What made you leave Germany

550 posts in this topic

On 30.10.2017, 00:01:29, alderhill said:

And like I said, I fully acknowledge that there are things Germany does utterly better than Canada. Any move back would be bittersweet.

Very very true, there are things here that I am very jealous of for Canada, even though I get to use them on a near-daily basis here. 

 

On 27.10.2017, 20:58:08, J0ker said:

Having lived in Toronto for most of my life I can say that Germany is definitely a better place to raise children than Toronto or any major Canadian city.  A lot of your taxes goes to daycare, education, child allowance etc.

This is also true - the costs that my friends have had to pay for their childcare needs in Toronto have been astronomical.  We've been incredibly fortunate to be here in Germany while our kids have been small.  Add in the general costs of living in Toronto and it becomes difficult for ordinary young families to achieve a good lifestyle there.  The answer is of course to choose to live somewhere else - Canada is a big country with lots of great little cities where the cost of living is still reasonable relative to the local earning potential.  Who needs the stress and traffic and air pollution of a major city anyway?  Some people like it I guess, access to cultural events and the like, that they can't afford to go to because the rent and childcare costs are so high...

 

On 30.10.2017, 00:01:29, alderhill said:

Besides that, the whole three-tier system is bullshit.

I somewhat, but not entirely agree - students who have gone through the lower schools can make up the difference and move up if they are motivated enough.  A Hauptschuler can make it to University in the end, it may just take them longer.  This builds in a certain level of flexibility into the system, and can allow students to progress at their own speed.  Not a bad idea, I just think the culture here kind of locks them into a mindset that they're somehow inferior and sets them on a certain course through life.  The flexibility is there, it is just perhaps seldom used because the people are inflexible themselves.

 

What I am seriously impressed by in Germany is the acceptance and prevalence of apprenticeships.  In Canada, if you've got two brain cells to rub together, you're pushed into Uni whether it's right for you or not, most people coming out with a degree that doesn't get them anywhere.  All of my friends have degrees, only one is working in the field she studied.  I hated University and dropped out - too much like High School, which I also hated.   Now I work in the trades and love it.  Here in Germany there are all kinds of options, the dual-system of hands-on practicums in partnership with a local company and the university are awesome, kids are virtually guaranteed jobs afterwards, having learned something that is actually in demand in the economy.  Also the apprenticeships that can be started at 16 - imagine - you could be a master carpenter at 21 - cool!   Also, with a Meisterbrief in the trades, you are automatically accepted to University in that field, if you choose to go that route.  Most don't, because let's face it, what is a BA in Landscaping going to do for you that you haven't already learned on the job and in the trade school?   Apprenticeships, practical and specific Colleges programs and corporate-education partnerships are gaining momentum in Canada now.  But at the time I went through, a university education as the ticket to a better life was the biggest line of bullshit that my cohort was sold on.

 

 

 

 

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19 minutes ago, kapokanadensis said:

  Apprenticeships, practical and specific Colleges programs and corporate-education partnerships are gaining momentum in Canada now.

That just depends in what province you lived.

Do you know when NAIT and SAIT were started and what they are?

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48 minutes ago, gaberlunzi said:

Do you know when NAIT and SAIT were started and what they are?

 

Yep, my best friend went to SAIT for drafting after he completed his fine arts degree at UVIC.  Funny - no jobs in fine art...  Those sorts of schools make a huge amount of sense, and offer a lot of value for the time and money invested.  I grew up in Ontario, and the only kids who got their pictures on the wall after graduating high school were those who went on to universities.  At the time, there was a huge amount of pressure to go to uni, and anyone considering college or an apprenticeship must have been stupid or otherwise mentally damaged.  Peers, teachers, guidance councillors, parents - everyone was on board.  University was the only option being discussed and recommended at the time. 

 

You're right, those institutions like SAIT have been around a long time, but what I meant is that there does seem to be a shift in how people are thinking about post-secondary education nowadays, that doing a non-specific BA or Bsc in whatever shouldn't be an automatic decision after high school.  Non-university or goal-oriented university options seem to be gaining greater acceptance.

 

 

 

 

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I went to Brown college via mail as I wanted to have a Canadian verification of my German papers.

Got a bargain in the process as I improved my English.

