Moving to Germany
Moving abroad is difficult. There is so much to research, paperwork to fill out, and stuff to keep track of before you go. Moving to Germany is obviously no exception. In the months leading up to moving here, I had my fair share of scrambling to rush paperwork ahead of deadlines and wasting countless hours researching online.
The sheer amount or complexity of paperwork might intimidate you. Visa requirements and procedures might confuse you. And, of course, physically moving yourself and a lot of your crap to another country will be frustrating at best. Luckily for you, I’ve experienced that frustration already. I hope that my experiences can help you in your move to Germany, or any other foreign country.
This can be especially frustrating when you, far too often, fail to find a definitive answer out there. This often left me feeling, frustrated, helpless, and most of all, confused. My purpose here is to allay some of your fears. I want to clear up some all too common confusion. And finally, I want to stop you from getting too frustrated with the process.
Common Reasons for Moving to Germany
There are several reasons why you might be thinking of moving to Germany to study.
First, and probably most important, is that master’s degrees are often free of tuition or extraneous educational costs. The little fees that you do pay are not to the university itself, but to something called the “Studentenwerk”. The Studentenwerk is literally the student union. I mean a literal union of students, like a labor union.
However, these fees do vary from state to state and from city to city. It is definitely going to be cheaper than a master’s degree in the United States, though. Before all of you start talking about scholarships and working as a TA during your master’s, let me explain something. They have these sorts of funding schemes too, except instead of paying for your tuition, they pay you actual money. Money that you can spend on things. Money that you can spend on beer.
Second, Germany offers many degrees taught in English, something obviously necessary if you don’t have a mastery of a foreign language. Most of my professors are German but speak perfectly good English, with some odd quirks here and there. English degrees also provide another benefit, drawing in international students.
The German university system is very much like our system in the United States in this way. People from widely different countries across the world come to Germany to study. Universities here are more diverse and are stronger for it. The large international presence makes it easier for students from around the world to continue to study here. In general, we feel very welcome and well supported.
A third and major reason you might choose Germany over other options abroad is the rate of fluency, or at least competency, in English. This is important again for us English speakers, as it really helps us during your early stages of learning German and settling into life here.
If you don’t know how to express yourself in German, normally you can switch to English. Most everybody under 40 will understand you and be able to speak English with you. Actually, German people often ask me to critique their English once they hear my native accent.
Posts on Moving to Germany
I’ve set up this page as a launching point for anyone interested in moving to Germany. On this page, you’ll find links to my posts filled with the knowledge I’ve gained and experiences I’ve had while moving here. You’ll find information on some of the most important topics related to moving to Germany, and lots of posts answering frequently asked questions.