Biggest challenges when one moves to Germany

Platz der Republik Berlin Germany

Have you decided to move to Germany? If so, hopefully your papers are all ready, the flights are booked and your bags are packed. There’s a certain excitement as well as anxiety, of the challenges that lay ahead. Here we will try and list a few of the biggest challenges, that you might face, when you move to Germany.

Housing in Germany

One of the hardest challenges currently in Germany is finding accommodation. If you are moving to one of the larger cities of Germany, then be mentally prepared for an uphill journey, on this front. We have covered this topic, in another article, on how to successfully apply for an apartment, do go through it here. Keep your options open, and look even in the suburbs. The public transportation system in Germany is really well-developed and super efficient and no matter where one is located, in a short span of time one can be in the city centre.

Bureaucracy in Germany

Paperwork is another big challenge when one moves to Germany. As a principle, Germans love making and sticking to laws! They have an inherent need for things to be in order and hence procedures are laid out, for almost everything. And the thing is, that they will follow all these procedures. First of all, you will have to learn two complicated, but crucially important, German words – Anmeldung and Sozialverischerungsnummer.

Registration (Anmeldung)

The Anmeldung is an official registration of your residential address in Germany. After you have found your apartment, make an appointment at your city’s registration office(Bürgeramt) first. It’s likely that you will have to wait a month or more for your appointment, but unfortunately, you have no choice: without an Anmeldebestätigung(registration form) you will not be able to get a residence permit, get health insurance or open a bank account. If you would like to understand this a bit more in detail,then read here

Social Security Number (Sozialversicherungsnummer)

The Sozialverischerungsnummer is your personal social security number, which proves that you make contributions to Germany’s pension and health insurance schemes. Generally, Sozialverischerungsnummer( social security number) and the SteuerIDnummer(Tax ID Number) are issued by the Government, and sent by mail, to you, after you have received your Visa/work permit. You need to hand these over to your employer, as on the basis of these, the employer will be able to register you for your contributions and taxes etc.

German labour market competition

Germany has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the world currently and is one of the most desirable destinations for highly-skilled immigrants. Also, the work-life balance in Germany is unmatched across the globe. These factors explain the high level of employment competition here. It may take you considerable time to find a job in Germany, so the best option is to do a little homework. Do research on the German labour market within your professional niche, outline companies you would like to work in and polish your CV. Try and reach out to these companies via Linkedin etc. You can read about how to apply for jobs in Germany here.

Another important aspect is to make sure that your educational qualifications are recognised in Germany, by Government agencies. This is pretty straightforward and can be done so online.

Learning the German language

If you are fluent in English, you might not face too many challenges, in the big cities of Germany. Most Germans start to learn English at a primary school level although you might encounter hesitancy in speaking English (which could be for multiple reasons). There are many jobs, which can be applied for with even a basic level of German knowledge. Also, in multi-cultural cities such as Berlin, which also is a start-up hub, a lot of companies’ work culture is in English, but the downside is one might get stuck in the trap of- I don’t really need to learn German.

But if your plans go beyond living and working in the country only for a few years, then having good command of German will make your life significantly easier. Beyond navigating through your daily life in shops, restaurants and on the street, almost all bureaucratic paperwork is conducted in German. Also if your long term plan is to live in Germany permanently, then you will have to show your language knowledge to the authorities, to apply for a Permanent residency. And remember, the best way to master German, is to move to beautiful Germany and indulge in its culture. And if you would like to learn the language online, then Babbel as an online school is quite popular and the recommended.

Cultural differences in Germany

There are a lot of stereotypes attached to Germans, some popular ones being – “Obsessed with order”, “arrogant”, “cold” and “too direct”.

Yes, German people value their time and appreciate business planning and perfectionism at work. Yes, they love order and tend to structure things. Yes, they are direct and don’t indulge in sugar coating. But try to change your point of view – these people drive one of the most developed economies of the world! Open yourself up to a brand new world!!

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