There are many pros and cons living in Germany compared to the USA. As an American living in Germany, you will find that there are differences from life in the states. Through our many moves, we’ve heard back from our customers on some of the things they would have liked to know before moving. To help with acclimating to German life, we’ve compiled the major distinctions from expats in Germany.
Check out our article on the pros and cons of living in Germany below!
Living in Germany: The Pros and Cons Disclaimer
To start off with the pros and cons, it is important to understand there are differences throughout Germany. Just like any other country, areas are different even though it’s the same country. Living in Berlin will be different than Hamburg, Munich, Bremen, etc. For this reason the differences in Germany vs US are broad and may not apply to everywhere.
Language in Germany
A very clear distinction from the US is that people in Germany speak German. Though you can get by with English in many areas, it is still best to learn German. You will find the native Germans will treat you much better when attempting to speak the language rather then make them speak English.
- Get by in many areas with just English
- Opportunity to practice new language
- Some areas only have German speakers
- German is one of the more difficult languages
Money in Germany
When living in Germany, the main way you will pay for goods is through physical Euro. Card transactions are somewhat complicated in the country. Now some purchases are mandatory to pay in card, while some places are impossible to pay with card. This means you should always carry Euro on you to make sure you’re prepared. Though there are abundant ATMs with fair exchange rates to use.
- Abundant ATMs so easy access to physical cash
- Euro is one of the most common currencies
- Not all places take card so you need to carry Euros
- Need to start banking there to avoid all the fees
Expat Communities in Germany
With the increasing amount of Americans living in Germany, many expat communities are growing here. Expat communities are great when you first start to live in the country because you have life from USA in common. To find these communities people generally use groups in Facebook or local meetup websites. Many groups have local events which makes it easy to meet in real life. Also all major military bases in Germany have large expat areas around them.
Expat Communities Pros:
- Finding expat communities helps ease into the country
- Easy to find with website connections
Expat Communities Cons:
- Relying too much on expats won’t offer a full experience
- Still need to go out of the way to meet expats
Food and Drink in Germany
For many, the food and drink in Germany is one of the main reasons to live here. Famous dishes like schnitzel and bratwurst are popular among locals and travelers alike. Fresh baked bread can be found in almost every town and you must try the classic pretzel from its origin. When talking about drinks, everyone knows Germany is famous for its beer. The drink is so popular, people choose to drink non-alcoholic beer when they can’t drink the regular version.
Food and Drink Pros:
- Regarded as some of the best food and drink in the world
- Germany has a diverse range of national dishes
Food and Drink Cons:
- Heavy focus on bread and meats
- Not as much diversity as the USA with global foods
Service in Germany
Americans should be ready for a drastic difference in service in Germany. Many Americans complain about the service since it is not as good, but it is important to look at the reason first. In America, the serving culture has tips and are very attentive. In Germany, servers are paid more wages and don’t expect tips. They aren’t as attentive, so you should be ready to waive them down if you want service. Also, the the language used can seem rude, but they are really just straightforward.
- No tipping so prices are what you see
- Servers will leave you alone unless you need them
- You need to waive servers down if you need anything
- Straightforward language can seem rude
Rules in Germany
Germans are more strict about rules and laws than Americans. Even small infractions such as jaywalking will get you in trouble, so you better be prepared to follow the rules. The rule keeping does help make towns peaceful and very few people go against these norms. Something else almost all Germans observe are closed shops at 6pm and on Sundays. This means you better be prepared with food and groceries or you may not have something to eat during these times.
- The peace is very well kept in the country
- There is structure with norms regarding culture and law
- Germans frown upon actions that you may do in the US such as crossing the street unprotected
- Very few things are open past six PM and Sundays
Want to Live in Germany?
If you are moving or thinking about moving to Germany, we at Schumacher Cargo Logistics can help you out. With over 40 years of experience, SCL is the premier moving company to Germany. From cars to full households, we can ship your goods door to door from the US to anywhere in the country. There are more pros and cons to living in Germany, but we’ll let you experience the rest while you’re there.
To get started fill out our Online Quote Form or read another of our German guides below.