Living in Germany: Top Reasons why it's Perfect for Internationals

Bas Teunissen

Updated on Aug 02 • 8 minute read

So, you’re thinking about studying or starting your career in Germany? I’m not surprised you decided to see if Germany, out of all European countries, has what you’re looking for. What is it like to live in Germany, you ‘re wondering? Fortunately, HousingAnywhere knows a thing or two about what your life in Germany could be like, so let’s take a look at what we think are the top reasons to live in one of the most important countries of the European Union. We’ll discuss top reasons why we think Germany is the place to live, namely: the people, the structure and stability in the country, the high standards of living and the opportunities the country offers expats and international students like you!

The German people are easy to warm up to

What are the German people like?

Stereotypically, the Germans are portrayed as strict, precise and without a real sense of Humour. While rooted in truth to some extent, it’s mostly a case of getting to know the people, especially outside of formal situations. If you’re from a more laid-back culture, the Germans’ directness and fondness for rules, structure and time might come across as blunt or even rude. So, when you’re moving to Germany, it’s all about what you say, rather than how you say it.

At the same time, this directness will make it very easy for you to know what you’re up against. For example, asking someone ‘how are you’ will get you a sincere, truthful answer, as your question will be taken at face value, rather than smalltalk. At the same time, making a commitment, for example agreeing to meet at 13:00, means you actually have to be there at that time. In fact, you’ll make more friends showing up early. If you’re going to be late, even if it’s only by 10 minutes, it’s considered polite to let your meeting partner know in advance. Entschuldigung! (sorry).

Unlike English speakers, Germans have a specific mode to express a formal or informal manner of addressing your conversational partner. Sie, is formal, and used to respectfully address anyone older than you, or someone in a higher position (such as your boss, or authority figures like the police). Du is informal, and can be used for friends, children or people your own age. If you’re not sure which one you should use, simply use Sie. When making friends, just let your new German friend take the lead in whether you’re ready to switch to Du.

Don’t worry, It’s not all straight-edged stoicism. By finding some middle ground, in an informal situation, the Germans open up quite easily! As a result, you’ll rarely have to worry about fake smiles, because Germans simply don’t have time to fake a friendship. If you make friends in Germany, you can be sure that you can count on them! The same is true for the opposite; if a German doesn’t really like you, they won’t make an effort to pretend that they do. So, try to be as genuine as possible and you will be just fine.

So, the German people themselves are definitely a good reason to move to Germany!Also, yes, many Germans do, in fact, love their Bier und Bratwurst very much. Prost!

Germany offers structure and stability

What is it like to live in Germany?

The aforementioned fondness for rules, structure and precision results in a country that can pride itself as the economic engine of the European Union. Germany is also one of the safest countries in the world, ranking #2 as “extremely efficient” in the Corona Safety Ranking (DKV.global, 2020). Beyond the virus, Germany ranks #20 out of 163 countries as one of the safest countries in the world, trailing slightly behind countries like Belgium and Ireland (GFmag.com, 2019). Of course, some neighbourhoods in big cities might not be as good as others, but there are plenty of German cities that offer the quality of life you’re looking for.

A large contributor to these numbers is the fact that Germany has a highly developed infrastructure system, as well as an efficient government and law enforcement system. While petty crime like pickpocketing and theft are still common, actual violent crime is quite rare. Unlike in Countries like the US, the public’s relationship with law enforcement is positive and respectful. Additionally, corruption levels are low, the streets are clean and the job market is robust, leading to a strong basis for a stable society.

In general, while people lead as busy a life as anywhere else, Germans like their peace and quiet. Rowdy behaviour is usually saved for football matches, Oktoberfest and other festivals. All in all, Germany is a country where you can find both the fast city life or the quiet sub-urban experience, all from a position of safety, security and stability.

In short, the country's safety, highly developed infrastructure and robust economy allow Germany to offer you a very stable reason to move to the country.

Germany provides a high standard of living

Is Germany a good place to live?

The German and European economy, as well as the cultural preference for rules, paperwork and an overall being of orderliness has resulted in a high standard of living. German salaries are quite solid, allowing anyone with a full-time or even a part time job to make a living quite comfortably. To give you an indication, even interns at German companies are paid a proper wage so they too can meet the standard of living.

