Moving to Germany comes with many benefits and opportunities for expats. Having the largest economy in Europe combined with a high-quality standard of living, thousands of expats and students move to Germany every year. Knowing how to get around, how to act and what to keep a look out for will help you go a long way in Germany and in this article, you can find five essential tips, expats can utilise.
1. Knowing a little German can go a long way
In Germany, one can find many different types of languages from Arabic to French and Spanish. Apart from that a vast majority also have a decent understanding of the English language, making it relatively easy for expats to communicate, even if they do not know German. With that being said, knowing the basics of the language can be a really great advantage. The more you know German, the easier it is for you to get along in your daily life and is also very likely to help you for work purposes.
Many people get discouraged when asked to learn the German language, but many forget that the English language is a Germanic language. This makes learning German even easier that it sounds or looks, and many German words are similar to English. It is recommended that you start learning the basics of the language before your move to Germany and there are ample ways to do this. You can attend a course or even learn it online.
2. Cash is Crucial
In Germany cards, cheques and online payments are not used that frequently as in other countries. For the Germans, cash is the way to go. Many service provider companies, restaurants and small vendors do not have card machines; therefore, it is always recommended to keep some cash on you. Another tip is not to rely on ATMs as you might not find one in your vicinity or be charged a fee for taking out money. An alternative to cash is an EC card with is similar to debit card, but for Germany.
3. Keep up to date with Train Tickets
When you are in Germany, you will see that there are no security personnel checking your tickets to enter the train stations. Regardless of this, ensure that you always purchase and validate your tickets correctly, as occasionally ticket checkers randomly pick out trains to check and if you will be caught with an unvalidated ticket, you will be given a hefty fine.
The Germans surely can be proud of their recycling and Germany is one of the top countries known for its contribution towards the environment. Apart form all the positive benefits recycling has for the environment, people actually get paid for recycling. As one can imagine, this motivates many people to recycle and the more bottles you recycle, the more money you get – up to 25cents per bottle. You can find recycling machines at almost all of the larger supermarkets.
5. Sundays are not for Shopping in Germany
Unlike many other countries that leave Sunday as shopping day, in Germany this differs. Make sure that you have anything you need to purchase before Sunday, as traditionally, all shops, supermarkets and stores do not open. You might find some small mini markets open, however, the majority will be all closed. On the other hand, restaurants and cafes remain open all weekend.