To the Australians: Why are you here in Germany?

192 posts in this topic

I'm not Australian, but interestingly Australia is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world. I think it's the distance factor, living in Germany/Western Europe really gives you that feeling of being in the middle of things.

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My wife and I had planned to live in Oz, but after 2 years teaching at a supposedly "good" private school in Melbourne East, my wife was on the brink of a breakdown and came back home to SchwabenLand. We'd been playing tennis between the 2 countries for years, but my work life was going so well I never really attempted to live in Germany (she had done so twice in Oz for 2 years each time). I decided to go back to uni in the evenings and studied to become a high school teacher and then came over here.

 

What can I say - it's 'different'. I live in the country though, so I'm having very rural type experiences that I'm pretty sure are more insular than what I'd get in a city.

 

Like everyone else, I miss the people back home, I miss just chatting in stores to people, I miss my old lifestyle. I've lived in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne and Melbourne is where I would always go back 'home' to.

 

I was back there at Christmas though and it saddened me to see that everyone I knew is so desperately caught up in the struggle to own property (exceedingly overpriced property). My friends are all working incredibly long hours, but a German friend of mine who's just come back from Oz said "Australians work harder than Germans, but live a lot easier" which made a lot of sense to me.

 

I like the Germany I've seen very much, and I've met some great people. I've met a huge number of right fucking arseholes too, I have to say. I will never forget a lady walking up to my wife at the market and asking her what her problem was - and why she couldn't find a German guy (I'm Eurasian- so I do stand out a bit in the country).

 

I hate the fact that a piece of paper here means the entire world and if you don't have then you simply cannot do it (whatever 'it' may be), and I hate the fact that if a German hasn't experienced something first then it never existed. I REALLY hate the fact that many Germans I have met feel they are experts after having completed a short course in something and are then eligible to teach (a tai chi MASTER with 2 years experience and a Zeugnis, telling me I have no right to even practice tai chi despite the fact that I've been doing so for 25 years, because it never occurred to my illiterate teacher that a piece of paper meant anything. OR - the couple who are this minute setting up their own Japanese drumming school and recruiting for students, after having done 3 VHS workshops with me. Yes - they asked me to write something 'official' for them!).

 

These things I hate! (and Frankfurt airport and Lufthansa and dubbed movies - but I've had my bitch about them in other threads).

 

I like that people are a bit deeper than many Australians, and I like the fact the people here seem to genuinely enjoy their home and the area they live in. I like the culture here. I like that people take delight in going to small local theatre type things (again - maybe just being in the country and limited for choice). Back home you'd have to be part of a 'scene' for that.

 

I like and appreciate Germany a lot, but despite my fear that Australia is fast becoming a nation of facebook obsessed smartphone zombies, I will always consider it home.

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... Despite my fear that Australia is fast becoming a nation of facebook obsessed smartphone zombies, I will always consider it home.

 

Yep, roger that.

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@ tokeshu & Aquarius Girl:

 

Ach, mensch! I'm in Sydney right now, and if I see one more person staring at their phone pushing buttons while they're at the restaurant/pub/bar/cafe sitting with their friends I'm going to stuff it down their bloody throat.. and same goes for girls holding up phones and snapping FB pics of themselves at parties/clubs... Aaaaaaarrrgghhhhh.. get me out of here and back to Berlin so I can have a real conversation.. PLEASE! :o

 

(And yes, thank you. The irony that I'm posting this on a forum is not lost on me..)

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I would like to add my cent worth in as well. First of all there is no culture or sense of pride in Australia. No offence but the majority of the population are decendents of criminals shipped to Australia chained in hulks. And you can really tell this when you observe someone carefully, especially the elder population. Not only this but there is also extreme and open racism (forgetting ‘true aussies’ are immigrants as well). There is a huge amount of violence everywhere you look starting from primary school. Increasing cost of living and property is another concern in my opinion. The cops are like cockroaches and doing everything to hassle drivers and fine them and with all the stupid speed limits, don’t get me started. Plus the job market is very slow. Every year thousands of students graduate but the economy has no jobs for them and there is only so much you can achieve working in Australia. They are clearly behind in technology and there is no appreciation for Phds.

 

Here in Germany, Phd and higher education achievers are valued and there are enough companies to find a decent job. Germany is full of achievements, inventions, history, etc and the people have a real sense of pride. What people mentioned about greeting people on the streets or chatting about football to shopkeeper is what they miss about Melbourne or Australia is purely garbage. I have found people on the streets to be polite and greet even if they are road workers (of course it depends on area and the person themselves), but compared to Melbourne I have found people here to be more tolerable and generally nice. Once they find out you are from Australia, they are very keen to know about you but keep their distance and are not intrusive. Another thing is respect and politeness at work and with friends. No matter how grumpy or macho they look, they are always nice to you and do their best to speak English for you. This is based on people I have met and there is no generalisation of the whole country based on this experience but so far I am pretty impressed by Germany.

