"Very cold country" - Expats don't feel welcome in Germany

54 posts in this topic

Interesting article.  One thing that seems to stick out, was the average: 44.  Obviously some are older and younger.  One might think that an older person, more set in their ways would have a difficult time adjusting to a different society and culture.  Hard to say exactly.

I would like to see the demographics from Bahrain (top of the list) and Kuwait (bottom).  Not sure it would make a huge difference, but could be rather telling.  And to include the industries, positions and countries these people come from.  Bahrain at the top, Germany in the middle, and Kuwait at the bottom.

 

Might also be good if the government reviewed surveys like this to consider areas to improve.  Also for companies. 'How can we make life easier or more appealing for new comers'. 

 

Again, an interesting survey.  

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You may have said it, but that doesn't mean what you said was accurate. 

 

Incidentally, being integrated doesn't mean you have to lose your identity(ies). 

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1 minute ago, Conquistador said:

Incidentally, being integrated doesn't mean losing your identity(ies). 

 

I think you are applying this to yourself but you expect "some" people to lose their identity. 

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I am sure many of us have worked in organizations that aspire to be internationally competitive and entrepreneurial but are held beck by a culture of narrow mindedness which is built upon on a deep seated instinct of mistrust. *Vertraun* is a very complex aspect of the German psyche for newcomers to get their head round. If you are not fundamentally trusted for some subjective and intangible reason, then it is very hard to move forward and integrate. 

 

I am sure that many of us have worked in organizations that aspire to internationally competitive and entrepreneurial and have a successful and productive time. Those are the lucky ones who do fit well into the narrow view of the employer culture and are trusted to be brought in from the cold. Great if you find it but the odds are not in your favor - whomever you are :)

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I've worked for small companies, industry majors, and as an independent in Germany for over 25 years and have never had any trust issues. Probably because I always worked hard to learn the language and do my job well. In short, I cater to my customers - whether internal or external - and deliver what I promise.

 

Sure, Germany can be a bit of a culture shock at first, but it's more international and - above all, in my opinion - more consumer-friendly now than it's ever been. You can even get chips/crisps that aren't paprika-flavored now! And don't even get me started on what life was like when all the stores, including supermarkets, were forced to close at 6:30 p.m. during the week and at 2 p.m. on Saturdays. Back then, hell was shopping on the "langer Samstag" the first Saturday of the month.

 

What we have now is luxury. Maybe Germany doesn't meet some people's sense of expat entitlement, but that's on them, not Germany.

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Yeah, trust. Big in any culture. But in the Germanic people mistrust seems to be the default position. My German is or was next to excellent if I say so myself, but I mostly found it REALLY HARD TO RELATE to these people with very few exceptions. Mainly because they refuse to open up and relate to you on a level other than the totally superficial. Seems to me they find it excrutiatingly hard to trust anyone not part of their lives since Kindergarten. This is part of the culture and I cannot believe the Government can or should do anything about it.

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9 minutes ago, El Jeffo said:

I've worked for small companies, industry majors, and as an independent in Germany for over 25 years and have never had any trust issues.

 

Perhaps you could share the general area of your employment field and level of responsibility as a senior manager (budget /number of reports/legal responsibilities) within the company/companies?  I am sure this would be helpful to those looking towards developing their careers in a German context to see what could be possible for them in a good environment. 

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28 minutes ago, Kommentarlos said:

 

Perhaps you could share the general area of your employment field and level of responsibility as a senior manager (budget /number of reports/legal responsibilities) within the company/companies?  I am sure this would be helpful to those looking towards developing their careers in a German context to see what could be possible for them in a good environment. 

Sorry, but I'm not comfortable sharing that information on a public forum.

 

If you'd like to meet for a beer some time, shoot me a PM.

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Looking at the results, and the fact this was a self-selected survey, it's difficult to take it seriously. Panama ranks above Holland, Oman is higher than Germany, the UK is in the bottom 10...

 

It looks more like a list of the best places where you can earn an outsized income, have reasonable weather, a maid, and have a whirlpool of expats coming and going who are all keen to make friends with one another and drink themselves silly.

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I wasn't surprised about Portugal being at #6.  It's like night and day compared to Germany on the friendliness scale.  But for high tech and engineering, the salaries are too low to make it attractive.  They must have been asking all those digital nomads and retirees.  For them, with the non-habitual residence scheme, it is definitely a great choice.

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4 hours ago, optimista said:

Yeah, trust. Big in any culture. But in the Germanic people mistrust seems to be the default position. My German is or was next to excellent if I say so myself, but I mostly found it REALLY HARD TO RELATE to these people with very few exceptions. Mainly because they refuse to open up and relate to you on a level other than the totally superficial. Seems to me they find it excrutiatingly hard to trust anyone not part of their lives since Kindergarten. This is part of the culture and I cannot believe the Government can or should do anything about it.

 

I have lived here since June 1987 and I have never encountered that.  Could it be where you lived and where I've lived?

 

Mistrust towards me or superficial?  Again, not to my experience and in fact, the exact opposite.  No offence, but it could also do with our overall attitude and personality.  As we are all different, it effects those around us.  I'm sure you had a mate who suggested you meet another person they get on well with, only to meet them and feel nothing for that person and want to avoid that person at all costs.  Sort of a bad blind date.  There are a few Germans here where I live, who I dislike and the feeling is quite mutual.   

I do agree that when initially meeting a German, there does feel as though there is a chasm between the two of you.  It does take work to get them to warm to you.   But I have never found them to be superficial, but rather the opposite.  I've found them to be rather honest and open about how they feel towards another.

