Living in Germany: a few tips for beginners
New in Germany? Check out what you need to know
If an adventurous move to the most organized and progressive country on Earth is waiting for you soon, you may ask yourself a question: “Is it hard to live in Germany?” The answer will be easier to find with our basic guidelines. Are you ready to learn more about the best places to live in Germany, the Land of Ideas (Land der Ideen)? In this guide, we cover crucial elements like housing, healthcare, and transport. We will refer to the questions about costs of living in Germany, obstacles and opportunities for newcomers.
Basecamp in Germany
According to the latest estimates, there are at least 117,000 citizens living in Germany from the UK. If you want to join your expat community, there are a few things to consider before starting your removals. Being one of the biggest national economies in the world, Germany is incessantly one of the most popular study and work destinations. This country is home to more than 400 higher education institutions and offers excellent teaching and research possibilities. Apart from hospitality, Germans are famous for their rich history, and love for art, food and beer. The cost of living in Germany vs UK is reported to be lower. All things considered, it is a perfect place to learn, party and explore. What are the best cities in Germany to live and work in? Basecamp dormitories in this country are located in:
Potsdam is a city which combines historical architecture and a unique academic atmosphere and is one of the best places to live in Germany for students. Not just due to its high-ranked universities, but also its perfect location near Berlin, astounding palaces, parks and lakes. Multinational companies that operate in Leipzig and rapid economic development make it a perfect place to start an international career. Dortmund is a modern and multicultural metropolis, full of innovative entrepreneurs. Thanks to its outstanding, advanced technological development in recent years, many cultural and educational institutions have their headquarters there. No wonder so many people from the UK choose to live in Germany in one of the Basecamp locations.
You may wonder about the average cost of living in East Germany for students. As far as Leipzig or Potsdam is concerned, it is cheaper compared to former West Germany or South Germany (Munich, Stuttgart), but at the same time, you have to be prepared for lower salaries. This doesn’t apply to high-class specialists, who are highly valued in every part of this country.
German language for students
German is spoken as a first language by over 100 million people and is used as a second language in many countries. It has a worldwide reputation for being hard to learn, but in fact, it is really not as difficult as many consider it to be. English and German belong to the Germanic branch of the Indo-European language family, so it is not a surprise that nearly half of the words in English are similar to those in German. If however, you find it too difficult to learn German grammar or pronunciation, don’t worry. It is estimated that approximately 56% of the population in this country speak English, and there are a lot of English-speaking jobs. Many large global companies are waiting for your qualifications, skills and experience. Moreover, Basecamp creates a big, international and friendly community in its dormitories, so don’t be embarrassed to use only English there. Living in Germany as a British citizen doesn’t have to be a struggle. There are a lot of learning opportunities such as language schools, courses, and tutors. After one lesson, you will know how to say I am 30 years old, or I live in Germany in German.
Entertainment in Germany
Typical German strictly adheres to the rules in the name of preserving order (Ordnung). It may therefore seem surprising, but Germans know how to have fun and enjoy life. The widely attended carnivals and festivals like Oktoberfest prove it to be true. Each year at the beginning of October 6 million tourists invade Munich to celebrate Bavaria’s traditional culture and love for the finest beers. Aside from the consumption of brewed beverages, there is a lot of live music, parades, and traditional German cuisine for 2-3 weeks.
How to live in Germany for a year and not be present at Rock Am Ring? It is the biggest and most widely renowned rock music festival in Europe. It is held in the racecourse Nürburgring and gathers all rock music royalty. If you are hooked on metal Rock, Punk, Indie and Alternative Rock, you can’t miss it.
Thanks to Love Parade or MayDay electronic music became increasingly popular in recent decades. All German music compositions are worth exploring, from classical and baroque to electronic dance music and industrial rock. The largest, diverse music and entertainment industry in Europe is drawing on the legacy of Johann Sebastian Bach or Robert Schumann, Beethoven but also a fascination for Tangerine Dream, Nena, Modern Talking, Die Toten Hosen, Rammstein or Scooter.
German cuisine is also widely recognized. They enjoy hearty, home-cooked, full of meat dishes such as Bratkartoffeln, Rouladen, Spätzle (German noodles), Schnitzel (chop) and sausages (Wurst). It is heavily regional and rich in culinary treasures like Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte, Apfelstrudel, Brötchen or Pretzels.
Standard of living
Compared to other European countries, the costs of living in Germany for a couple or a family are slightly higher in Germany than in the European Union. Living in Germany as a student will not cost you so much. The main living expenses in Germany are rent ranging between 290 and 560 euros per month and public health insurance (around €100). Provided your application is accepted, you won’t need to cover any tuition fees but be prepared to pay a semester fee to the university (€200 – €500) that covers tickets, academic services, equipment, technology and administrative expenses. Erasmus students however get the highest scholarship (around €500). If you are wondering if living in Germany as a student is a good idea, discounts on insurance, a ticket with unlimited use of public transport, 10-20% off in cinemas, theatres, shows, restaurants and museums may convince you. To sum up, the average cost of living in Germany for students is around 800-900 euros per month.
Germany is s world-renowned as a strongly urbanized, industrial country. Employment is growing steadily as well as the economy. The highest salary potential and the best job opportunities are in Berlin, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt and Hamburg. These are undoubtedly the best cities to live in in Germany because leading European companies are located there. If you are afraid of huge expenses, for the first few months the best choice is small German towns like Leipzig, Bremen, Kiel, and Osnabruck.
The cost of living in Germany post-Brexit didn’t change a lot. In Berlin, it is about 10-20% lower than in London. Electricity, mobile phone and healthcare as well as taxis and trains cost more, but prices of utilities, clothes and groceries are comparable. Hotels, restaurants, alcohol and public transport are significantly cheaper. At the same time, salaries are 12-25% higher than those in the UK.
Bad things about living in Germany seem to be overshadowed by fascinating culture, incredible food, beer, high-quality educational system, and career prospects. It really can be an unforgettable adventure.
Ready to give living in Germany a try?