Germany is a beautiful and fascinating place to live. If you enjoy taking long walks through romantic cities, sipping coffee at picturesque cafes, enjoying a tall beer and Bratwurst with friends, perusing old shops and bookstores, and viewing beautiful European architecture from cobblestone streets, you will be quite happy here. That said, moving to Germany can be quite an adjustment. Here are some tips to help make the transition smoother.
Learn at least a few key phrases in German.
This is good advice for anyone relocating to any place where a foreign language is spoken. However, people in Germany tend to be very reserved. The simple attempt to speak German is much appreciated, and will likely earn you a friendlier response from locals. German is a notoriously difficult language to learn, and it may take some time to get a real handle on it. However, just learning the basics such as, “where is . . .” “how do I . . .” “please help . . .” and even, “I don’t speak German well” can be lifesavers in the first few weeks.
Sell your electronics.
Voltages and outlets are different in Germany than they are in the United States. It’s probably easier to sell your lamps, radios, computers (unless you have a laptop) and DVD players and buy new ones when you get to Germany. These items are not expensive in Germany, and buying them will save you the trouble and expense of buying converters.
Find a place to live ahead of time.
It’s wise to secure housing well before you arrive. One way to do this is to put the word out to anyone you know with German connections, that you are looking for a place to live. This is surprisingly effective. Another is to visit Germany a few months ahead of time to find housing. Rental homes and apartments aren’t advertised in Germany as openly as they are in the U.S. Realty and apartment location services are expensive in Germany, but the expense may be worth it if it means you don’t have to worry about where you will land when you arrive.
Expect to save on housing.
Rent is surprisingly affordable by American and Canadian standards, especially in smaller cities and towns.
Expect to pay high taxes and earn lower wages.
While residents in Germany enjoy universal health care and a wealth of other government-afforded benefits, they do pay high taxes for the privilege. Expect taxes to be a considerable part of your living expenses. In addition, wages tend to be lower in Germany, so unless you have secured a position with your current company and you know you will be earning high wages, you can expect to be paid a bit less in Germany than you might elsewhere for the same job.
Save money for home furnishings.
While finding a furnished home in Germany is not impossible, it isn’t likely, either. You are much more likely to find a home without kitchen appliances and furniture, and possibly without closets as well. Make sure you have money set aside to either purchase home furnishings or have yours shipped from home. It can be difficult to know where to go to buy the right items in Germany, and it may take a very long time for purchased furnishings to arrive at your home. The expense of shipping to Germany by your international moving company NYC may be worth the convenience of having everything waiting for you when you arrive.
Give yourself time to adjust.
Germany is a complex place to navigate. There are few one-stop shops, so you will have to work to find out where you can buy things like over-the-counter medicines, doctors, specific grocery supplies, tools, and any odds and ends you might need for your home. It is particularly hard to find your way if you don’t speak the language.
That being said, in larger cities, many Germans speak English and will be happy to practice with a native speaker. Also, there are many expatriate communities and businesses across Germany who welcome newcomers and are happy to give them helpful advice.