Moving to Germany From India | Things you should know

This is the introduction of a new series of blogs where we will share more information about Living in Germany. So we are starting with our first post about Moving to Germany from India and will be answering in detail about the question “How to Migrate to Germany from India

Even though this blog says that it is for people coming from India most of the points used are suitable for anyone who is planning to move to Germany from their home country.

When I first moved to Germany for my work, I was overwhelmed because it was a new country for me and this was the first time I had set foot outside of Asia. I was happy that I got to come to Germany for work, but I was also a little scared for the first few weeks- no friends, a language barrier, and a lot of new things to learn.

I have been living in Germany for 5 years now. There are many good things and some great things that happened to me while in Germany; there are many things I like and some things I love; I meet a lot of new people and learn a lot of new things.

But, in this post, I will describe all the problems and cultural shocks based on either my own experience or those of my direct non-German friends and family living in Germany.

This post will address below Questions if you have

  • Things to know before moving to Germany
  • Can I move to Germany from India
  • What all things I should know before moving to Germany

Living away from Family and close friends

Moving to Germany From India | Things you should know | Chasing Whereabouts
Moving to Germany from India

Many foreigners, especially those from countries like India, are very close to their parents. After coming to Germany where you may have no friends, and very few people may speak your own language or understand your own culture, you may feel very very far away from your family and friends.

I started calling my parents very regularly, almost daily for the first few months. Some of my friends from India still talk to their parents every day, after 5+ years in Germany. No matter how cool the thought of studying/working abroad may feel, once you actually stay in a foreign location (especially if you have never wandered too far from home), combined with the stress of studies or job, it could start to take a toll on you emotionally.

For some others, this is the time when they experience Freedom – no direct interference from parents or relatives in their life.

Language barrier

If you don’t speak German, life will be difficult. If you live in a smaller city, simple German is needed at the very least for going to the supermarket. A strong command of the German language is needed for socializing with the locals. Many Germans can communicate in English, but you’ll have a hard time convincing them to do so, particularly if you’re in a group with a German majority.

If your course or work requires German, passing an exam might be more dependent on your ability to communicate in German than on the exam’s difficulty. If anyone at your workplace communicates in German, you’ll need to learn the language to be productive. The language barrier makes it difficult to communicate with and obtain assistance from non-English speakers.

Moving to Germany from India
Moving to Germany from India

Studying in Germany

Moving to Germany from India
Moving to Germany from India – Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

You will be responsible for coordinating your own research. In contrast to many Asian universities, there is no one to hold your hand and guide you through your studies. It is you, not the university, that bears the burden of learning. You’ll have to chart your own path and create your own goals.

On the one hand, passing exams in Germany is not difficult, but having a good grade can be challenging. Unlike in many other countries, where a good exam score can be obtained simply by recalling the textbook, in Germany, a good score requires a thorough understanding of the course content. If you don’t mind working hard and devoting time to fully comprehending each course (which will cut into your party time)

hen you can get top grades in Germany.
Many exams, esp. in higher education, are oral. For foreign students, especially those who have recently arrived in the country, and are not used to oral exams back home, may struggle much more than if they were taking a written exam.

Also, the lack of standardization of questions can lead to situations that may be perceived as unfair.

Finding Accommodation in Germany

Finding accommodation in Germany is another pain point because I remember when I moved to Germany I was not very informed and was just dependent on different websites where you pitch people in German and then you got a response.

I even went on to view an apartment where more than 50 people were coming to see that apartment.

Can you believe it?

It was not long before I got to know about Wunderflats which make the house search a bit easy when you are moving.

Because you don’t have to go through the hassle of finding the apartment as you would if you go through a standalone search or with agents.

I remember one of my friends who moved to Berlin last year initially booked an apartment from here for the mid-term and then changed it around 6 months later when he found something more suitable for him.

Moving to Germany From India | Things you should know | Chasing WhereaboutsMoving to Germany From India | Things you should know | Chasing Whereabouts

Working in Germany

Moving to Germany from India
Moving to Germany from India

The work culture in Germany can differ from that of your home country. Expect to have all of your work, including programs, plans, and so on, compartmentalized and thoroughly examined. Make sure you don’t take anything for granted. Always be ready to back up your ideas with logical and compelling proof. Simply put, be mindful of the present moment and complete the task at hand.

