If you are thinking about moving to Germany, it may be interesting to know the positive and negative aspects of your move to this country, because living in Germany has pros and cons.
First of all, it is necessary to make a clarification, even in Germany there are differences between the north and the south. Southern Germany has a different culture than northern Germany to some extent. People from the south, such as Bavaria, are warmer than typical northern Germans. There is also a big difference between living in a multicultural big city like Berlin or Munich or in a small town in the countryside.
Germany is currently the country with the greatest job opportunities in Europe. There is no shortage of work, there is a merit-based system and salaries are very high on average. In the workplace you are respected and your needs are well taken care of. There is a satisfactory work-life balance. You work fixed hours and then have enough free time to spend with yourself.
When people work, they work hard, everyone knows exactly what they are doing and why, and that makes Germany one of the most productive countries in the world. German laws are very employee-friendly. There are strict rules that you have to follow in order to fire someone. If you lose your job, you are entitled to unemployment benefits.
In Germany, everything is planned in advance, and what is planned must be followed exactly, exceptions are not allowed. If a meeting is scheduled for 2:00 p.m., someone who arrives at 2:01 p.m. apologizes to the others. Planning and punctuality: two pillars you have to deal with if you want to live and work in Germany. Forget improvisation and flights of fancy.
Social integration in Germany is difficult, even with colleagues or neighbors. If someone lives with his family and meets with compatriots and is not interested in having local friends, he lives very well. Otherwise, it becomes difficult. I personally believe that social integration is the biggest problem for expats, with a few exceptions (Ireland, Spain, Scotland and a few others).
Germans are very nationalistic and prefer to buy products made in Germany. They regret it when they find out that the item they bought was made in China or in another country. There is latent racism in society and in the workplace. In many cities, it can be very difficult for foreigners to find housing in certain neighborhoods. In order to have a chance to integrate into the local community, it is necessary to learn German
As far as social life is concerned, it should be remembered that Germany is a large country and therefore there are considerable differences between regions (Laender) and within regions: between cities and rural communities. In the villages in the countryside, it’s closing time after 7:00 p.m.
Generally, restaurants close early in the evening. From Monday to Thursday, everyone goes to bed at nine. Work, home, work. On weekends, they go out to have fun (bike rides, picnics, swimming pools and beer with company). But forget about the fun and relaxing moments in company during the week.
The rules must always be followed, no matter what they are. If you ride your bike on the wrong side of the bike path or run a red light, people will look at you disapprovingly. If your son is playing at home and making a little noise, the downstairs neighbor will remind you of the rules and tell you, “You are not in your country.” If you have a party in your flat with friends, expect the police to knock on the door.
But if you follow the rules, no one will bother you. Consideration is given to everyone, for example, the bus or streetcar driver will come out and help disabled or elderly people get on. If you want to learn discipline, Germany is the right country.
The cost of living is quite expensive on average, a lot depends on the region, for example Munich and Bavaria are very expensive. Also, there are products that cost a lot (fruits, vegetables), others that cost less (meat, milk).
The bureaucracy is efficient. Public offices are fully functional and work well. However, if you do not know German, it can be difficult to talk to the employees. The judiciary functions well. The courts are very efficient on average.
Germany is really a safe country and you can walk the streets without much worry. Crime can happen anywhere, even in Germany, but the crime rate is low.
In Germany it is compulsory to have health insurance, which can be public or private. Most employees take out public insurance, which is paid for by the employer. It is enough that one spouse is insured and the whole family is covered. The private PKV (private health insurance) is more expensive than the public one.
However, private insurance offers more benefits, for example, privately insured people have priority when making an appointment with a doctor. With public insurance, you may have to wait months to get an appointment with a specialist, but with private insurance, you can get an appointment in just a few days.
The school system is excellent. Universities are cheap, tuition is very low and the level of education is very high. A big plus for anyone who wants to ensure a good future for their children.
Public transportation is generally punctual, safe and convenient. The road network is well developed and the highways are in excellent condition and free of charge.
The weather is a sore point. Winter is long and the weather is often cold and gray.
Germans love their country and environment and respect nature. The parks, lakes, forests are strongly protected and respected. Most German cities are clean and tidy. Public parks are everywhere.
Living and working in Germany pros and cons
Living in Germany, pros
- Good job opportunities and good wages
- High level of security and low crime rate
- Respect for people and for the rules
- Good services (transport, kindergartens, schools, health, etc.)
- Low level of environmental pollution
- High quality of education
Living in Germany, cons
- Cold, long and gray weather
- Too much planning
- Food not really good
- Social integration difficult
- Quite high cost of living
Living in Germany, conclusions
In Germany, there is security, peace of mind and, above all, work, which is the most important thing. The quality of life is high and quite relaxed. But the people are cold and closed. Germans are rigid and inflexible, they do not know what romance, style, elegance and joy of life are. If a life without sun, imagination and spontaneity is difficult for you, your life in Germany will be difficult. But if you are looking for a country where you can work and give a future to your children, Germany may be the best country in the world.
If you want to have all the information about working in Germany, I recommend you to read the article: Guide to Working in Germany
If you want to move to Germany, read the article: Moving to Germany