Disclaimer: Hello there, I would like to share my personal experience but my writing skills are not impressive at all so please ignore the style I present but concentrate more on the information. These are all based on my personal experience. Don’t want to argue or take responsibility. I intended to motivate our new students for better opportunities. I did not mean to hurt anyone, by any mean. If I did unintentionally then, I am sorry and ignore this post.
Life in Germany
Since I graduated and had Internet access, I am a member of this group. Like many of you I wanted to go to USA and had better life. But I was too lazy (still I am) to prepare for GRE and write mails to professors. And trust me at that time, when I was jobless and just finished my graduation, did not had the money or easy internet access (in 2010) compared to this day. I took the easy way, choose for Germany. Since end of 2011 (almost 7 years) I am living in Europe, more precisely in Germany. And to be honest I came here without knowing where I am going, had no idea about Europe or Germany, even I knew only two person before getting my visa.
Like everyone I was always confused, if I were landed in correct land. But after living in Germany and hearing from my friends, colleague and my personal Visit in USA, I can give you some points to compare. Hope this will help those confused people like me, who hasn’t good CGPA and no wish to sit for GRE. I hope to give the information to those who is leaving Country now and have better knowledge and chance to do something.
→ In general Germany have a good educational system, especially for the engineers. They maintain at least a minimum standard of education and they are forced by education ministry to hold it. All the Universities have industrial collaboration with famous German companies.
→ The education is free for all (except some recent change in one state. They did such change before and could not hold it because people did not like it).
→ Germany don’t have any ranking system for universities, therefore your potential employer will not put any weight from where you studied. They focus on what you learned.
→ You will get comparatively better accommodation with affordable rent from student dorm and the food in canteen is also cheaper.
→ They have extremely good health insurance for student. A student will pay almost (1/10 th of original price).
→ University will provide a transport facility for you which will cover almost a complete state.
→ And all of these facilities have been subsidies or supported by the government. In normal condition you should be able to hold a nice living standard within 400 -500 euros.
→ You will be able to get Student job in universities, different labs, companies and in worst case some job which is not related to education (People love to call them Odd jobs). You can get up to 800 euro from these jobs. I personally worked in couple of labs at the same time with different Professors and were not hard at all to find or get them.
Getting first Job:
→ In Germany, After your Master/study, you get 18 months job search visa. During these 18 month you can do any job to maintain your living expenditure and find job.
→ Even in some case, if you need support for financial insolvency, state will help with your Housing, food, transport, contacting with companies to provide you an appropriate jobs.
→ If you need some vocational training or language training, they will arrange and pay for those.
→ They have the policy, to ensure that you get ready to get a job and introduce you to the trainer.
→ They even pay for your, house relocation for getting job in different city, for document certification (very expensive in Germany), Ticket price for JOB interviews, printing CV, internet cost and many more.
→ The level can be understood from an example: One of my flat mate, did not had any professional photograph for CV or profile. He talked with his mentor and they organized that for him, free of cost. They want to make sure, you become an asset for them.
→ When you get a JOB in your field, they will give you directly a new residence permit Normally Engineers get huge salary in Germany, which allow them to get a special residence permit (EU BLUE Card) from the very first day. You don’t have to go through any lottery or magical system.
JOB Market, wage and work life balance:
→ In Germany, currently the unemployment rate is too low (less than 4%- including current refuges ).
→ So not getting a job is mostly your personal failure (personal opinion).
→ According to statistics they need huge qualified employee now, especially for engineering sector.
→ To ensure the living stander they don’t allow to work with low wages. They maintain minimum wage regulation.
→ Moreover, as they have huge need for good engineers, you can reach around €100K gross salary within 5 year of job experience in Germany.
→ German Work life balances very nice. They cannot push you to work more. The normal work time is 40 hour per week. You can make hardly 10 hours more with extra payment or vacation. If you cross that, and insurance get this information, they will make the employers (not you) life very hard.
