have to so much of what we do here at Personio. Because our working language is English, and because I am a Native English writer and editor, I have the opportunity to see so much of the great work we are doing, and I get the opportunity to fine-tune and finesse it so we shine in all of our English marketing efforts. I love helping edit people's work, and to brainstorm so that our new content is always better than the last thing we wrote (#SeekToImprove).

Alex – My favorite part of my role is the team element. That includes not only my fellow designers, but everyone at Personio! It feels like we are all truly driven to reach our goals, and I love being part of that and contributing with my own skills. It’s also great that, when collaborating with coworkers on projects, everyone comes to the table with a #SolutionsOverProblems mindset. As a Designer, that makes my work more creative, more fun, and more effective!

About our journey from Canada to Germany

Our journey from Canada to Germany was relatively smooth. We were very lucky to relocate during the end of the summer, when things in both Germany and Canada were looking quite good (the second lockdown hadn’t begun yet).

So, ours was more of a ‘typical’ relocation story. We decided to make the move, packed up all of our things, booked our flight, said our goodbyes, and we dropped off at the airport to begin our new journey. The biggest difference was having to wear masks for eight hours straight, but that was hardly the end of the world.

Last day in Canada
Last day in Canada

We proceeded to live in a hotel for a month while attending all of our visa appointments (for Max). While Alex, as a German-Canadian citizen, registered her stay to make her new city and country official.

Why did we choose Munich as ‘our’ new city?

For both of us, our dream was always to move to Germany (not simply abroad). We both come from German families, and Alex is even a German citizen (even though she was born in Canada). Coming to Germany was almost like a ‘coming home’ moment, and Munich made the most sense as we are also both of Bavarian descent, as well.

In fact, most of Alex’s family still lives in a city called Coburg, as well as Nuremberg, and Max still has family just outside of Landshut (almost an hour outside of Munich). For that reason, and because of our love of the Alps and nature in general, Munich was a natural fit.

And, since arriving, we can safely say that we made the right choice. Munich is an ideal city for us, thanks to its size, friendly atmosphere, selection of restaurants, and its position within Germany (and Europe, more generally).

It almost felt like home from the very beginning.

Toronto, the city we came from, has around double the population of Munich, so we were also very excited to trade the intense amount of hustle and bustle for something a little bit more laidback (but still with a distinct ‘city’ feel to it).

A photo of us living in our hotel room

What was our recruiting experience with Personio like?

Our recruiting experience, which you can find in the image above, is unique in the sense that it happened twice! About a week after Max had received and signed his offer, a position that was perfect for Alex came up. So, she applied and got it.


The most interesting part of all this was that, having gone through the process first, Max had learned so much about Personio and shared it with Alex, too. So, we were both able to fall in love with Personio at the same time. And, Alex didn’t have to wait long for a perfect position to open up.

Even though Alex’s process happened while the ink was drying on Max’s offer, so it was during the official ‘relocation’ process, the time it took was very similar and we were both able to start on the very same day. It felt like destiny and Personio made it very clear what was happening at each and every step!

Just a few hiccups during our relocation

Collectively, we would say that our relocation process was pretty seamless. We pride ourselves on being incredibly organized and like a finely-tuned machine, so our process of moving, cleaning our old apartment, and everything else was pretty simple and satisfying.

The only difficult part was probably Max’s visa process. Having to contend with all of the documents, getting his degree verified (which resulted in a frenzied search for his high school diploma, as well as his university degree) was a bit tricky to ensure the visa process went smoothly.

That said the relocation agency, Palladium, that Personio works with was incredibly helpful every step of the way. They allowed us to operate with maximum confidence and, at the end of the day, the entire process was smooth even with those few hiccups.

How did covid affect us during our relocation?

Not by much! At the time of our move, Canada was not labeled a high-risk country by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). That meant that we were enjoying low levels of Covid-19, much like Germany at the time.

What did that mean? Essentially, we got off our plane, went through passport control, and nothing else. No testing was required, and thankfully we did not feel sick, and no quarantine was mandated due to our low-level of risk.

Of course, we remained incredibly safe. We had our temperatures checked at the Toronto airport, disinfected (and washed) our hands like crazy, wore masks the entire time, and were very smart not to touch surfaces or anything else that could increase our exposure.

So, in total, our Covid-19 experience meant a higher level of awareness. Thankfully, though, it did not result in any major hurdles or impede our ability to come to Munich and enjoy our new lives here immediately.

Toronto Airport
The airport in Toronto before we left / Our train ride from the airport to our new home

What we wish to have known before

We wish we had known how seamless it was all going to become. When you are relocating, especially from so far, it is easy to stay up at night with anxiety about whether or not it is going to go well or if something will end the process abruptly.

That said, everything about the process went smoothly. And, with Personio’s help, we always felt like we had support along the way. So, our advice would be to remain confident in the process and also look forward to your new coworkers reaching out even before you start.

In fact, before we started work, and before restaurants and patios closed again, we were able to enjoy some traditional Bavarian Maß with a couple of our new coworkers. We didn’t expect this, and it really made us feel welcome even before our first day!

Our first proper German dinner (pre-lockdown)
Our first proper German dinner (pre-lockdown)

Looking to start a new chapter in your personal and professional life? What are you waiting for? Apply and #StartUpYourWay with Personio today! Check out our open positions. After all, you may be the next one to tell your relocation story with us.

Interested in joining Personio? Explore our open roles and find the right job for you!

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