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Germany vs. USA: 7 Different things about Living and Studying in these Countries

Whether it’s to study abroad, vacation or to immigrate, Germany and USA are often compared against each other. The US has the largest economy in the world while Germany holds the fourth position. But it will interest you to know that the cultures of these two countries are totally different – in some cases, directly opposite. While you will find the ‘go getting’ attitude in the US; the German culture is more ‘laid back’.

In today’s post, you will learn 7 different things about living and studying in US vs. Germany. This post is brought to you by After School Africa. If you are new to these posts, welcome. We aim for all-round education of young Africans. Consider joining 20000+ others in subscribing to AfterSchoolAfrica on Youtube to continue exploring opportunities and watching videos like this one below:

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Let’s begin…

  • Transportation in USA vs. Germany

In the US, not having a car is a huge disadvantage. Its vast geography and lack of good public transport requires people to own a car. Also cheap fuel makes owning a car much cheaper.

In Germany, and most of Europe, cities are closely knitted. This means that you can easily walk or bike to close supermarket to buy your groceries. Also, the high cost of insurance and fuel elopes many people from owning a car. The excellent public transport infrastructure lets you get to where you want quickly.

  • Education in USA vs. Germany

Education in the USA is expensive. While the USA is host to one of the most prominent universities in the world, the cost of tuition can run really high. One can go to a bank for a loan to fund their education. But repaying a loan is not as easy.

Education is mostly free in Germany. Unless you are looking for an MBA degree, you would pay almost nothing but minimum contribution every semester. Though many universities do not match up to infrastructure and marketing of their US counterparts, German universities are by no means less competitive. Universities in Germany are largely focused on research and specialization.

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  • Healthcare in USA vs. Germany

There is a lot of debate over healthcare in the USA. A short stay in the hospital can cost you a fortune even with a good health insurance. It is widely believed that big pharma and insurance companies lobby the government to see that the policies are mended in their favor.

The German healthcare is not perfect either. Yet it is far better than that of the USA. Germany is one of the few countries with Universal healthcare. The health insurance companies are largely non-profit and run by the government. Most often than not, a trip to the hospital would cost you little money. In some cases, you will be paid ‘Krankengeld’ (Sickness fund), which is compensation for loss of income while you are sick.

  • Salary and taxes in USA vs. Germany

This is where the USA takes the baton. The salaries in the USA tend to be pretty high and lower taxes. The highest sales tax in the USA is under 10% and most US states have lower taxes than that. Also, cost of living can be relatively lower when compared to similar cities in Germany. Overall there is more money in the bank at the end of the month.

German salaries are often as much as half of that in the USA. Income taxes and social contributions would bite a huge percentage off your salary. The sales tax is 19%, which is double what you get in the USA. Overall, you get less money in your bank at the end of the month. On the bright side, the well established social security system will keep you from going bankrupt when things get tough.

  • Homeownership or Renting in USA vs. Germany

As mentioned before the US culture breeds on ‘go getting’ attitude. The most prominent symbol of being successful is to own a home. A house in the USA can be a bungalow in Germany. It does not come as a surprise that home ownership in the USA is almost 60%. The tax laws favor home ownership and mortgage is easy to obtain. Combine that with high salaries, it becomes comparatively easier to buy a home in the USA.

Germans prefer renting an apartment over buying. The homeownership in Germany is about 40%. The houses are also usually small when compared to US. One reason for that is, Germans prefer not getting into debt. In German, the word for debt is ‘schuld’, which means ‘guilt’. The second reason is that mortgage is more difficult to obtain and requires a pretty high down-payment. Also, the German tax laws do not favor homeownership.

  • Work ethics, weekends and vacations

For the most part, Americans take pride in working hard and long. Not taking vacations and working long hours is a sign of dedication towards the American Dream. Americans have the lowest paid vacation in any of the modern industrialized nations.

In Germany, working on weekends is often discouraged. The Friday afternoon is meant for a beer with colleagues, Saturday is to run errands and Sunday is family time. Taking time off work is also encouraged as it is believed that a frustrated worker means lower overall productivity.

  • Freedom and patriotism in USA vs. Germany

In most parts, Americans pride themselves on being a land of free; be it freedom of speech or the second amendment. Most Americans believe any restriction by the government is a breach of their freedom. Americans are also one of the most patriotic people too.

In Germany, the expression of patriotism is often conservative. It is hard to find anything with a German flag on it. If anything, Germans pride themselves on efficiency and productivity as their national identity. The restriction on freedom of expression is felt to be necessary by the people to maintain law and order. A few things which seem very common in the USA, are unimaginable in Germany. The only time you can see German flags outside houses and on the cars is during major football tournaments.

Do you agree with these points? Between the US and Germany, which country will you prefer to live in? Tell us why in the comment section below. If you are yet to subscribe to After School Africa channel, now is a good time to subscribe. Until next time; YOUR SUCCESS MATTERS!

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