Before I met my German husband, the only thing I knew about Germany was Oktoberfest and World War II. As we got to know each other, I learned a bit more–Germany has the best economy in Europe, it has a woman chancellor, women can take two years of maternity leave, checks do not exist, education is free for everyone, and there are no speed limits in some sections of the Autobahn. But even knowing these and other things didn’t prepare me for actually living here.
I moved to Germany in late 2012 and I’m still learning about German life. Most of my knowledge is incomplete since I don’t have a job and my husband handles the financials. My experience is also limited to the small town I live in and my husband’s family, but I think it’s pretty accurate overall based on articles and books I’ve read from other foreigners living here. So I wanted to write a series to educate people into what it’s like to live in Germany and the challenges foreigners face when moving here. I’ve also shared some quirks and idiosyncrasies of Germans and fun things to do.
Your Germany Survival Guide
In order to survive in Germany, you have to learn the language. Learn what makes the German language so difficult.
Finding a job in Germany is critical for success, but first you need to learn about the German job market and how to apply.
Learn about things to keep in mind when renting an apartment in Germany: no built-in kitchens, having to clean the hallways, and more.
Buying groceries in Germany can be scary. Learn 7 survival skills like having one Euro on hand for the cart and rushing to keep up with the cashier.
Recycling in Germany is easy once you figure it out. The only challenge is how to keep it all segregated!
German food is not only Sauerkraut and sausages. Learn about staple foods, like bread and cake, to the craziness of Wurstsalat and Mett.
Germany is known for its beer but it’s coffee Germans can’t live without. Learn about typical drinks, like wine and sparkling water.
Christmas in Germany is full of tradition, like Advent and Christmas markets, as well as lots of sweets and hot drinks, like Glühwein and Feuerzangenbowle.
Learn about 4 things that make German birthdays unique.
Learn about 4 things that make German weddings unique.
Learn about 6 of the most important New Year’s Eve traditions in Germany.
Learn why Germany ranks as one of the most family-friendly countries in the world.
Learn how to prepare for the Carnival season and how/where to celebrate