By Varun Mehta
As a person who has lived in GERMANY for 10 years, I can tell you what Germany offers and you can decide good and bad depending on your priorities. Germany offers the following:
- Its a Democracy.
- We have only 1 planet, so Environment is a priority.
- There is no conflict among political parties over scientifically proven facts like climate change and global warming. Everybody accepts these proven facts
- .Around 30% of all Energy is produced from renewable sources like wind & solar and is still on the rise .
- Eight of the seventeen operating nuclear reactors in Germany were permanently shut down following Fukushima in 2011. In 2011, Angela Merkel’s government announced that it would close all of its nuclear power plants by 2022.
- Plastic bottles are to be returned once used and all trash has to be separated in categories before putting in dumpsters for respective categories of trash.
- Germany has the highest Current account surplus in the world i.e. its earnings from exports exceed its expenses from imports.
- People don’t carry guns around. Probability of that happening is 1 in 3 million.
- People are learning slowly about foreign cultures, but are very friendly when you get to know them better. Contrary to International belief, I never came across a racist person during my long stay.
- Citizens vote for higher taxes, this enables country to give top healthcare to its citizens and also maintain good infrastructure. So, healthcare system is very efficient, you can visit doctor without worrying about huge bills as you already pay the insurance cost as percentage of your salary.
- Refugees are given refuge, if in genuine distress and are willing to integrate.
- Education is free ranging from School to University level. So, average German person is very well educated. Therefore, Students are debt free at the end of their university studies with degree in hand.
- Full-Time working hours are 35–40 Hours per week
- All Full-Time employees get 20–30 paid Holidays a year. Sick leave days might not have a limit if you have a prescription.
- Inflation is kept under check, so pay raises are low but stuff you wanna buy is still affordable.
- Maternity leave (12 months) and 2 months paternity leave are officially granted.
- There are 14 months of paid parental leave. However the 14 months can be divided as seen fit e.g. 7 + 7 months for each parent.
- There is no speed limit on Freeways as the roads are good and drivers are trained with long theory lessons and practical training until driving skill reaches adequate level. Hence there is no road rage.
- Super rich are taxed higher than low and middle income people.
- Unemployed citizens get unemployment allowance (including heating allowance and house rent) till they get a job.
- Govt offers Retirement allowance for retired people and veterans.
- Teaching good values to children is important, so people with Children never J-walk. That also goes for people who are standing next to people with children before traffic lights.
- Food Factor:
- Beer is the Best in the world without question.
- Though Italian and French wines are popular, German Gengenbacher wine from Blackforest is my all time favorite.
- Bakeries are the best as well.
- Everyday food in canteen/mensa is normally Italian and French stuff plus some salads. You always have to do a little bit of research before you find a place that serves authentic German cuisine.
- German Football team is best from my personal perspective as they are A REAL TEAM and not a cult formed around a star player.
Limitations in Germany:
- Though the new generation speaks English, language of communication in most work places is majorly German.
- This is not a limitation for local professional working locally. However, it might limit the ability of German professional to market his/her skills at global level. Skills of German professionals can help the entire world but lesser knowledge of English limit the possibilities of International cooperation.
- High Skilled professionals who are looking to migrate to Germany must consider learning German or migrate to some other country which has more familiar language as the basis. As except for the startups or few companies/industries, German is first language at workplace. This might slow down their career growth if they fail to learn the language.
- For closer integration in German society you get better and faster response if you know German. Unless people know the language, life can be comparatively difficult. Since, I knew the language it was fairly easier for me to get everything organized & get cooperation as compared to other people with same nationality and economic standing.
- As Germany is slowly opening to attract foreign High-Skilled professionals as it is required due to economic reasons, the language situation is slowly changing but it requires time. Government offices in the city of Düsseldorf have adopted English as official language and the new generation is adopting English as the second language in schools but the overall transformation will require more time.
- Rules are governed by institutions & organizations and therefore are very rigid. Rules might ignore genuine trouble of some people from time to time and may seem illogical.
- Local Trains and public transport as well as the ticketing system are managed differently by each city in a different way, there is no standard best practice.