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On 10/29/2017, 5:01:29, alderhill said:

I think Canada is almost as bureaucratic... Yea, Germany is obviously overall a decent place to raise a family. But when it comes to quality of life, comparing the two, weighing the pros and cons, Canada kinda wins out for me. And like I said, I fully acknowledge that there are things Germany does utterly better than Canada. Any move back would be bitter sweet.

Well, you can't have everything! As a whole, Canada for many professions and trade beats Germany anyway you look at.

Of course I can only judge Germany for the southern part and that some 70 years ago most of the knowledge coming from 2nd and third hand via IT  and that leaves a lot of fault lines open for misjudgement.

I came from a small place in lower Bavaria and settled in another small place here in Canada so, the hardship of resettlement was not that cumbersome.

My family has grown up and I can't say that my kids had less fun than I had. At least they did not have to cut wood, pump water or wash in the morning with cold water like I had to. Also,being kids of almost middle class parents beats being a kid from the lower class any day even if I did not let that bother me to much. That's why I ended in Canada after all.

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13 hours ago, kapokanadensis said:

A Hauptschuler can make it to University in the end, it may just take them longer.  This builds in a certain level of flexibility into the system, and can allow students to progress at their own speed.  Not a bad idea, I just think the culture here kind of locks them into a mindset that they're somehow inferior and sets them on a certain course through life.  The flexibility is there, it is just perhaps seldom used because the people are inflexible themselves.

 

That's the idea behind it, which is why it might have worked 50 years ago. It looks good on paper, and if the system has worked for you (or your children), it seems fine. But it does not work that way today. I say this as someone on the "front lines" meeting and teaching many new grads as they enter university each year. It depends on a lot of various factors, and maybe I'm just a grumpy never-impressed fusspot (I don't think so, though), but I'm usually underwhelmed and disappointed by the average fresh abi-grad. They're great at regurgitating the info you tell them to for a test, but they sputter at other intellectual tasks. They CAN learn new skills of course, and many do, but it's not easy, and IMO, they should already be prepared for this by the time they're 18-19.  Again, I blame the schools they've gone to (and teachers they've had!) more than anything else... To me, it's no wonder that Germany is no special stand-out for the past few decades when it comes to innovation. Of course the German economy/industry does some things very well. But will "the next big thing" come out of Germany? Not a snowball's chance in hell.

 

If you see what Hauptschule or Realschule are really like, you cannot entirely blame the students for being 'inflexible'. They are basically told they are second-tier (or worse) from the get-go. It's an internalized message. The teachers at such schools are themselves also often sort of 'second-tier', as they don't get paid as much as Gymnasium teachers. To choose to teach at a Realschule/Hauptschule is a selection made when you start to study to became a teacher, and itself has somewhat lower requirements than Gymnasium teachers...

 

Even if students do manage to switch school systems, they'll be at some disadvantage because various subjects are on different levels. Their peers will also know they came from a Realschule. When I studied here in Germany, most of my classmates were studying to be teachers, and so I know a lot of teachers today. Based on what Realschule teachers I know have said...is it pure dumb coincidence that 70% of a Realschule is non-ethnic Germans who were not born in the country? 

 

That's why I think the three-tier system is bullshit. Streaming children who are too young to understand their futures and do anything about it, and often the parents don't know enough either... It sucks. I would've been streamed into Realschule if I grew up in Germany, and I am doubtful I would have had the academic experiences and career I know have. 

 

And anyway, my impression is that kids are generally pushed into university here as well. That's why there is such pressure for kids to go to Gymnasium. Trade apprenticeships have a strong footing here (I think the carpenter journeymen are a pretty cool tradition! I hope it survives), and that's a good thing. There's something that Canada learn from.

 

I will say, the students I meet who have been through Realschule and then did a Fach-Abi or are studying after doing an Ausbilding -- they are more mature and focussed, and you can tell what a difference the experiences they have make. I've got a fair number of students who did a mechanic Ausbildung and then study business/engineering.

 

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In Canada, if you've got two brain cells to rub together, you're pushed into Uni whether it's right for you or not, most people coming out with a degree that doesn't get them anywhere. 

 

It's no big secret that universities are also businesses. People have 'agreed' that a BA or BSc is the magic key for the career gatekeeper, so off to uni it is. And well, just try finding a job without at least a bachelor, even if it is useless... But yea, I've got friends who studied, for example, English+Cinema double degrees and uhh... it didn't really work out for them. But those student loan interests keep growing and coming, so everything is good in the world. 

