Moving to Regensburg area in December w/o job

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Hello everyone,

 

I am being processed out of the military, hopefully by December. It will be an honorable discharge but not by choice. Anyway, I've visited southern Germany twice now and I know a few people who live in the Regensburg region. So, I was planning on finding the cheapest place available, working as hard as I can to save up money, and eventually go to school for a Master's program at Weihenstephan in Freising. My biggest problem is that I do not know German much at all. I hope in 3 months I will know it better, but I do not know if it will be good enough to find an employer before I move out there.

 

It sounds like I can apply separately for a work visa (either employed or self-employed) and also apply for a student visa, just from what I have read here and on the Mission website. I was thinking of working part-time somewhere doing manual labor while attending a German language school like Vochshochschulen Regensburg. However, I was unsure how easily I could get an employer to sponsor me for the working visa, or to start advertising for freelance teaching of english (I will look at those applicable posts I glanced over though).

 

The next thing is that I am not sure what area would be the best place to live. I will not have any vehicle when I first get there and I will not have much for savings. I would be fine with living out of a cave if one was available, but to avoid that I was hoping to hear from those who have moved to the area and found a place already. My friends might be able to help me with a lease or communicating to find a place, but my main concern is location, price, and availability.

 

Thanks ahead of time everyone.

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With neither sufficient funds nor special skills needed on the job market, your plan is not feasible; start by reading the wiki and then come up with a new plan.

 

What have you've been doing in the military? Do you have a skilled trade?

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I have 17 years of experience working with electronic repair and operations, as a sonar technician. Not the most worthwhile job for looking for work, definitely. I have a certificate for motorcycle repair and a BA in Asian Studies, with basic understanding ofthe Japanese language. I was really just hoping to start from scratch basically, as I know my skill sets are not specialized. I could try the military for a job as a contractor or something, because my security clearance would still be good, but I cannot really depend on that until I look into that more.

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After reading the wiki I see that the only problem I might have is having the verification of sufficient funds, which is stated as circumstantial. There is the possibility of a student visa that includes working 120 full days or 240 half days. I was intending to attend the language school I mentioned above in preperation for going to college at Weihenstephan. Should my bachelors not being good enough to start the Master program there in food and brewing then at least it should be good enough for starting their bachelor equivalent. I have asked this of the college before and they seemed to be fine with that situation, but I will ask again to make sure. With this visa though, it sounds like I do not need an employer to back me and I could work manual labor type jobs. Does this sound correct?

 

*second reply added because of inability to edit...

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A student visa for the university would let you work. A visa for the language school would not. But as many people have said on other threads, the likelihood of being able to support yourself while in uni through working 120 full / 240 half days is slim.

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Well, I have two years of the G.I. Bill left on me that I can use to help me with the college part. They pay for the college tuition and some lodging. So, once I get started it should not be a problem. I don't want to paint myself into a corner, but it doesn't look to unbelievable to me...maybe I'm too optimistic...

 

But once I finish two years with that then I should be able to get a full working visa approved, correct?

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I recently completed a two year Bachelor program in Mechanical Engineering, but couldn't claim my GI Bill benefit because there weren't enough 'general education' classes offered within the program. Since the Germans do their degrees a bit differently than we do, I would suggest contacting them early and often to make sure that you can count on that money.

 

I would also tell you that your MOS isn't recognized as an "occupation" (ausbildung) here in Germany. I was a weapons technician in the Army, and found that I couldn't do much more than work low level manual labor jobs when I first got here.

 

Good Luck!

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I have a certificate for motorcycle repair and a BA in Asian Studies, with basic understanding ofthe Japanese language.

 

Your BA is not going to be of any use. You might want to see if your motorcycle repair certification is recognised here.

 

 

With this visa though, it sounds like I do not need an employer to back me and I could work manual labor type jobs. Does this sound correct?

 

You may work only 120 days/year and not in the first year of learning the language. You won't be able to earn enough in 120 days to cover all your expenses.

 

 

Well, I have two years of the G.I. Bill left on me that I can use to help me with the college part. They pay for the college tuition and some lodging. So, once I get started it should not be a problem. I don't want to paint myself into a corner, but it doesn't look to unbelievable to me...maybe I'm too optimistic...

 

I have no idea how the G.I. Bill works; you might want to contact Conquistador for tips on how to make the most of your options.

 

 

But once I finish two years with that then I should be able to get a full working visa approved, correct?

 

WRONG! You'll not be able to obtain an open work permit while having a study permit.

 

You should consider the following issues:

 

1. You are too old to qualify for cheap public public health insurance. Contact Starshollow or John.G for a quote for German (or BaFin-approved foreign) health insurance.

 

2. You'll need to have convincing arguments to obtain a study permit at your age and your ABH is more likely to properly examine your application.

 

3. You need to determine whether you are eligible to apply for the Master's or if you have to complete another Bachelor's first.

 

4. You need to come up with a realistic budget to be able to finance your plan.

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I have 17 years of experience working with electronic repair and operations, as a sonar technician. Not the most worthwhile job for looking for work, definitely. I have a certificate for motorcycle repair and a BA in Asian Studies, with basic understanding ofthe Japanese language. I was really just hoping to start from scratch basically, as I know my skill sets are not specialized. I could try the military for a job as a contractor or something, because my security clearance would still be good, but I cannot really depend on that until I look into that more.