 

I could see myself living here for a long time with the occasional trip back to Melbourne. Being central, Germany offers you the privilege of experiencing other countries and cultures within a few hours of driving. I can guarantee that half of the people that “miss” Australia because of the beaches probably don’t even go to the beach plus the beach alone doesn’t do it for me.

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I disagree with a fair amount of stuff that you've written there, but to be honest it seems from your writing that your opinions are well and truly cemented, thus I'm disinclined to bother.

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.... but so far I am pretty impressed by Germany.

You deserve a medal, mate! I love your optimism and the fact that you're enjoying living in B-W.

 

Write me in 12 months and let me know if you still feel the same. Fingers crossed you do.

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Buu, i could write a cogent response, but it probabnly wouldnt help. You are right, we are a shallow and violent culture. Gods know, i could do with hitting people tonight. but AG is right. optimismsm... is what gets you through in my country. That is why my country does such amazing things.

 

Just takes a little bit to get used to.

 

Not too different to germany

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Buu - interesting insights you have. I'm really surprised you find people friendlier here than back home. Especially in Melbourne, I always find myself chatting away with complete strangers. I have made some very dear friends through such chance meetings. Admittedly I live in a rural area, but I have rarely had a similar experience here (not for lack of trying).

 

The PhD thing too I've found exactly the opposite. They seem to be quite run of the mill here, whereas back home you knew if someone had a PhD they'd worked hard to get it (at least in my field). From the PhDoktors I've spoken to here, it's not something that's particularly academically rigorous as much as it's just a continuation of studies. May just be the PhDoktors I've met here though. I did proof read a psych PhD last year for a colleague. Full respect to him - he had to write it in English (Uni Konstanz) and he was awarded Summa Cum Lauda. I was surprised at the final mark because it was a poorly written thesis with badly presented findings (but as I say - all in English so mucho respect for being able to do that).

 

I did think Oz had become a little more aggro the last time I was home (mainly road manners that I noticed), but I have seen plenty of aggro here too. Macho boys are macho boys no matter where in the world you are.

 

Keep enjoying your stay here.

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I came here for a job, but I already spoke the language so that part wasn't too hard. I'm pretty happy here, and the issues I have are contradictory anyway, so I couldn't solve them both. It is hard to meet people, but I'm not in a big city. It's not that the people are unfriendly at all, but most of them already have set circles of friends. However, I can have a fantastic lifestyle here - cheap housing, cycling everywhere (it's flat as a pancake), local markets, everything I need in terms of shops, small theatres (OK, there's a lack of non-dubbed film, but that's all). I wouldn't get the same sense of everyday relaxation in a bigger city, so it's a fair trade. Shop assistants here are actually rather friendly, so I don't notice any particular lack in that department.

 

I'm from Sydney, and there are things I miss - sunshine, obviously, and a range of things to eat, and cricket coerage but I don't miss the stress. My parents agree whenever they visit: my life here is really rather good. And I'm close enough to the coast that I do get to the beach now and then, although it's tricky to compare the North Sea with Bondi (or Balmoral or Manly, which were my old favourites).

 

(As for PhDs, I can assure you, there are a lot of them out there in Germany, and there's no way it guarantees you a job. The number of 30-somethings on temporary 50% positions is pretty shocking. This is in the humanities, so I know things are rough everywhere, but I think the fact that fewer people tend to make that decision in Oz is not actually a bad thing.)

 

So all in all, not a bad life here. I'll probably go home one day as long as I remain single, but who knows? I can see myself staying for a while.

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Hi, I thought I'd put in my personal experience. After living here in Germany for the past year and half, I'm sad but relieved and happy to be going home to Australia next week. We moved here for my husband's work. He got offered a great opportunity and there was no way we weren't going to go. It was Germany! It was Europe! It was a vision of experiencing something new, of having to start fresh, of traveling around Europe! It was an opportunity not everybody gets and we knew we had to take the chance.

 

But, it didn't work out for us like we had hoped. I couldn't get a job, we couldn't get used to the VERY different lifestyle and we never really got a hold of the language despite regular courses. The worst part is that due to having to live off one salary, we didn't even get to see much of Europe. And when we did, I was so bloody miserable here that I couldn't even enjoy it.

