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Where to live Cologne

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Posted

Hi,

 

I have an interview on Sunday for a teaching position in Cologne. Before I decide if I want the job I am trying to find out some information. There may already be a similar post with my questions on somewhere but I haven't found one. If people just point me in the right direction rather than answwr my questions I would understand.

 

I am 31, male, and have a wife and two children, aged 9 and 7. We have lived our whole life in the UK, Newcastle. The gross monthly wage on offer is 3,311 euro's a month. Is this enough to support a family of 4. None of us speak any German, although we intend to learn very quickly so we would be dependant on my wage. The school is St George's School, Husarenstrasse 20,50997. We own our house, although still owe on our mortgage, in the UK and would prefer to buy in the long term but short term would probably look at renting. Based on my wage and where I would be working is there any areas I should be looking at to rent? Are there any good websites I should be looking at? If it means getting a nicer place to live I don't mind a commute. I currently communte 96 kilometers a day to and from work although I would prefer if this was reduced in Germany. What sort of portion of my wage should we be looking to put aside for rent? We are not extravagent spenders, we don't drink or smoke, but we do like to eat well and have family days out.

 

Other than those questions if anyone has any experiences of life in Cologne for and ex Brit I would love to hear from you.

 

Thanks for any information you can give.

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Posted

You're not a member of the International Schools Review and the TES website forums, are you...

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Posted

I am on Tes but not the other one. Is there information I should look at?

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Posted

You might find a lot of info on this forum also.

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Posted

Has anyone any suggestions of areas to look at within commuting distance that is suitable for families and affordable?

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Posted

Are you sure that you are going to be an employee?

 

Why do I ask?

Because we have seen cases of self-employed teachers at St. George's, see "Scheinselbständigkeit" and German pension system, and this would mean that you would have to pay (source):

 



  • the mandatory (mandatory for all teachers, even self-employed ones!) public pension contribution of 18.9% of your gross,
  • 15.5% health insurance
  • 2.05% nursing insurance

entirely out of your own pocket.

 

On the other hand, if you are an employee then your employer will have to pay half of them (except health insurance, there the split is 8.2% you, 7.3% your employer), so you would end up with more net income.

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Posted

It's difficult on a public forum to say what needs to be said, in case there is trouble. All I will say is do your research on the school first (from a teacher's perspective) before you even start to think about moving to Germany and all that enatils and then you can decide if it might work for you and your family.

 

Moving to a new country to work at a place you really know nothing about can be a huge gamble, especially with a family in tow. That's why there are online places for international-bound teachers to find out what they can from those who have done it before. Use them. Even then, it can be difficult to sort out the real stories from those of teachers who just have a knife to grind but most of the time, there is no smoke without fire.

 

Having said that, if you do decide to take the job if it's offered to you, renting is your best option and you will need to look on the left side of the river for a place to stay if you want to be close to work. It's not cheap and you will be looking for a 3-room apartment (2 bedrooms and a living room - other rooms do not count). Cost will be average between 700 - 900 Euros per month, including hot water and rates. Electricity extra. Add into that bills for telephone, TV, travelling to work and back, food, clothes, the usual (and your mortgage repayments), and you won't have much left from your salary. That rate you've been quoted is really low for a family for 4 to survive on, even with tax breaks and child allowances on top. I earn more than that and find it hard to save and there are only two of us in our household but it all depends on the lifestyle you lead and aspire to. You could survive on that amount but you'd have to be careful.

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Posted

Thanks, no I am not an nqt. Would it be cheaper to live outside Cologne and commute in?

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Posted

 

Would it be cheaper to live outside Cologne and commute in?

 

Depends on where you choose to live and the transport costs.

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Posted

HI there!

 

Best website to look for property is: http://www.immobilienscout24.de

 

I recommend to rent for the first couple of years .. you are more flexible and won't be tied down to a foreign country if things don't work out.

German apartments are quite spacious compared to flats in London...

 

I also recommend.. Ehrenfeld. I've just moved to this area a couple of months ago and I'm very happy.

It's convenient .. there are lots of cafes.. alot of young families.. and it's not too crowded.

I'm not sure how convenient the location is to where you will be teaching unfortunately.. I think it's about 30 mins drive.

 

You could alternatively try Airbnb.com in a few suburbs just to get a feel of the neighbourhood.

 

I'm sure the school with help sort out with relocation!

 

Good luck on your interview! :)

 

 

Hi,

 

I have an interview on Sunday for a teaching position in Cologne. Before I decide if I want the job I am trying to find out some information. There may already be a similar post with my questions on somewhere but I haven't found one. If people just point me in the right direction rather than answwr my questions I would understand.

 

I am 31, male, and have a wife and two children, aged 9 and 7. We have lived our whole life in the UK, Newcastle. The gross monthly wage on offer is 3,311 euro's a month. Is this enough to support a family of 4. None of us speak any German, although we intend to learn very quickly so we would be dependant on my wage. The school is St George's School, Husarenstrasse 20,50997. We own our house, although still owe on our mortgage, in the UK and would prefer to buy in the long term but short term would probably look at renting. Based on my wage and where I would be working is there any areas I should be looking at to rent? Are there any good websites I should be looking at? If it means getting a nicer place to live I don't mind a commute. I currently communte 96 kilometers a day to and from work although I would prefer if this was reduced in Germany. What sort of portion of my wage should we be looking to put aside for rent? We are not extravagent spenders, we don't drink or smoke, but we do like to eat well and have family days out.

 

Other than those questions if anyone has any experiences of life in Cologne for and ex Brit I would love to hear from you.