It is important to treat people with dignity. In Germany, titles and certifications are taken seriously. Unless otherwise guided, one should always address superiors with formal pronouns and titles (this does not mean a junior should be afraid to present his ideas to a superior). The emphasis should be on being professional and polite, with no equivocation!

Working in Germany may not be for you if you are most inspired by compliments for a job well done and can’t handle honest feedback and bluntness (this doesn’t mean people would make offensive comments; rather, there will be simple contact without euphemism).

Gifts, attempts at smooth-talking, and partaking can all easily backfire.

Although it is normal and usual for employees in other countries to ease into a business meeting with some small talk, this is not the case in many German offices. Small talk is unsatisfying and is thought to be shallow. In addition, one is supposed to keep his or her personal and professional lives apart.

Punctuality and following rules

Moving to Germany from India
Moving to Germany from India

Not all foreigners are obsessed with punctuality and following rules like the Germans. You may have to learn to be punctual very quickly.

Germans believe rules, regulations, and laws are meant to be followed. one needs to learn the expectations and then abide by them.

Nudity in Germany

Moving to Germany from India
Moving to Germany from India

It took me a long time to get used to this one. After arriving in Germany, I got a Gym membership and went to the locker room to change my clothes; a locker room full of naked dudes.

It was one thing when a female employee entered the Men’s locker room for cleaning in front of a bunch of naked guys, but it was quite another when a female employee entered the Men’s locker room for cleaning in front of a bunch of naked guys! Saunas with mixed genders (no swimsuits allowed) and sweaty naked people are also a shock!

Finding everything expensive

Moving to Germany from India
Moving to Germany from India

When new (especially when you don’t have a part-time job), many of us end up converting the German prices to our own currencies and comparing it to the cost of the same product back home. Esp. eating in restaurants or buying a bus ticket can be a big shock!

No domestic help

Moving to Germany from India
Moving to Germany from India

We are very used domestic help in countries like India. But here, You will have to do all the house chores on your own except if you are very rich and can afford to pay the high prices for hiring a maid or live in a hotel room.

For you explanation hourly rate of getting a maid is 25 Euro which is roughly like 2.2K INR.
Not only is it hard to do all household work, but you will have to balance your time to do chores with studying/working as well.


Moving to Germany from India
Moving to Germany from India

Living in Germany requires doing a lot of paper…. Contracts (and remembering to cancel/renew them on time) for internet, apartment, phone, etc., insurance paperwork, city registration, etc. They take valuable time and energy (and money in case if something goes wrong).

Appointments / Termin!

Moving to Germany from India
Moving to Germany from India

A need to take an appointment for many things which work without an appointment in other countries!

Shops closed on Sunday (and limited opening hours)

Moving to Germany from India
Moving to Germany from India

Shops are almost never closed in India and have long working hours. Most shops are closed in Germany on Sunday. Opening hours may be as less as 08:00 to 19:00 for shops in a smaller city or on the outskirts of a bigger city.

The directness of German people

Germans say what they mean and mean what they say. Germans do not use euphemisms to soften a message. Many foreigners may not be used to this and can feel insulted or offended.

Social Life

Moving to Germany from India
Moving to Germany from India

It may be hard to make friends or have a social life esp. if you don’t drink or don’t do sports or don’t have some hobbies that involve others (like board games).

Community feeling

So if you want to get the feeling of community and you are so much into that then this should be something you should consider before moving to Germany from India.

Some things that many people miss is the community feeling that you get when you are with the people that are from the same culture… the festivals, the events, the spirit for your own festivals and culture.

Now if you are living in any of the big cities in Germany then there is one Indian Festival/Events which happens yearly which you can enjoy and that is the best time to eat and satisfy your craving for Indian food and meeting all the people from India but then this opportunity is only available once a year.

Cost of Indian Food in Restaurants

Moving to Germany from India
Moving to Germany from India

Now this is something which I want to tell without hiding the fact, It is costly. If you are someone who can not survive without Indian food then you should learn that well beforehand of moving to Germany from India.

Because getting one course of Indian food in a restaurant is equivalent to buying a complete month of Indian grocery in Germany. So the choice is yours 😛

This was the first post in our series of posts about Living in Germany. Do tell me if you agree with the points mentioned in our list of things to know Before Moving to Germany from India.

If you are looking for further reading then you can try reading this comprehensive guide.

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