Most of what you have read and heard about studying in Germany seems to give reasons to consider studying there. Who doesn’t want a tuition free quality education in one of the largest economies in the world?
Germany is a beautiful country with a vivid and interesting culture. But, it may not be the right fit for some people. There are certain characteristics that will make your stay in Germany a horrible experience. We will examine some of these characteristics in today’s post brought to you by After School Africa.
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Before we begin, I would like to say that, this video is not meant to discourage you from moving to Germany. For some people, these points below may be good reasons to go to Germany.
- You Don’t have a thick skin
Are Germans rude or just direct? This question has troubled many visitors and expat. If you are from a country where people mind their words so as not to hurt others feelings, you may find Germans’ directness rude. Foreigners frequently complain about unfriendly bar and restaurant service.
Germans do not like Beating around the bush. They are very direct and it sounds really rude at times. It is easy to feel uncomfortable with this kind of approach, especially if you come from a culture where euphemism helps communicate uncomfortable messages. If you can’t take this blunt and direct attitude, better not move to Germany.
- Great customer service means everything to you
Customer service is not particularly bad in Germany. But, if you have a really high expectation of being treated as a customer, and believe that the customer is always right, you are sure to be disappointed.
You might feel like being a customer should make you a top priority. But, right when you ask for the check at the restaurant, the waiter might feel like it is time to take a break and go for a smoke. Good luck if he comes back under ten minutes.
Having high expectation in a place where businesses operate with the attitude that you are being done a favor by being served, can contribute to a cultural misunderstanding that makes the problem even worse.
- You do not like paying high taxes
Germany’s strong public services, employee protection, health service and welfare state come at a huge cost to the people. Taxes here are some of the highest in the world.
While the salaries can be lower than in the USA for doing the same job, the taxes are higher Germany. 33-40% of your income would be eaten up by taxes. With those earning a little over €52,000 paying up to 42 percent income tax, on top of social security payments and a 19 percent rate of VAT. Professionals should be ready to say goodbye to around half their paycheck.
It will interest you to know that you are not going to get filthy rich by working in Germany. You may find your mandatory social security contributions costing more than your rent. So do not move to Germany unless having strong social security and healthcare is more important than piling up money in the bank.
- You can’t deal with the language barrier
Mark Twain wrote in “The Awful German Language” that a gifted person should be able to learn English in 30 hours, French in 30 days and German in 30 years. Ok, that’s exaggerated. But German’s long compound words, complex sentence structures and tricky grammar can be a big challenge for English-speakers. While a new language can be an adventure, those shy of juggling datives and genitives or memorizing the genders of vegetables might want to steer clear.
Most Germans would be comfortable trying to understand your broken German. They would be glad that you are trying to learn the language. But, at times, some people would straight up refuse to speak with you in English. Even though they might know English. If you despise this, you will be very disappointed in Germany. Also, every official document is in the German language. So unless you are willing to learn German in long-term, it may not be worth moving to Germany.
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- You can’t handle the cold and gloomy weather
While summer days are warm. The German winter days are long and notoriously cold. Temperatures will hit minus 10 degrees Celsius and stay there. But on the upside, the continental weather system also leads to hot summers. There is on an average, about 119 days of sunshine every year across Germany.
- You detest Bureaucratic Paper Work
Germany may have a reputation as the land of efficiency, but it comes at the price of mounds of paperwork. Everything from opening a bank account to buying a mobile phone requires pages of documents – all signed in triplicate. This policy can be infuriating to foreigners used to filling out their forms online. If you can’t deal with this, you want to reconsider moving to Germany.
- You love to keep to yourself
Germans are very community-minded and shirking social duties can get you into trouble. In many apartment buildings, each flat gets a “sweeping week” when it is their turn to clean common areas and even the pavement outside. Anyone missing their turn can expect some dirty looks. In some cases the management can even fine you for recycling wrongly. If you keep to yourself and don’t like living by a lot of extra rules, choose your home carefully.
- Terrifying myths appall you
If you have children or are afraid of nine-foot shaggy-haired goat demons, be wary, especially at winter time. According to legend, at advent, the Krampus (a yeti-like creature with big goat horns) steals naughty children and carries them off in a sack to his mountain lair. Traditionally young men dress up as the Krampus from early and costumes can be fairly convincing. Don’t like this sort of story? You can either get over it or stay away.
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- You don’t like carrying Cash
Germans hate debt. And German consumer debt is notoriously low. This translates into why and how Germans use cash; they simply find it easier to keep track of spending when they use cash, according to the ECB.
Anybody used to wielding a wallet full of plastic-cards should take note. Many shops in Germany only accept payment in cash. And offering a debit card will often just get you a dismissive shake of the head or directions to a cash point. While ATMs are plentiful, almost all charge some fee. In fact, the only place to withdraw cash free is through your own bank. So you have to get used to carrying a lot of Euros.
- You can’t live without TV
Everybody knows Germany is a land of cultural excellence, home of Goethe, Brecht and Beethoven. But anyone moving here will find television just doesn’t measure up. While the USA and UK make global hits like Breaking Bad, and Game of Thrones, German TV schedules are dominated by formulaic cop dramas and awful soaps. So if you are a television addict, you better find an alternative.
- You are strictly religious
If you are a strictly religious person and are not flexible in letting go some conservative belief, you may have a lot of unpleasant surprises in Germany. If your religious belief is strictly against alcohol, non-vegetarians or going nude in public, you’ll likely experience uncomfortable and awkward moments from time to time. Beer is a major part of German culture, there is a nudist movement in the country (yes, some Germans love to get naked in public). To avoid this sight, you’ll have to stay away from certain places.
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Not to say that you should not follow your religion, but if you can’t laugh off some things, it’s going to be difficult. It is also very easy to mistakenly eat or drink something which is against your religion. You might eat a chocolate or a cake, to later find out that it has alcohol in it; or eat some dish only to later realize there was meat in it. If you can’t leave with that, don’t move to Germany.
In conclusion, When in Rome, do as Romans do. If you are not open minded to reconsider certain aspects of your culture, you are going to have a hard time in Germany. The more you adapt, the more homely you feel. Regardless, Germany is a great place to go to if you are willing to learn. So do you still want to move to Germany for study or work? What fascinates you about this country? Let us know in the comment section. If you are yet to subscribe to After School Africa, now is a good time to subscribe. Until next time, YOUR SUCCESS MATTERS!