Apartment in Germany

5 ways to adjust to life in Germany

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After the excitement of moving to Germany as an expat wears off, the adjustment period begins—and this is when some new expats begin to doubt their ability to adjust to live in Germany. [Contributed by SMARTments]

1. Find furnished apartments in Germany to quickly call home

When moving abroad, there are plenty of hoops to jump through, paperwork to file and, of course, a life to pack into boxes. Finding an apartment in Germany to move into (and furnish) may be the least of your worries—and considering you are most likely unable to view any properties in person before the move, you may end up with unpleasant surprises.

The majority of expats move to large cities, such as Berlin, Hamburg and Munich, where housing has become scarcer thanks to a growing population. Furthermore, finding housing in Germany on your own as an expat depends on the individual situation: expats on short-term assignments may stay for just one year, which can be difficult to arrange as most rental contracts are in German and the average minimum length of tenancy is two years.

One study showed that nearly two-thirds of expats showed a preference for completely furnished apartments; while long-stay hotels may have luxuries, nearly 60 percent preferred apartments over all other options.

Serviced apartments in Germany, which are fully furnished apartments that feature hotel-like amenities such as housekeeping and laundry services, are rising in popularity for business travellers and even first-time but long-term expats. SMARTments, a provider of modern types of housing in Germany, offers serviced apartments in Berlin, Munich, Hamburg and more that take the hassle out of moving abroad. Not only are these apartments furnished, they comprise different amenities. The SMARTments business apartments provide regular housekeeping, for example, which leaves more time for expats to socialise. The service provides not only housing, but helpful information in navigating your new life in Germany.

2. Learn at least some German

Even though Germany is among the top ten countries most proficient in English, it is still helpful to learn German—and not only to be able to shop at the supermarket, but to feel a part of German society. One of the most challenging aspects for expats is learning the local language, and it’s understandable—there are other things on your mind, such as getting the utilities hooked up and adjusting to a new job. Expats can feel largely isolated in the first few weeks in a new country, and everyday tasks can become great hurdles. Even something as simple as getting a cup of coffee can become anxiety-inducing when you’re having difficulty making yourself understood.  

Immersion is often touted as one of the best ways to learn a new language, but expats should start getting acquainted with some vocabulary before the move to ensure they can read signs and feel comfortable accomplishing small, everyday tasks.

3. Find a support group of expats

While it’s important for many expats to integrate into German culture—and speaking the language is one way to do so—expats do need to feel supported and understood. Family members who have travelled along with you may be able to offer some support, but it is also helpful to have friends in similar situations to whom you can vent frustrations about expat life. Find other expats in Germany through one of the many expat meetup groups available online, or look where you live: if you have chosen to rent a serviced apartment, it is likely that there are other expats living nearby. 

Serviced apartments in Germany

4. Get used to the new (German) habits

As an expat, there will be many times you say, “But that’s not how we do it at home!” And while it’s good to hold onto your own culture, there are times when it’s best to do like the Germans do. For example, Germans tend to carry more cash on them, and use credit cards infrequently; about 80 percent of all purchases are made in cash, according to one report.

Traffic lights are also strictly obeyed, even for pedestrians—unlike other major cities such as New York where jaywalking is the norm, there is little jaywalking in Germany. There are many other characteristics and quirks of German life that expats must learn as they go along, but knowing the basics can minimise awkward or embarrassing missteps. 

5. Accept the uncomfortable moments and frustration

Adjusting to life as an expat in Germany is a journey, and it’s certainly not something that will happen overnight. Even if you do all the preparation, including getting your apartment squared away before arriving, learning a little bit of the language and getting to know the culture, there will be surprises.  Accept that you may feel uncomfortable for a little while—after a while, you’ll forget you ever had doubts about adjusting to Germany. 



Contributed by SMARTments


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