A new job, a new city, a new country, a new language – like David Hart from the USA, many have taken this big step. And many have experiences similar to those of the former journalist and current communications and event expert: “It is a challenge and an adventure, but sometimes you are simply overwhelmed by the many changes.” When Hart first came to Germany 30 years ago, he almost gave up after nine months, but then he had his breakthrough and arrived in Frankfurt. It is this uncertainty amongst expats that the agency Communication Solutions, founded by Hart, is tackling. He and his team provide information on living and working in Germany, schools and networks, weekend planning and leisure activities. At the same time, they offer orientation that helps you find your way around the general information offered, the foreign language and despite cultural differences. They want to make the region more accessible and help newcomers settle in more quickly.
“Frankfurt is a city you fall in love with at second sight”, David Hart sums up his experiences at that time, “at the beginning one only knows the striking places, like the airport and the fair”. Frankfurt’s highlights are not as centralized as in London, for example, but the entire region contributes to the attractiveness of the location. That is why it takes a while to discover the many peculiarities of the cities by yourself. “I have collected so much information about Frankfurt, about the cultural offerings, clubs and associations in the region, and I wanted to share this with the many expats who share the same experiences. I wanted to create a platform for this exchange and thus contribute something to the culture of welcome,” Hart said in an interview with Frankfurt Main Finance.
The Newcomers Festival was born. The 18th annual event will be held on the 9th of September. Compared to the first Newcomers Festival in 2001, Hart observes significant changes in Frankfurt’s international community. “When I came to Frankfurt, mostly British and American expats lived here. Today, the community has become more international and colourful, partly because of the end of the Cold War and the eastward expansion of the European Union. By now, the expat community in Frankfurt comes from so many different countries, the city is almost a replica of the United Nations,” describes David Hart his observations. His work has become much more diverse as a result. However, the diversity in languages and cultural backgrounds has posed new challenges for networking within the community and the corresponding concepts and platforms. This development is also reflected in the Newcomers Festival.
The Newcomers Festival is an event for the whole family. It offers an overview of the entire Rhine-Main area: regions, cities and municipalities present themselves and their leisure activities, service providers familiarise visitors with what they have to offer, schools and universities present themselves and various churches are represented. Clubs and networks will also be present. An event on “soft location factors”, as Hart sums up. There are exhibitions, seminars and workshops, supplemented by practical information on life and work in Germany, Frankfurt and the wider region. In addition, visitors can expect a musical programme and the culinary offerings will reflect that of the region. The festival takes place on Sunday, 9th September from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. in Frankfurt’s city hall, the Römer, and admission is free.
Events such as the Newcomers Festival are becoming increasingly important due to Frankfurt’s steady growth: “Last year we had a net influx of 13,000 newcomers to Frankfurt. Although the Brexit conditions are still being negotiated and there is still a lot of uncertainty regarding the outcome, one can already notice an increase in demand because of the Brexit.,” reports Hart. Currently, the most important thing is that growth in Frankfurt is managed appropriately. Traffic, schools and kindergartens as well as living space must be developed accordingly. But Hart is very confident that “the right course is being set in the Rhine-Main area at the moment”. After all, the region has gained a great deal of quality of life over the past 30 years and much has been done right.