Matt (serving), Shannon, Finley (3), Poppy (1) and standard issue black Lab, Dakota
How long have you been an army family?
Eight years. We’ve spent time in Northern Ireland, Gloucester, Bulford and Aldershot.
Time in Ulm?
We’ve been here for around eight months.
How many other military families live there?
The footprint is quite small and spread out, but it’s getting bigger and more established. There are around 15 families, which has fostered a supportive community. Ulm is not a traditional home for the British Armed Forces, so the community has been great at offering insights into making life overseas a really positive experience.
What’s your quarter like?
We’ve been super lucky with the house, it’s really nice and a good size. Living amongst the local community has meant that we have fully embraced the local way of life.
The only disappointing thing has been the travel restrictions which have meant we haven’t (albeit for good reason) been able to share the experience with UK-based friends and family.
Are there any employment/ training opportunities?
The European Joint Support Unit (EJSU) has employed a couple of spouses, but otherwise it’s limited unless your German is up to scratch. The community centre has offered language training for free! Shannon has taken the opportunity to complete a distance learning course online.
What about schools/ childcare?
The area is catered for by a well respected International School for children aged 3-18. We opted to send Fin to a German nursery. There were some initial teething issues, mostly due to the language barrier, but he absolutely loves it now and we’re sure he will speak better German than us soon.
Where do people tend to get together and who supports you?
We have support from the Ulm National Support Element (NSE), run by an engaging Det Comd who has a German translator, the Host Nation Liaison Officer (HNLO) and Community Liaison Officer (CLO), who all look out for the community and wider southern Germany footprint. The CLO has been great at organising socials that have helped us get to know other UK families who are out here, which is important as there aren’t many of us.
How do you find the cost of living?
Food and clothing is a little more expensive, but the Local Overseas Allowance covers the difference.
What are the best and worst things about living in Ulm?
There are plenty of things to see and do. We’re an outdoorsy family and Bavaria is a beautiful part of Germany. We’re well positioned to explore neighbouring countries that have been assessed as being safe for travel.
Camping in Slovenia was an unexpected highlight of our summer holidays and is well worth a visit.
The worst thing has been the difficulty seeing family.
Would you recommend it as a family posting?
Absolutely. We love it!
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