 

Thanks for any information you can give.

 

 

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Posted

Hi Chris,

 

Not only would it be cheaper, it would also be a lot easier to find a flat outside Cologne - or at least you'd be getting more for your money. The public transportation system is quite good and you can easily commute from places like Dormagen, Langenfeld or Leverkusen, which are a lot closer to Cologne than the 90+ km commute you have at present. Chewbacca already pointed you to immobilienscout24. You can compare rents in these places and see the difference in prices for yourself. For short term rentals, I can also recommend e-rent.de. I very much doubt that the school will help with relocation. I know major companies do, but I've never heard of a school doing that.

I'm not sure if you already had your interview yesterday, or if it's coming up this Sunday. Either way: good luck.

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Posted

Some schools do offer relocation help but not all.

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Posted

Hi, it was just an initial interview last Sunday and am now flying out today to have a final interview and observation lesson tomorrow. We have decided if I do get the job to go on my own initially. This means I can get a feel for the place and get to know whether I like the job. If everything is okay then the rest of my family will come over after 6-12 months. Being a teacher we get a few holidays so will come back as often as possible. What it does mean is that I am going to need a small, cheap maisonette/flat/apartment ideally closeby as I will not bother with a car. Just need one bbedroom.i could live further away as long as it's on the public transport route. Any ideas on areas?

 

Cheers

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Posted

I think it is a good idea for your family to wait until you've passed your probationary period before moving. If you take the job, would your kids be eligible for a tuition waiver?

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Posted

No, they would be educated in a german school. I have spoken to another teacher who works at the school who hss two children of a similar age and they are educated in a German school. He says they were fluent in German within 6 months and really enjoy it.

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Posted

I agree with Engelchen. The probationary period works both ways...Are they paying for your flights out and back, and your accommodation, for the interview?

 

Think REALLY carefully about whether or not to put your children in a German school, especially regarding your 9 year old as they are in a crucial period regarding the German school system. The teacher you spoke to had their own reasons for doing so (maybe their partner is a national?) and those reasons will probably not be the same as yours. Why would an international teacher not put their own kids in their school? Wonder...

 

If you are planning to stay in Germany long-term okay, but you will have to think about the whole bilingual thing then and it's not as easy as it sounds. Do you want your children to keep up their English skills? How will you plan to do this? And please do not believe that children can become fluent in German in 6 months. They can't (and the German teachers will not be backwards in coming forwards when telling you that...). It takes around a year just to get to basic communicative level; around 5 - 7 years to catch up on an academic language level. Read up on BICS and CALP (Jim Cummins). I've been teaching in international schools for over 10 years so I can speak from experience. Good thing to know about since, if you accept the job (which I don't doubt for one minute will be offered to you), you will basically be an EAL teacher besides whatever else you will be teaching. Also you will have to learn how to deal with the German school system. Another kettle of fish and loads of info on this forum about it.

 

If you want to look for an apartment for yourself in the short term, look here for something furnished:

 

http://www.e-rent.de/GEFSklass.asp?Language=En&Stadt=Koeln&aufoderab=&sortwert=4&Street=&GO=1&c12Zi=1&cSofort3=1&BeginPrice=&EndPrice=&Gr=&ANummer=&Ort_Strasse_box=ortsteil&Ortsteil_Exact=&StreetName=&radius=250m&sortwertOpt=4

 

Do a search in the areas closest to the school - Rondorf, Hürth, Rodenkirchen, most places in Cologne-South and anywhere on the tram lines 12 and 15 and bus lines 131 and 132 - if you want the least hassle travelling. However, basically anywhere in Cologne on the left side of the river (even the right) is within reach but you would be travelling a bit longer.

 

Linienpläne (bus and tram lines): http://www.kvb-koeln.de/german/fahrplan/linienplan.html

 

Wherever you choose to stay, you will have to pay 3 months Kaltmiete (basic rent costs without rates) as a deposit. Getting this back at the end, when you move out, is another famous German story...

 

Listen to what the school tells you and examine their offer VERY carefully before you decide. And ask questions (!) and tell them what you need and want. If they really want you, they will be prepared to negotiate your terms and come to an agreement (like the best schools do). Don't play down your worth. Talk to or connect with more of their teachers, if they will let you, and find out how many are NQTs and how many are long-term stayers. Ask them what they think about the school and what it is like to work there. Check on accreditations by, and memberships of, the various international school bodies.

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Posted

 

I am 31, male, and have a wife and two children, aged 9 and 7. We have lived our whole life in the UK, Newcastle. The gross monthly wage on offer is 3,311 euro's a month. Is this enough to support a family of 4. None of us speak any German,

 

 

 

No, they would be educated in a german school. I have spoken to another teacher who works at the school who hss two children of a similar age and they are educated in a German school. He says they were fluent in German within 6 months and really enjoy it.

 

Conversationally fluent after 6 month? Perhaps. However, I have to agree with Kazalphaville and think that you really need to do more research. As a teacher you should be able to easily understand the reports on the German educational system and the obstacles your kids would face.

 

I would highly recommend reading these threads and reports to start:

 

- on the German school system

- international vs local schools

- PISA 2009 Results

- PISA - Untapped Skills: Realising the Potential of Immigrant Students

- Mehr Chancen für Schüler

- Nach Punkten vorn by the Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung

 

Furthermore, although you could support a family on the salary you've been offered (an entry-level graduate salary in Germany), it is not enough to carry a mortgage in Germany. You also should not underestimate the amount you'll need to pay for tutoring.

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