 

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I hated University and dropped out - too much like High School, which I also hated.  

lol, yea, I remember one of my old profs in my Bachelor back in Canada always told us "being an adult, working in an office... It's just like high school except you have more money". 

 

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4 hours ago, alderhill said:

lol, yea, I remember one of my old profs in my Bachelor back in Canada always told us "being an adult, working in an office... It's just like high school except you have more money". 

If it would be just as simple as that. When I came to Canada the hourly wage was 65c and I did not even ask for that; just how safe was the job!

It was that bad in Germany I just wanted to get away.

In the mean time things were pretty good in Germany and most people forgot the bad things and are thinking paradise lasts forever.

After you listen to the following you might change your mind too.

 

Canada is a large land and for a Kraut easily to adopt to.

No matter what anyone says, we can't influence the politics around us,

But it is wise to be out of the road when the sparks fly.

The last minute adjustments are not always ideal.

As for education, Liberal arts seems to me a lot better than any technical know how.

Just look at any writer today, he is miles ahead of any technician.

Also the writing ability is a good base for higher class jobs.

And just look at the book writers, they may be poor when they start, but after the fifth book they are not doing badly, thank you.

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9 hours ago, alderhill said:

if the system has worked for you (or your children), it seems fine. But it does not work that way today.

It has worked for my daughter 2 years ago. She graduated from Hauptschule (or Mittelschule as it is being called now) to a special class for kids from lower tier schools at gymnasium ("Einführungsklasse") and made her Abitur without problems. It just took one more year. That was in Bavaria though.

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2 hours ago, jeba said:

It has worked for my daughter 2 years ago. She graduated from Hauptschule (or Mittelschule as it is being called now) to a special class for kids from lower tier schools at gymnasium ("Einführungsklasse") and made her Abitur without problems. It just took one more year. That was in Bavaria though.

 

I'm glad to hear that. Good for her!

 

Just from my experiences though, I'd guess that's more an exception than the rule... Out of curiousity, was the decision mostly yours? How did your daughter feel about it? Any idea (that you don't mind sharing) why she was chosen for Hauptschule in the first place? 

 

I have a friend who has twins, one recommended for Realschule, the other for Gymnasium. Of course she wanted them both to go to a Gymnasium. The one recommended for Realschule was 'outed' by the class representitive who then got a squad of her friends to bully the girl, calling her stupid, saying she doesn't belong at 'their' Gymnasium, that she is an imposter, and invited her twin to events but then explicility excluded the 'stupid' imposter twin. This was at a supposedly 'elite' Gymnasium, with all kinds of warm and fuzzy inclusiveness programs. When my friend got the principal involved, she was told maybe the bullies had a point (not in those words...) and she should maybe consider another school... she was then questioned about her career and daily schedule and all but called a Rabenmutter, that the one twin's poorer performance was ultimately her fault. (The principal was a woman, too, fwiw.)

 

Hopefully that is rare, but I am somehow I could believe it's not a totally isolated case...

 

7 hours ago, gaberlunzi said:

As for education, Liberal arts seems to me a lot better than any technical know how.

Both are important, but I definitely agree. I have a lot of engineering students, and I generally like them, generally good students, etc. But many do not seem very 'rounded', and it would probably help them if they knew just a little more about either history, languages, some literature, economics or politics etc. Just more about the world, and where they are situated in it! I live/work in Niedersachsen, and many students want to work at VW or Conti, for example, but you'd be shocked by how many don't seem to even know anything at all about the Abgasskandal, let alone about Germany's export economy vis-a-vis EU internal politics or so on. I guess it would be different if I had actual economics or politics students, but it's mostly engineering and business students that I have nowadays... But in the past I've had students of psychology, Lehramt, various engineers, maths, social work, communications, art students... I'd still the say general 'pigeonholed' trend exists over all. Then again, the goal of German education/training is basically specific specialization.

 

7 hours ago, gaberlunzi said:

Also the writing ability is a good base for higher class jobs.

This I agree with whole-heartedly. I teach English technical/scientific writing. ;)

 

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58 minutes ago, alderhill said:

Out of curiousity, was the decision mostly yours? How did your daughter feel about it? Any idea (that you don't mind sharing) why she was chosen for Hauptschule in the first place? 

 

We were moving back from another country - so the German curriculum was alien to her. Therefore, unlike her brother she wanted to take it on slowly and chose the Hauptschule. Her brother opted for Gymnasium right away and with quite a bit of struggling with the second foreign language he managed in the end.

 

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