 

My advice wasn't solicited by Beer, but I'll provide it anyway since I am a US military veteran who lives here. I advise finding a job that allows you to maintain your security clearance, regardless of where that takes you geographically. There is still a premium for people that have one.

 

As for your use of the GI Bill, get an MBA from a US school as a part-time student while you are working full-time.

 

Nothing against you personally, but I don't like your vague plans for the following reasons:

 

1) You don't have a visa valid for every employer

2) You don't speak German

3) You don't have a large cushion of savings (big negative when you want to get a visa as an English teacher)

4) An MA/MS in Germany usually has to be in a related field

5) You would lose your security clearance

 

If you had a German wife willing to support you until you could get yourself on your feet professionally, or you had a large amount of savings with which to support yourself during language studies, I'd say give it a shot. However, neither scenario applies to you.

 

IIRC, that program at Weihenstephan is notoriously difficult, BTW, which means you don't want to enter it with any language deficiences. I also don't know offhand if it's eligible for GI Bill benefits (check the WAVE website to verify).

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Well I will put my input here. I was waiting for someone who has gone your path to talk to you. Here is my recommendation. Save your money and enroll in a language school here for three months. No work just straight studying. It will be your cheapest test to see if what you want to do is going to be viable . All the while it will allow you time to understand german. It will not be an easy in a few months to learn German let alone attain a C level . Also the city is not that cheap in the interior of the city. Some of the language schools will have rooms with community kitchens, I recommend the one in the Pustet Passage.

 

I also recommend you follow Conq's advice concerning jobs if you wish to continue in your plan after the language school. Dont be one of those naive expats thinking you can work black. Nope it will not work. Not even at the bars. They get watched pretty good. Non-germans with work permits find it hard in this town to get hired black. Now immagine that with someone with a student visa. Most chefs will wont even let you finish the sentence when it is mentioned. Not trying to dissuade you, just trying to give you an idea of what you are in for.

 

Good luck!

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Understand all. I guess I was hoping for too much, to be able to come away with something positive after this whole mess I'm going through with the military. My TS/SCI expires next March, I believe, and I have the option to leave the military within the next 6 months. I will not be able to get enough in the way of savings, especially with the divorce... I guess I'll plan on my original goal of studying up for the next three years after getting a job in the states.

 

My premise behind getting a degree for brewing at Weihenstephan is I could use that to obtain a job at virtually any brewery in the world. I've been homebrewing myself for 3 years, but I also realize the business and marketing aspect of this job type. With several American breweries looking to expand production and sales in Germany and Europe in general, it just makes sense to work towards this. It can be both lucrative and enjoyable for me. I completely understand the problems associated with language and visa applications though.

 

I do know that Weihenstephan is covered under the G.I. Bill for that specific course, but the requirements are to be able to understand German, as that is what they teach in. Also, I contacted the person in charge of the course and they said it would be recommended to have a more relevant courseware, but not that it would be required. Of course, this aspect of "required" vs. "recommended" may have been lost in translation as it were...

 

I'll be going through the military transition classes this week, so I hope to get more information about potential jobs that might take me out to Germany that may be associated with contracted or military jobs. However, I would think that those would fall under the SOFA there and would not count towards any work visa program (talking about the two or three requirement of holding such a visa before an open visa can be obtained). This sound correct? Also, Conquistador, do you have any specific references for any of those types of jobs that might take me into the EU theater?

 

And thanks for all your help guys, I appreciate it. Even if it is a hard dose of reality!

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Sorry, my ETS was over a decade ago, so I'm out of the loop when it comes to specifics of the job search, but I'd check the websites of the large contractors first. Talk to your ACAP office- they will be able to square you away. Not all are SOFA positions, BTW.

 

It's too bad you couldn't make it to 20 years, because retirement pay would have been enough for you to live on while learning German.

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Completely with you on that...the Navy decided to screw me over pretty good. But I won't vent on here... Thanks again for the info. I'll keep it all on the backburner until things are in a better situation for me.

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My premise behind getting a degree for brewing at Weihenstephan is I could use that to obtain a job at virtually any brewery in the world.

 

 

 

I contacted the person in charge of the course and they said it would be recommended to have a more relevant courseware, but not that it would be required. Of course, this aspect of "required" vs. "recommended" may have been lost in translation as it were...

 

If the programme is really that good, it'll also be very competitive. You should also start collecting documentation of your brewing activities (in Germany experience doesn't really count if you don't have a piece of paper to back it up).

 

 

However, I would think that those would fall under the SOFA there and would not count towards any work visa program (talking about the two or three requirement of holding such a visa before an open visa can be obtained).

 

Forget about the open work permit; you can't get one as a student and once you graduate you can easily obtain a permit to work in your field. Unless you have an EU passport (or marry someone who does), you are not going to be able to obtain an open work permit in order to work enough to finance your studies. Even if you come back here with SOFA status you can still learn German and you might be able to attend university part-time (I'm not sure about the limitations of falling under SOFA).

