5 Things No One Tells You About Moving to Germany
As culture shock goes, moving to Germany shouldn’t be too much of a change for anyone from a western country. Germany is a clean, efficient nation with a strong economy and impressive infrastructure, with one of the highest standards of living in the world. Cities like Berlin are energetic and cosmopolitan, filled with all the commodities you’re used to—plus it’s in the center of Europe, offering fast and easy flights to virtually anywhere in the western hemisphere. However, there are a few things that prospective emigrants don’t realize about Germany before they move there. Take these pieces of advice into account so you don’t get blindsided by the culture and lifestyle in Germany.
It gets very cold in the winter. Germany isn’t stereotypically known for its harsh, cold winters, possibly because other aspects of the country overshadow its weather. But their winters are indeed as cold as areas of Russia and Eastern Europe, and they last from October to April. So make sure you’re stocked up on woolen clothing, snow boots, and a heavy coat because you’re definitely going to need them!
Go green. Unlike most areas of the United States, recycling in Germany isn’t just a nice thing you can do for the environment; it’s your civic duty. Upon moving into a flat, you’ll receive a calendar marking the days of the week for recycling cardboard, glass, plastic, compost, and so on. Some areas even weigh your non-recyclable waste and fine you if it’s too heavy, which will be a good exercise in reducing how much you consume.
Be punctual. Germans are famous for their punctuality; commuters grumble if the early morning train is even one minute late. Hence, if you are late to meetings, either for business or social, it will not go over well with your German counterparts.
You Will Earn Less At a Job Than You Would in the United States. Most Americans consider Europe as a place where minimum wage is higher and the worker is treated well, but a lot of your salary will be going towards taxes. You and other residents of Germany will get this tax money back by way of infrastructure, universal healthcare, and so on, but still it’s something to keep in mind.
Yes, the Beer Really Is That Good. Germany is famous for its craft beers, and for good reason. Germans are very proud of their beer culture; they drink it in enormous, one-liter steins and it’s even legal to drink beer in the streets. If you’re a connoisseur of good ales and lagers, Germany will be a paradise for you. (Public drunkenness, however, is not so much smiled upon.) If you don’t particularly enjoy beer, you’d better develop a taste for it, because cocktails can be expensive.
If you keep all of these in mind, you should have no trouble converting to your new Germany lifestyle. While most Germans will be able to speak a decent amount of English, especially in the cities, you will certainly want to learn a functioning amount of German before you go. Send us an enquiry for help finding the appropriate class for you, or take our free online German language level test.