There are a lot of things to consider when moving to another country. If you’re thinking of making the leap and moving to Germany, here are some things that I wish I had known before I moved.
First off, learning the language is key. German is not an easy language to learn, so start studying now!
Another important thing to keep in mind is that Germans take their time with everything – from planning a leisurely afternoon walk, to getting dinner ready. So be prepared to relax and take things slow once you make the move.
Finally, make sure you get involved in the local community and meet new people; they’ll help make your transition smoother and more enjoyable. If you’re thinking about moving to Germany, there are a few things you should know first. Here are 10 of the most important ones!
Is Moving to Germany a Good Idea?
Yes! Here are a few reasons to consider moving to Germany:
- Germany is a beautiful country with a rich history and culture
- It is also a land of opportunity, offering good salaries and a high standard of living
- Germany is home to many world-class universities and research institutes, making it an ideal place to further your education or start your career.
- The German people are friendly and welcoming, and you will quickly feel at home in this vibrant and cosmopolitan country.
So if you are looking for a new place to live, work, or study, Germany should definitely be at the top of your list.
Still thinking about moving to Germany from USA? Sign up for German lessons as soon as you can so you’ll have the words you need to express yourself once you get there.
Here’s a video with some fun tips for learning German:
Moving to Germany Checklist
Are you moving to Germany for a job, a significant other, or simply a change of scenery? Whatever the reason, moving to Germany—or any foreign country for that matter—is downright terrifying.
Not only are you away from your closest friends and family, but you’re living in a country you know little about.
Sure you’ve read all the travel books and even learned some German, but nothing can prepare you for the adventure in which you’re about to embark.
Lucky for you, we’ve interviewed several expats who’ve made the brave move to Germany and asked them what they wish someone would have told them before moving to Germany.
Here’s the helpful advice they had to share.
1. Learn the Language Beforehand
“In Germany, German is taught German to German, unless you get a private tutor. I would advise taking a course in your own country to get a base,” says Adriana Kroeller of Changing Plate.
There are many different ways in which you can learn German, whether you choose in-person or online lessons. Whichever you choose, it’s important that you learn some basic German before your big move to help smooth the transition.
2. Everyone Rides a Bike
In Germany, the preferred mode of transportation is biking. In fact, Germany ranked amongst the top five EU countries where people cycle most, according to a survey. When asked what mode of transportation they use most often, 8% of the 27,000 people surveyed in the 28 EU Member States answered ‘bicycle.’
Each town, city, and state has different laws concerning bicycles, and laws are strictly enforced. So before moving to Germany, it’s might be a good idea to brush up on the biking laws in the area in which you’ll be moving.
3. Most German Stereotypes Aren’t True
“Despite their reputations for being cold, Germans are usually very helpful. You just have to ask. I was very shy when I first arrived, and I think that made things much more difficult,” says Jennifer of American Faultier.
While Germans aren’t ones for small-talk, they are actually quite friendly and willing to help. Therefore, don’t be afraid to ask questions—no matter how mundane they may seem.
4. Kiss Your Sunday Routine Goodbye
In the U.S., people will spend their Sundays checking off the many tasks on their to-do lists, such as mowing the lawn, vacuuming the house, and going grocery shopping.
In Germany, Sundays are Ruhetag or “day of rest.” Neighbors are expected to keep quiet and all grocery and other retail stores are closed with the exception of churches, Biergartens, and gas stations.
5. Learning German Isn’t as Easy as You Think
“I think the one thing that would’ve saved me a lot of tears and frustration is if I had realized that stumbling your way through basic social interactions in German is an expat rite of passage. Fluency will take a lot longer than you think,” says Caitlin Travis of Life as an Auslander.
“In my experience, Germans know how hard their language is and they’re more than happy to slow down, listen patiently, and help you fix all your grammatical mistakes. They appreciate your effort.”
6. Start Your Search for Accommodations Early
It can be difficult to find inexpensive accommodations throughout Germany, especially in the major cities like Munich.
“There are lots of things that surprised me about moving to Munich, for one it’s not at all easy to find somewhere to live, it can take months. If you are moving here with a company life’s a lot easier if you find a relocation agent beforehand,” said Emma of A Bavarian Sojourn.
“Munich is popular for a reason, it’s a great place to work, but even better to live. Where else can you find a city with so much on its doorstep?”
So, before moving to Germany it’s important to start your search early on. If you want to be extra cautious, you might even want to find accommodation before you arrive in Germany.
7. Germans Can Be Very Direct
“There are tons of things I wish I knew before I moved to Germany. The biggest, however, would have to be researching a bit more about Germans themselves. There are a lot of ways Germans carry themselves and act, which for me was a bit shocking in the beginning. For example, almost all Germans are very direct when speaking with or about something/someone,” said Derek of The Migrant Expats.
“See we Americans are raised in a culture filled with sugar-coated statements that only hint at the truth, especially when talking about something we dislike. The Germans are the complete opposite. This isn’t to say Germans are intentionally mean. Rather quite the contrary. Being unabashedly direct is considered polite and is just a cultural difference. I still find myself getting offended every now and again, but honestly, I’ve gotten used to it…for the most part.”
8. Germans Take Recycling Very Seriously
Germany is Europe’s leader in all things green. Residents are very vigilant about recycling their trash—so much so that they might give you a dirty look if they catch you placing a plastic bottle in the wrong bin.
There are tons of recycling rules that can be confusing for newbie recyclers to understand. So be sure to acquaint yourself with the all of the guidelines. And when in doubt, just ask your next door neighbor!