 

Germany is just not for us. Although it didn't work out for us, we don't regret our decision coming here. It opened our eyes to a lot of new things, especially to everything we had back home. We had taken home and everyone in it for granted. Unfortunately, my husband has to stay here to finish out his contract so I will go back home, start work and set up for his return.

 

But we do plan on coming back here to travel. Back home we will be able to save enough to come back and enjoy the trips that we couldn't do now. I am sad to be leaving. Leaving my husband behind here knowing how much he dislikes living here and being so far away. That's the worst part about Australia, it's just so bloody far away... but I guess that's made it what it is. As others have said, there are quite a few people who are narrow-minded about other cultures, but shit, what about some of the locals here with their narrow-mindedness about the ways of life? The weather is shit here. I like the seasons but the whole lack of sun is just shocking. The general public's selfishness is appalling, the unnecessary rudeness, the staring, the food, the clothes, the lack of individuality, the general lack of concern for anyone else... I could go on. Though there are some things I like about here. The old and whacky traditions they still take part in, the Xmas markets are fantastic, the ease of travel, the fact that you can ride a bike without fear of being abused.

 

Of course, since it hasn't worked out for me I could be seeing things in a more negative light, I understand this. When I get back home I hope I can look back on my time here as positive but for now my wounds are all too fresh.

 

I'm sorry, I think I got off topic...

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Though there are some things I like about here. The old and whacky traditions they still take part in, the Xmas markets are fantastic, the ease of travel, the fact that you can ride a bike without fear of being abused.

 

What do you mean "the fact that you can ride a bike without fear of being abused." ?

 

You mean you get abused in Australia if you ride a bike?

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In certain cities (I'm looking at you Sydney!) cyclists do get verbally abused - both bike commuters and lycra clad road cyclists. My partner was accustomed to being tooted at, sworn at and yelled at in both modes! And that was in the eastern suburbs/inner city where local councils have been encouraging cycling with commuter cycling lanes etc. Melbourne is more cycle friendly though.

 

Louey - just curious, what's wrong with clothes here? To me they aren't that different to Aust?

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Yeah... riding a bike in Brisbane is not that much fun either. Because they don't really have many bike paths (though that is changing now... slowly) cyclists often have to use the road and I guess some drivers hate it enough to abuse them. It's pretty bloody awful actually. I guess that's why my first bike was bought here...

 

Lollypink, I don't know, it's probably just this small town I live in but there's hardly any good clothing shops here. (I probably should have said that Göttingen doesn't work for me, not all of Germany). I find everyone just wears the same thing and the same colours and there's just nothing really interesting about it.

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Yeah... riding a bike in Brisbane is not that much fun either.

Nor in Sydney. Sydney streets are totally hopeless for bike riders, let alone cars. Way too much traffic on many narrow roads with not enough lanes for everyone. I'd never ever ride a bike in the Sydney city area.

 

 

I find everyone just wears the same thing and the same colours.

Yep! They're all wearing H&M, Zara and Vero Moda; clones of each other.

 

Whenever I used to wear my floral/brightly coloured frocks from Oz, when I was living in Stuttgart, I was constantly stopped on the street and complimented on my "schön kleid".

 

Although, I do believe this season's fashion offerings from all the major labels are quite colourful and cheery. All we need now is the sun!!!

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it's probably just this small town I live in but there's hardly any good clothing shops here.

 

nah, nothing to do with the small town, Berlin is chock full of clothing and everybody still looks the same. Apart from certain hipsters, that is, who tend to look as if they got dressed in a charity shop during a power outage.

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Ah yes, the fashion. Back in Oz I was not exactly daggy, but a long way from chic. In the UK I was average, but since I was a postgrad, I had the disadvantage that almost everyone I saw on a regular basis was at least ten years younger, which wasn't terribly flattering. And now in Germany people think I'm stylish! I actually get compliments on my clothes! I find it hysterical. My very fashion forward sister, on the other hand, wonders why people here are practically gawking when she walks past.

 

I have personal limitations on what I wear, because I cycle in normal clothes, and I can't manage that in short tight skirts etc. But I don't mind. I don't think I could cope with a Copenhagen or Amsterdam level of cycle-style anyway.

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I'm an Australian in my 20s, born in Perth and Raised in Melbourne to Irish parents. I moved to Germany in June 2011 to do an internship through my university (I studied mechanical engineering). I was initially living in Aalen, a smallish and quite isolated town (66,000 people)in BW, where the company was. I moved to NRW in January and initially lived in Mönchengladbach followed by Düsseldorf for the last 3 months, completing an internship at a different company.