→ New German law, even allow you to take one year off from your job. Which means you will not work but still the employment contract will be valid. This is meant for the family to spend more time together. Or you can choose two years time to work only half of the time.
Permanent residence or German citizenship:
→ Mostly German engineers are treated as highly skilled employee, therefore they receive a special residence permit, EU Blue Card (based on salary). This card allow you to get permanent residence in 21 months (with basic German Knowledge) or maximum 33 month (without any German knowledge).
→ Getting German citizenship is much more easier. If you have a good job (which is more likely), learn basic German (Not rocket science) and studied in Germany, you can get German passport from 6 years.
→ Al these are your legal right.
Bringing spouse to Germany:
→ If you have a Blue card, you can bring your spouse within 3 months. Your spouse wouldn’t have to learn German for coming to Germany in that case.
→ He / she will be allowed to work from the very first day and get each and every facility which you got as a student or getting as an employee. e.g. The federal employment center will help her to get a job for her profile, will pay for her language, skill development and so on.
→ Germany have a very nice and strict health insurance policy. Every citizen must have a mandatory health insurance.
→ The insurance policy is family friendly. Which means, what you paid before your spouse or kid were here, will be the same when you have spouse or 5 kids (!). You don’t have to pay more.
→ The price is one certain percent of your income, if you earn less, pay less, if you earn more, you will have to pay more (!)
→ If you are job less, then state will take care of it.
→ Your employer will have to pay certain portion of it too.
→ Germany maintain a social security structure which makes sure that each and every member of your family get the basic needs i.e. housing, education, food, medical facilities.
→ There are strictly maintained laws which make sure that you get each and every social right as a German citizen. – lesson from Second world war.
→ There are NO way to tolerate social discrimination. They ask you to make sound if you face any.
→ NO Practical experience yet.
→ Your child will get all kind of education free of cost, from school to University
→ Even they will get some pocket money (! will come to your pocket first)
→ If your income is insufficient the state will take care of the kids need.
Work life balance:
→ Personally to me, this is the best part of German life. You can have 30 paid leave .
→ You can have flexible working hour. This allows me to start at 9:30 to 10:00 am
→ If you work more, you can take day off or cash those hour.
→ You can take parental (and maternity) leave.
→ Every month you can take 3 days sick leave (without prove).
→ And up to 6 weeks sick leave with prove.
→ You are allowed to take leave if your kid is sick and you need to take care.
→ Allowed to bring kid in office (limited) if he/she cannot stay at home alone.
→ In one statement, “TOO GOOD”.
→ No one have to think twice to go out at 3:00 clock at night if you need to have a walk, or have a long drive, or a fresh coffee or coming back from work.
→ I agree there were some minor issue after the refugee first came in but now the situation is good again.
→ Extremely good public transport, they make sure even every village have some public transportation.
→ In big cities or populated areas, you would never need to get a car or driving license.
→ During the weekend they provide public transport whole night, even after Party you can reach home very safely.
→ So far I gave only the positive side of German life, but this might be the only negative side which will most of you will point out and use as one and only excuse.
→ I do agree it is a new language. But trust me it is very much possible to learn it. Personally I learned it in 6 months intensive training. I know a lots of people who did it.
→ There is a saying which I believe, „There is no free meal”. If you want to get something you have to do something. And when you can have all these opportunities you should take this step.
→ I can assure you, if you want and feel the need it is possible to learn the language during your two year master.
So to me language is not an excuse, I learned it for my need. Now to me it is just a language, a diversity not a barrier.
“Change your perspective, you will get a new and better life.”
In short these are very few major points which made me convinced that Germany could be the land of my next generation. I would recommend the new student who is desperately looking opportunity for USA, jobless in Bangladesh or even not happy with their life in USA, should try Germany.
I am pretty sure you won’t be disappointed.
Mit freundlichen Grüßen,
Asgar Hossain, M.Sc. (Uni.)
Senior Software Engineer
Advanced Development Engineering
Delphi Infotainment & Driver Interface Europe