In US military, want to return to Germany

21 posts in this topic

I know this question has probably been asked a million times but, I can't find exactly what I am looking for. I am currently living in the U.S. and want to know what are the odds of moving to Germany with my family? What steps need to be taken and what are the odds of this working out? I am in the military and was stationed in Bavaria for 3 years. I have been back state side for about a year. Is there any hope for me and my family moving back to Germany possibly as a civilian? Would the move be better or easier to try and get out of the military while stationed in Germany? I know alot of people retire and stay there. Basically I just want to know the odds of me being able to live and work there with my family. Thanks in advance

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Tough to say, especially without knowing what your MOS is, if you plan to work for a contractor, as a GS, or want to work on the economy, nationality of your spouse, etc.

 

When I was in the military, you usually had to know someone to get one of the contractor/GS positions, and they probably aren't growing in number.

 

How close are you to retirement?

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I have only been in for 5 years. I have over 3 years left in my contract and my wife is an American also. I am a wheeled vehicle mechanic so I don't exactly have any college level skills. However, I am currently looking into college and have recently gotten my T.A. approved. I would love to be DA or DD civilian and work in Europe but have no idea how likely that is to happen.I would like to work on a degree in a field to get me that type of job. I know the chances are probably slim but not impossible to live in Germany as a resident one day. I appreciate any input

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You really need to gather a lot more information, but since you don't have a security clearance and aren't in country to network and do a "European out", you are at so large of a disadvantage for GS work and contracting that I think you should focus on doing what you need to do to work "on the German economy". If you want to do that, I'd suggesting getting a computer science degree or a business degree specializing in Management Information Systems and learning as much (business) German as you can. That's a lot of work, though. It would be easier, albeit not easy, if you were married to a German because you wouldn't have any visa issues and could learn the language from her.

 

Alternatively, you can get a degree, get hired stateside, and hopefully get transferred here by your employer.

 

Please seek out as many knowledgeable opinions as you can, since this is not a simple matter.

 

EDIT: be sure to use your TA only for courses for which no CLEP/DSST/ECE/TECEP exam exists. Have a talk with the most knowledgeable person at your base's Education Office. If they don'T tell you that you can test out of most of your degree, contact me by PM and I'll give you more info.

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Maybe applying to University here could be an option for you. You will get your degree, learn German and it would be a lot easier with you immigration status further down the road. But you must consider all your options and definitely think this through.

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If he were single, that might be an option, but since he has a family, it would be a lot more expensive (and thus harder) to do that especially considering he doesn't speak German and his wife isn't German.

 

His first step should be trying to knock out a bachelor's degree while he is still in the military. It probably wouldn't land him a job in Germany all by itself, but it would aid his transition and allow him to apply his GI Bill money to a graduate degree.

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SAP AG is a huge multinational business software company based in Walldorf close to Heildelburg - so not Bavaria more central Germany. They are very successful and constantly looking for new employees. I know a German who is a specialist in their software and he is able to work on contract anywhere in the world. His partner's from New Zealand and they often take breaks between contracts to travel. I won't pretend to understand what SAP actually does - all I know is their products are in demand and I get swamped with job offers just because I am connected to a couple of people with experience of SAP on Linked-In. My vague understanding is you will need a financial background as well as IT. My cousin who is an accountant in London and who is now a management consultant is often flown into Germany to troubleshoot on SAP issues, and he has no German. So investigate what SAP want and what would qualify you for jobs with them.

 

BASF is another huge German company, this time in chemicals. They have a big presence in North Carolina (Raleigh and the RTP) as well as New Jersey. I know a number of American families who are here because they are with BASF. BASF is based in Ludwigshafen near Mannheim.

 

John Deer is another company with a big presence over here. I would say, if your spouse is supportive and your children are young get well qualified and both learn a high standard of German. German companies can employ foreigners for jobs they are having problems filling in Europe. Are you close to a Unversity with a German department or a Community College offering German?

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Aquamarine, while the information you offered regarding the companies in Ba-Wü and RP is right, I have to add that both BASF and SAP have hiring freezes in Germany. I am working in SAP as a student and looking at making it permanent. Heck, my team is even having trouble to extend my part-time contract.

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Fair point, if you look on their worldwide job site they have jobs in Dublin, London etc. I still think qualifying in IT with finance puts you in a strong position job wise. I just wanted to give the OP some ideas of what is available in Germany. I think he would be safer looking to work "on the German economy" which is thriving compared to the US rather than the US Military contractors.

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Thank you all for so much information. I am currently enrolled in college studying IT and taking German. I really appreciate all of your help. Hopefully I will be able to move from the U.S. and start my new life soon.

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is getting another European tour possible? you could European out when you ETS. would give you time to transition to life here again and, the Army pays for the move. it's the easiest, cheapest way I can think of getting back over here.

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keeping in mind that the current plan is to reduce staff 25-40% by FY15. gonna be a bumpy ride.

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I really don't know much about the US military, but I believe that after 20 years you can retire with a pension and various other benefits for the rest of your life. This is probably far, far more valuable than anything you are likely to get in the next 15 years working in the private economy the way things now. And especially for someone coming to Germany with a young family, no (or only basic) college education, and no real command of the language. Just read through this site for stories of how many people have to struggle to build a life here who don't have those extra concerns. Perhaps serving another 15 years to get your benefits seems like forever, but it migt be worth considering.

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RainKing's advice is very good, but it should be mentioned that your time on active duty in the military counts toward a civilian pension if you retire from the GS system. Of course, given the fiscal challenges the US will face in the coming decades, government pensions might be scaled back somewhat.

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@Rainking

it's an option but only if you can stand 20 years in the military, it's not for everybody, I was fed up after 6... after 20 years of service, if you retire you "only" get 50% of your base pay at separation, 25 years is 75%, 30 years is then 100%

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Ha, after more than 20 years in IT I only wish I were guaranteed 50% of my base pay for the rest of my life...

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I haven't read the whole thread, but if you get your College degree, your chances of getting work in Germany are not bad, since Germany seriously lacks high-qualified employees.

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Having a degree doesn't necessarily equate with being highly skilled, although it often does. A degree without business-fluent German usually isn't enough, especially if you're changing careers.

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Thank you all for so much information. I am currently enrolled in college studying IT and taking German. I really appreciate all of your help. Hopefully I will be able to move from the U.S. and start my new life soon.

 

Karlsruhe is generally considered one of the strongest Universities in Germany for IT. International Students can often study in German Universiites for free (although you obviously need to find funding for room and board). Karlsruhe is also relatively close to the areas I mentioned upthread. You may want to look into being an exchange student there or studying for a masters degree in IT there. Spaces are reserved on all degree courses for foreign students but often the quota is not filled.

 

You can also study in English at many German universities. Have a look at Mannheim which offers a number of business degrees in English (John Deer is based in Mannheim).

 

I met an African-American employee on the check-out at IKEA in Ludwigshafen who told me he was studying business at the University of Mannheim - he had originally arrived with the military. Naturally his German was very good.

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