Groceries are quite cheap, meaning that other Europeans close to the German border often make the trip to save some money on groceries and gas. German healthcare is, for a large part, a state-run collective system, of which most salaried emplyees are a part of. This system essentially guarantees that everyone has access to healthcare with only a minor contribution, a major indicator that the standard of living in a country has reached new heights! Renting is quite common in Germany, and as a new expat in the country, will take up a chunk of your income. That said, the rise in rental prices in a city like Berlin have already been curbed. This so-called Mietbremse is now in place to protect tenants from further crazy rental increases.

Car ownership is quite common in Germany (maybe because of the Autobahn?), though you can get around quite easily without it. While cycling is not as popular and in the Netherlands or Denmark, a bike is a cheap and efficient way to navigate the German streets. Alternatively, the larger German cities offer an efficient public transport system that will get you anywhere you need to go in no time. Even in smaller towns, there will be at least an affordable bus- or train system to rely on.

In short, the combination of a relatively high income, social security, healthcare and readily available transportation is what makes the standard of living in Germany so attractive to those coming from abroad.

Germany is great for English speakers

How is life in Germany without speaking German?

Moving to a new country can be scary, especially if it’s a country where the language is not at all similar to your native tongue. So what is Germany like for those who don’t speak German? Actually, it’s not so bad. In the major cities, most Germans have at least a rudimentary understanding of English. English is taught in German schools, but is not as well ingrained as in for example the Netherlands. This might be due to a decreased amount of influence from tv, as to this day, many shows that are originally in English are still being dubbed into German. So, despite its increasing focus on internationality, the German language is valued greatly. As a result, it’s easy to score points with the locals by at least trying to learn and speak their language if your stay is more than a few months. Besides, that’s half the fun of living abroad, anyway!

Either way, your English won’t completely let you down during your stay. For example, most German police officers will be able to speak English to some degree, especially in major cities or when attending (international) music or sports events. Larger cities like Berlin or a financial hub like Frankfurt further increase your chances, as they see larger volumes of english speaking tourists or have a more international business related population.

If you want to score those points mentioned earlier, there’s no better place to learn German, than Germany itself! Classes are quite affordable and widely available, so there’s almost no reason not to give it a decent try. Just make sure that you tell your German friends or colleagues that you’d like to practice, otherwise you run the risk of having your German efforts greeted with your partner switching to (nearly) fluent English. Besides, building up a sufficient level of proficiency in the German language will further improve your job prospects in the future.

Expats have great opportunities on the German market

Can I find work in Germany as an expat?

Germany is known as the economic engine of the European Union. In fact, it’s one of the top 5 economies in the world! Despite the Corona-crisis, there is still a demand for highly skilled workers in nearly every industry. If you’re from the EU, you don’t even really need a permit to live and work in Germany, so if you find a great career opportunity, you should consider it seriously. Salaries are relatively high, the quality of life is great and the work-life balance is good, so it could definitely be your expat dream come true.

As discussed before, your English will get you quite far in Germany. Next to that, there’s an array of large international companies that rely on English-speaking staff for you to choose from. Is English also your second language? Don’t be shy, because knowing an extra language besides English can only further improve your job prospects!

Germany is a high tech country, so your skills as an engineer or IT expert will take you a long way. As an industrial powerhouse, the automotive industry is one of the driving forces (sorry) for the economy. As such, there’s always a demand for science, data and manufacturing savvy jobs. If you’re from outside the EU, it will help to have a job lined up before applying for a visa. In fact, your new boss might be able to help you facilitate your visa request in the first place.

Germany is hungry for international students and interns

Does Germany teach academic courses in English?

Up until Corona came along, international mobility was at an all time high. Now that the world is slowly recovering from the virus, international students are once again dipping their toes over the borders. With Brexit still in the rear-view mirror and an outstanding response to virus containment, Germany has become an interesting destination for students and interns from across the globe. This interest has not gone unnoticed by the Germans, as they are working hard to meet the expectations of international students as one of the top 5 study destinations in the world.

Attracting and retaining talent is important for most of the best developed countries in the world, and Germany too has taken measures to make itself more and more attractive. As a result, more and more universities offer courses in English, as well as the student housing sector running to tailor their housing to the needs of incoming students and expats.

The German education system is of very high quality. This, paired with affordable fees for foreign students at public universities, the proper treatment of interns in German businesses and a large, stable knowledge hungry economy, Germany is really a place where an ambitious international student can build a life for themselves.

So, whether you’re here for the people, the education or your career (or all of them), Germany is a land of opportunity where you can make the most of your talents!

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