 

I get asked all the time why I am here by the locals, some have asked "did you lose a bet?". I think a lot of locals here look at Australia through rose-tinted glasses.

 

How does life here compare with Melbourne?

 

The positives I think resonate with what others have said. Travelling is very easy as the distances are completely different and the transportation is so comprehensive, in and outside of Germany. Melbourne to Sydney is around 900km. Draw a 900km radius around Düsseldorf and the number of European countries and cities within reach is staggering and makes weekend trips to these places possible.

 

The beer here is very good and incredibly cheap when compared with back home. After living here for a while I don't know how I managed to afford to buy the stuff in Melbourne.

 

In Düsseldorf I personally find the public transport and general ease of getting around to be very good. When I was living in Mönchengladbach the trains, on the weekend, would run 24 hours. Made travelling to Düsseldorf for the nightlife easy, as they tend to go out later here. It can be a bit expensive in some cases, but I think that it's no more expensive than Melbourne in that regard. Would probably be cheaper now.

 

I think that the nightlife is quite good in Düsseldorf and most clubs don't charge an arm and a leg to get into. It's definitely a lot less aggro than it is in Melbourne. People seem to just want to have a good time. A lot of people think that Düsseldorf can be unfriendly in this regard, but I don't think it's as bad as it's made out to be.

 

I think that living here is generally cheaper than in Melbourne. I've noticed that rent is cheaper and groceries are cheaper (but not up to the same standard, I'll get to that).

 

In my limited driving experience here in Germany I can say that people here are a class above. People here actually pay attention to what they are doing and consider that there are others using the road. Can you believe it?! Lane discipline, indicating, spatial awareness, everything. It's miles away from the king of the road attitude in Australia, where people like to block and cut you off, but only when they're not trying to teach you how to drive (2 cars side-by-side on the freeway doing 95km/h on cruise control).

 

There is also the novelty factor of being an Australian living in Germany. I don't think that there are many of us here, I've only met 2 in the last 6 months. Simply being an Australian here mean a lot people are instantly curious and actually helps in making friends. Not sure about the others here, but that has been my experience.

 

There are a few negatives though (IMHO of course). All but the largest supermarkets lack the variety and quality of food that is available in Melbourne. It was easy to cook something simple and tasty back home, like chicken curry. Now, even if I find the right ingredients, they are simply not the same (spices mainly, don't know how this is even possible). I cannot stand the lack of good beef here. I didn't realise how good we have it in Australia until I moved. Unless you are willing to fork out at least 20€, forget about having steak for dinner. If you want pork, pickles, Milchreis or powdered mashed potato, you're well covered!

 

This can be negative or positive depending on the way you look at it, but people here are generally more closed and reserved than the regular Australian. At first it can seem rude and hard to deal with when coming from a place that is seems more welcoming. I think the trick is to just accept it and not take it as being rude, which it isn't in most cases. I have actually encountered very few Germans who were genuinely unfriendly. Most seem to warm up when you become more familiar and are more than willing to help you out.

 

There is also a lack of humour here, but I think that it is just a different type of humour. Aussies, Irish, Brits and Kiwis (also Americans to some extent) I think 'get' roughly the same kind of humour. You don't find much self-depreciating humour here and I think that a lot of people can take themselves a little too seriously.

 

The regular things I miss are the fantastic beaches and rugged coastline, the weather (generally better than it is here in NRW), family and friends and the general feeling of familiarity you get from living in a place that you know like the back of your hand.

 

I'm signing a contract beginning in Septmeber so will probably remain here for at least another year to build my experience. I've enjoyed living here so far. There are positives and negatives in every place and I think if I returned to Australia now I would become bored very quickly. But for me it will always be home.

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I find the weather in Munich better than Brisbane (more comfortable, not so hot, proper seasons) and I've managed to get good steak at Metro (Argentinean rib eye for between 15 and 20 euros a kilo, which is about the same cost as back home). Other than that, you've summed it up nicely.

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stan88 if u have been away from oz for a while u might get a shock at the price of steak and food in general, prices keep going up n up, I just got back from Germany and it was definitely cheaper in Germany by heaps, in a way its even cheaper then Bali as I am expat here, imported goods in Bali r really expensive now. I am looking forward to spending 4 to 6 Mrs a yr in good old Germany and of course being with my cousins there :D they r so much fun and really no how to enjoy there life. Yeah and oz has all these creepy crawlies n its boring IMO if ur an OAP. Being an expat in any country is the only way to go IMHO :o , but if u have a young family its a great place to bring up kids. :D if u really want to have any that is..hehe

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