 

 

It's too bad you couldn't make it to 20 years, because retirement pay would have been enough for you to live on while learning German.

 

Does that mean he doensn't get anything? A small pension might make it possible for him to study German here if he didn't have to earn enough to cover all his expenses.

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@englechen, generally that's the case, and Beer confirmed it was for him (athough he does hav substantial GI Bill benefits he can use). If you are partially or fully disabled you can get some money, but, fortunately, that didn't happen to me during my service so I don't know all of the ins and outs.

 

Beer, there are fewer contractor jobs than there used to be, and they usually went to people with contacts, typically ones who took a European out.

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I know it's not financially sound, but the excuse I'm going to use is I'll be more marketable... I got a loan for enough to sustain about 2 months of german, with the goal of earning at least a B certification level. A friend of mine in Regensburg mentioned that the university there offers free courses to be able to work towards the certification. Anyone else know about this or done it? I got about 10-12k and am planning for at least two months of studying. With luck, if I am that good to pull off an A level, I might consider staying there and applying for Weihenstephan! Still dreaming a bit, but I'll do some more research on my own.

 

And yeah, englechen, the only thing I am able to get is the G.I. Bill for college support. I'm just in a bad situation overall and ineligible for separation pay or any partial retirement, even though I would only need 3 more years for full retirement.

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Beer, don't underestimate the amount of time it will take for you to learn German, even if that is your sole focus. You need more than a few months- I would say at least a year where you do nothing but speak, read, write and live German.

 

engelchen, is 800 euros per month the minimum rule of thumb for living expenses sans course fees?

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I got a loan for enough to sustain about 2 months of german,

 

When do you need to start paying it back? Until you graduate, you'll not be able to work much in Germany.

 

 

with the goal of earning at least a B certification level.

 

Intensive German courses usually cover half a level per month, i.e. A1.1, A1.2, A2.1, etc. and the integration course usually takes 6 months to reach B1. I would highly recommend that you complete at least A1 (and better yet A2) before you come to Germany. You don't really need to be here to learn the basics.

 

I would really recommend Language Exams: comparing TestDAF and DSH for an well-documented example of how long another TTer took to learn German.

 

 

the only thing I am able to get is the G.I. Bill for college support. I'm just in a bad situation overall and ineligible for separation pay or any partial retirement, even though I would only need 3 more years for full retirement.

 

That really sucks! :( With a pension of about 1000€/month your plan would probably be feasible.

 

 

is 800 euros per month the minimum rule of thumb for living expenses sans course fees?

 

From a permit eligibility standpoint, it is usually the welfare (HartzIV) equivalent, i.e. €382 + rent + health insurance and for students usually the BAföG entitlement. However, many student discounts now have age limits and I think it’ll be difficult for a recently arrived foreigner to survive on what a local welfare recipient has. Depending on how much he has to pay for rent and health insurance, 800€/month might be tight. It really depends on how much he’ll have to pay for rent and health insurance and how long he'll need to learn German.

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He could find a language school that has housing. I recommend the language school in the Pustet Passage. It seems to be the most popular for what it offers, a room in the city, and one of the cheapest from what I hear. I have seen guys in their 40s studying there so I assume the OP fits in that bracket. I am sure if he emails them they will not only provide more information as well possibly info on the language visa requirements.

 

http://www.horizonte.com/en-german-courses/community-photos/photo-gallery/accommodation

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I am paying it back at a rate of $1200/mo. So, in saying that I have about two months, I was figuring the payments I would have to make during that time into the equation. I have a type of insurance on it, so if I file for unemployment when I get back to the states then the bank will make payments until I find a job...a poor man's grace period of sorts...so, no worries about what happens after the school.

 

Is there no way to skip the levels in taking the tests for language placement? I mean, can I just skip to B1 certification if I can pass a placement exam or show an aptitude for the language before I start taking the course? Otherwise, I would be hard pressed to find the German equivalent levels like A1 to B1... I will make sure also to find out what the appropriate level is for the studies at Weihenstephan. My friend in Regensburg said the highest level for english is the A level, but it sounds like it is opposite for german (that being the C level is highest).

 

And yes, I am severely put out that I could not retire with that pension...but it is out of my hands.

 

With the topic of welfare brought into the discussion...is this an available option, what with the lack of a ready ability to work as a foreigner? I will also be looking into the free courses I mentioned and also about others that are definite, such as TUM which advertises free courses during their own semester periods. (But that is from October - March and April - September.) Of course, in bringing up age it introduces a whole new realm of possibility, or the lack thereof. I am currently 34, but I have the feeling that I would need to contact the college or school directly to see about eligibility requirements, as I have not seen any age cut-offs advertised.

 

@Perdido: Horizonte looks interesting, and would be the best choice I can think of so far for language, but do they provide a Goethe certification placement? I did not see any A/B/C level mentioned or anything other than a stated focus of learning german to be able to speak the language. If this is the case, is there a place to take a certified test for an applicable level or is it always involved with some coursework?

 

Thanks again guys. I appreciate the information a lot and I hope to share a beer or two with you all whenever I make it out there.

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