9. The Paperwork
“I wish I’d known more about the bureaucratic process that one needs to follow upon moving to Germany. I naively thought that once my visa was approved, that’s all I’d need to do. I had no clue about having to register your address with the bürgeramt to get the official paper that allows you to open a bank account, get a cell phone contract etc.,” said Cheryl Howard of cherylhoward.com.
10. Germans Are Proud of Their Culture
Whether they’re from Munich, Berlin, or Hamburg, Germans are extremely proud of what region they come from and uphold long-time traditions.
“What’s one last thing you should know that I perhaps love about this area the most? How proud Bavarians are of their traditions, much more so than we Brits,” said Emma.
“Here everything is celebrated from bringing the cows down from the mountains at the end of the summer, the bier, the harvests, spring, and of course the glorious Christmas markets. And a lot of the time they dress up to celebrate – tracht isn’t just worn for Oktoberfest!”
Moving to Germany From USA – More Tips to Follow
As an American moving to Germany, there are a few other tips you’ll want to follow as you prepare for the change.
Sort Out Health Insurance
Making the switch from US health insurance to German health insurance can be a bit confusing, but it’s definitely worth it to be properly covered while living in Germany. There are a few key things to keep in mind when making the transition.
First of all, most Germans have health insurance from the government, so you’ll need to find a provider that suits your needs.
You will need to switch out from your health insurance in the US, so contact them early to find out what the requirements are. You may also be required to provide proof of residency in Germany.
Manage Your Finances
Managing your finances while living in Germany can be a challenging but rewarding experience. With a few simple steps, you can enjoy all that the country has to offer while staying within your budget.
First, it is important to familiarize yourself with the cost of living in Germany. While it is possible to find relatively inexpensive apartments and food, other costs, such as transportation and entertainment, can be more expensive. By understanding the average cost of living in Germany, you can better plan your budget.
Next, it is crucial to create a realistic budget. When planning your budget, be sure to account for all of your income and expenditure categories, including rent, food, utilities, transportation, and entertainment. Once you have created your budget, stick to it as closely as possible. This will help you stay on track financially while living in Germany.
Finally, do not forget to save for unexpected expenses. No matter how well you plan your budget, there will always be unforeseen costs that arise. By setting aside money each month for savings, you can ensure that you have the funds available when needed.
By following these simple tips, you can successfully manage your finances while living in Germany.
Figure Out How You’ll Get Your Belongings There
Moving to a new country is always a big undertaking, and there are a lot of things to think about.
One of the most important decisions is how to get all of your belongings to your new home. If you’re moving to Germany, there are a few different options to choose from. You can ship your belongings by sea, which is the most economical option but can take several weeks. You can fly with them, which is faster but more expensive.
Or you can drive them, which is the fastest option but may not be practical if you’re moving a long distance (or, of course, if you’re moving to Germany from the US). Whichever option you choose, make sure to plan ahead and allow plenty of time for your belongings to arrive.
Find a Job
Moving to a new country is always a challenge, and finding a job can be one of the most difficult parts of the transition. If you’re looking for work in Germany, there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of success.
Start by doing some research on the German job market and familiarizing yourself with the common interview questions.
Next, create a strong CV and cover letter that emphasize your skills and qualifications. Finally, reach out to your network of contacts, including friends, family, and former colleagues, to see if they have any leads on open positions.
By taking these steps, you’ll give yourself a much better chance of landing a job in Germany.
Enjoy the Public Transportation – and the Education System, Too
The public transportation and education system in Germany are both excellent. The public transportation system is clean, efficient, and affordable, making it easy to get around the country.
The education system is also top-notch, with many German schools ranking among the best in the world. In addition, the German government offers a number of programs and initiatives to help students succeed. As a result, Germany is an excellent place to live and learn.
Get Ready for Shorter Working Hours
One of the first things you’ll notice when you move to Germany is that the workweek is shorter than what you’re used to. The standard full-time workweek is usually less than 30 hours, and many Germans also take advantage of the country’s generous vacation entitlement to take several weeks off each year.
This can be a bit of a shock for those coming from countries where the workweek is 40 or more hours, but it’s one of the many reasons why Germany is such a great place to live. In addition to having more free time, Germans also enjoy greater job security and better working conditions.
So if you’re looking for a country where you can really enjoy a good work-life balance, Germany is definitely worth considering.
What is the Cost of Moving to Germany from USA?
There are many factors to consider when determining the cost of moving to Germany from the USA. The first is the cost of transportation.
Depending on the amount of belongings you have, you may need to ship them by boat or plane. The cost of shipping will depend on the size and weight of your possessions.
Another factor to consider is the cost of housing. In Germany, rents are generally higher than in the USA, so you will need to budget accordingly.
Finally, you will need to factor in the cost of living. In Germany, food and other essentials are generally more expensive than in the USA. However, there are ways to save money by shopping at discount stores and comparing prices online. By taking all of these factors into account, you can develop a realistic budget for your move to Germany.
Is Moving to Germany DIfficult?
Moving to Germany–or any foreign country–can be extremely stressful. Follow the advice above to help make your move less strenuous and more enjoyable.
Moving to a new country can be both an exhilarating and daunting experience. If you’re preparing to make the move to Germany, or are just curious about what it’s like, we hope that this list will help make your transition smoother. Be sure to ask your German instructor for tips on making the move, too!And don’t forget, if you ever have any questions or need advice, our community of expats is always happy to help out! Are there any other tips you would add for people moving to Germany? Let us know in the comments below.