Moving To Germany From America
What’s your name?
My name is Bree. I am from Arizona.
What brought you to Germany and is this your first time in the country?
My husband and I have been living in northern Germany for a little over a year. I am American and he is German. We moved to Germany so he could be closer to his family. This is my second time here. After we first got married, we spent our honeymoon in Germany.
How does an American who plans to live in Germany for an extended period of time go about getting a driver’s license or local government-issued ID?
I was able to get my permanent residency card after 6 months of living in Germany. The process of getting an ID differs depending on the reason of coming here. My reason was my marriage to my German husband so that allowed me to start the immigration process. You must first state your reason/show your visa for living in Germany and then you must enroll in language courses. Once I tested out of the first language course, I was able to receive my permanent residency ID.
Which parts of the country have you visited and how easy has it been to travel back and forth?
We haven’t had the time yet to do as much traveling as we would have liked. We have visited in and around Hamburg and we have also visited Frankfurt. I never used public transportation in the States, so it is a little confusing for me to get used to all the different train and bus lines. I am not yet completely comfortable traveling throughout Germany without pre-planning and mapping out all the routes I need to take.
(Aerial view of Hamburg, Germany)
For many people looking to move to Germany getting a job is a top priority. What ways can they find a job there?
Finding a job can be difficult because the education system in Germany is very different from that in the States. If someone has a degree and has started their career before they come, they can have it checked and work in the same field. If you don’t have a degree you can start with applying for an ausbuildung, which is a sort of internship where they give you on the job training.
What kind of industries or occupations would an American most likely land a job in if they are looking to work in Germany?
It depends on their prior education and job experiences. I have found that employers are interested more in prior experience.
How would you compare the workplace in Germany versus what you’ve experienced as an employee in America?
In some areas, certificates in Germany are very strictly required. This may be harder to come by as an American. An example is health care. For other areas, job experience is the most important.
Have you had any difficulty getting access to healthcare and finding a good doctor and dentist?
I haven’t needed to find a doctor yet in Germany. I still am covered through American insurance, so for special cases I need to go back to the States. Insurance in Germany is in generally a lot easier to come by. If you have a job, health insurance is paid through your paycheck. If you don’t have a job, the government pays for mandatory health insurance. Dental is usually not included in health insurance, only check ups.
What do you miss most about being in the States?
The thing I miss the very most is my family. It is very hard to be away from them so much and miss all the big things. This is a point that everyone knows about, but always underestimated how hard it can be.
I also miss American Soda… especially Dr. Pepper! I miss the big ice cold drinks you can find at the gas stations. I also miss the fast foods/restaurants. Germany has some amazing foods and restaurants but they are lacking in the super fast food you can just run out and pick for cheap. In the US, it is normal to go out to eat on most days of the week, in Germany, most people will only go out about once a month or less. It would make me so happy if a Chipotle could open up in my town!
What kind of perception of America, and Americans, do the Germans that you’ve met have?
Germans have always been very nice to me. They may not smile at you as you walk by but they always stop to help if you ask. I’ve also often gotten the impression that Americans are very passive aggressive in normal conversation and wont tell you what they really think. I’ve also been told that Americans exaggerate everything to the extreme.
If you had a friend planning to spend only 24 hours in Germany, what would you suggest that they see or do?
Germany has a lot of history. In every German town, there is a market place with beautiful old buildings and old churches. There are town centers in every city with several old cobblestone streets shops to visit. If someone had only 24 hours to spend in Germany, I would tell them rent a bike to ride around the city and explore. There are also many family friendly large parks to explore and enjoy the nice weather. In Hamburg, you could check out the city hall and get lost shopping while walking down all the streets in the city center. Germany also has very beautiful modern buildings, like the Elphilharmonie in Hamburg or the World War II memorial in Berlin.