How to Survive in Germany

How to Survive in Germany: A Series

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

Part 1: Learning the Language

In order to survive in Germany, you have to learn the language. Learn what makes the German language so difficult.

Part 2: Finding a Job

Finding a job in Germany is critical for success, but first you need to learn about the German job market and how to apply.

Part 3: Renting an Apartment

Learn about things to keep in mind when renting an apartment in Germany: no built-in kitchens, having to clean the hallways, and more.

Part 4: Buying Groceries

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.

Part 5: Recycling

Recycling in Germany is easy once you figure it out. The only challenge is how to keep it all segregated!

Part 6: Food

German food is not only Sauerkraut and sausages. Learn about staple foods, like bread and cake, to the craziness of Wurstsalat and Mett.

Part 7: Drinks

Germany is known for its beer but it’s coffee Germans can’t live without. Learn about typical drinks, like wine and sparkling water.

Part 8: Christmas

Christmas in Germany is full of tradition, like Advent and Christmas markets, as well as lots of sweets and hot drinks, like Gl├╝hwein and Feuerzangenbowle.

Part 9: Birthdays

Learn about 4 things that make German birthdays unique.

Part 10: Weddings

Learn about 4 things that make German weddings unique.

Part 11: New Year’s Eve

Learn about 6 of the most important New Year’s Eve traditions in Germany.

Part 12: Having Kids

Learn why Germany ranks as one of the most family-friendly countries in the world.

Surviving Karneval in Germany

Part 13: Karneval

Learn how to prepare for the Carnival season and how/where to celebrate