 

No, I'm not wearing rose coloured glasses, but I might be slightly biased.  I was married twice to Germans, my daughters are both German and I became a citizen in 2014.

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2 hours ago, rhody said:

I wasn't surprised about Portugal being at #6.  It's like night and day compared to Germany on the friendliness scale. 

Amen to that!

Not to mention that in Portugal people WANT to speak with you in English, French or whatever language they know!

2 months ago I was in a ice cream cafe in Porto where, between all the staff, they spoke 5-6 langages, despite all of them being Portuguese!

 

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But for high tech and engineering, the salaries are too low to make it attractive.  They must have been asking all those digital nomads and retirees.  For them, with the non-habitual residence scheme, it is definitely a great choice.

Things changed in the past 3 years. The SW development area was always strong, but salaries were bad. From what I've been seeing recently, there are so many startups, foreign SW houses and even local mid-sized companies in SW, that salaries have gone high.

I think at the moment a junior or middle manager in SW would be making more in Portugal, considering the cost of living.

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57 minutes ago, MikeMelga said:

Amen to that!

Not to mention that in Portugal people WANT to speak with you in English, French or whatever language they know!

 

I spent a time back in 2006 or 2007 working in Lisbon.  I stayed in Estoril.  I brought my laptop, but failed to bring the power supply.  I drove back into Lisbon and found a large shopping complex with something similar to Media Markt.  I have often recalled this story about Portugal.  I found in the shop what I think I wanted and found a sales woman.  I know no Portuguese.  I asked rather embarrassingly if she knew any English or German.  With a huge smile, she replied in fluent English and told me she studied in Canada!  She could not have been nicer or more helpful.  We chatted for a while and she introduced me to a colleague who worked in Munich and spoke fluent German and English.  They told me where to go eat in Estoril - a hidden restaurant that was incredible that became my local for 10 weeks!  At the end of my ten weeks stint I was so impressed with the Portuguese people.  The people I worked with could not have been nicer or more accommodating, minus one person but I think it was more a clash of ideals than anything else.  A wonderful place with wonderful people! 

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I can't say I agree that Expats don't feel welcome here in Germany. After spending a LOT of time in Germany over the last 10+ years, I have Lived here as a resident and been working here in a German Firm for just over a year now. My German was relatively catastrophic this time last year. However, I put the work in and everyone I have worked with and socialised with was friendly enough. In my experience, if you are friendly and put the effort in, they will normally respond in kind.

 

In general, the German nature is to be a little "Stand offish" initially, but they are usually open to talk and develop friendships. Also, yes, the Germans are usually direct and to the point, which can come over as blunt or rude to people who are unfamiliar with the culture. That said, I've also ended up drinking all night with a bunch of strangers who just started talking to me outside a bar. 

 

The point is, if someone comes to Germany and expects everybody to default to English in order to communicate, they are in for a surprise. Many more Germans than you think do not speak English at all, or have not spoken it since school, and are therefore reticent to embarrass themselves. Although consider how a German arriving in the UK would be accepted if they expected everyone to speak German to them and then complained that the Brits are not making them feel welcome?

 

What this thread seems to come down to is which countries pander to the Brits who can't put the effort into learning other languages are better. Anyone wanting an easier ride should probably consider moving to an English speaking country or one of the Scandinavian countries where everyone speaks English from an early age, watches English Films, TV, etc

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2 hours ago, MikeMelga said:

Amen to that!

Not to mention that in Portugal people WANT to speak with you in English, French or whatever language they know!

2 months ago I was in a ice cream cafe in Porto where, between all the staff, they spoke 5-6 langages, despite all of them being Portuguese!

 

Things changed in the past 3 years. The SW development area was always strong, but salaries were bad. From what I've been seeing recently, there are so many startups, foreign SW houses and even local mid-sized companies in SW, that salaries have gone high.

I think at the moment a junior or middle manager in SW would be making more in Portugal, considering the cost of living.

 

The Web Summit is now a yearly event in Lisbon..it was a big story in Ireland when the organiser pulled out of Dublin.

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2 hours ago, pmd said:

 

The Web Summit is now a yearly event in Lisbon..it was a big story in Ireland when the organiser pulled out of Dublin.

AFAIK, Dublin was too small to organize something as big.

And it was easier for the organizers to convince people to fly to Portugal, enjoy some holidays and the web summit.

It brought a lot of startups to Lisbon. People visit for the Web Summit, they get contacts with local companies and decide "why not move to Portugal?".

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5 hours ago, BayrischDude said:

 

I have lived here since June 1987 and I have never encountered that.  Could it be where you lived and where I've lived?

 

Mistrust towards me or superficial?  Again, not to my experience and in fact, the exact opposite.  No offence, but it could also do with our overall attitude and personality.  As we are all different, it effects those around us.  I'm sure you had a mate who suggested you meet another person they get on well with, only to meet them and feel nothing for that person and want to avoid that person at all costs.  Sort of a bad blind date.  There are a few Germans here where I live, who I dislike and the feeling is quite mutual.   

I do agree that when initially meeting a German, there does feel as though there is a chasm between the two of you.  It does take work to get them to warm to you.   But I have never found them to be superficial, but rather the opposite.  I've found them to be rather honest and open about how they feel towards another.

 

No, I'm not wearing rose coloured glasses, but I might be slightly biased.  I was married twice to Germans, my daughters are both German and I became a citizen in 2014.

 

I have also found friendly attitudes and no major problems. 

I have lived and worked in a few countries, and found people are usually happy to welcome newcomers. I do think some newcomers here expect Germans to open up at once about their lives, and this will not happen. It takes time and work to build up friendships, and then there is honesty and open discussions.

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