Tips for Moving to Germany

Germany is a Western European country with a landscape of forests, rivers, mountain ranges, and the North Sea beaches. This includes basic information about Germany as well as insider tips on how to live like a German and enjoy the rich German culture.

Find a German Internet Provider

As you don’t want to be cut off communication with your friends and families you need to get a German internet contract as fast as possible. Usually, most of the German internet service providers offer you the internet and a land-line at the same time. If you don’t want to rely on Skype and need a German landline number then make sure to get one of those hybrid contracts that offer both internet and telephone. One thing you need to know about German internet providers is that they might need 3-6 weeks before they can provide you with your internet connection. This is an awfully long time so if possible you should already take care of choosing a German internet provider before moving to Germany, provided that you already have found a place to stay already.

A few things you need to find out for yourself is if you want to sign up for 24 months (which will be cheaper but not flexible in case you move away again) or if you prefer contracts that can be canceled by the end of each month. Also sometimes it is cheaper to only get the contract and buy the hardware on eBay or Amazon while some German internet providers offer discounted hardware if you sign up for 24 months. Either way, the most important thing is to make sure your internet contract includes WLAN, as some internet service providers still charge extra for that. To help you out we put together an overview of the best German internet providers.

Get a German Mobile Contract

Next in line is finding the best German mobile contract for you. Again there are millions of choices, whether you want a 24 months contract, prepaid plastic, you need extra mobile data or your focus is good connection even in rural areas. In Germany, there are a few big mobile carriers such as 1&1, Deutsche Telekom, Tarifhaus and o2. In general Deutsche Telekom is the priciest option but has by far the best quality of connection. So if you are traveling a lot in Germany or live in a very rural area Telekom will be most likely your best choice. 1&1 is the best compromise between cheap rates and good mobile coverage. O2 is a good choice if you live in the city and you want to find the cheapest deals on all net flats including mobile internet.

But be aware that in rural areas connection quality might be worse than with other carriers. But this was only a very basic overview over the best German mobile carriers so if you still need to find the right one for you we have put together more detailed information on the best German mobile contracts. Sometimes it comes in handy if you sign up for both with the same provider.

Find a Cheap Electricity Provider

Once you move into a new flat you will automatically be signed up with the local electricity company (called Grundversorger). This may be very handy as you have nothing to do, but it also means that you probably pay more than you should. And if you like to stay flexible you can choose an option for a monthly plan which does not lock you in as other electricity providers do.

German Climate

In general, in Germany, you can feel each of the 4 seasons. Winters might get rough especially in the East, where the climate is influenced by the cold winds coming from Russia. In the South, winters are more bearable as it does not get that cold and grey and you can go skiing when there is enough snow. Spring usually starts around April and is one of the best times to be in Germany. It is not too hot yet and the flowers and trees start to blossom which is especially nice in rural areas. Summer is somehow tricky, as in some years Germany has good weather and sunshine for 3 months, while in other years the sun does not show for more than 1 day in a row. Also, the South tends to get more sunshine, especially the area close to Freiburg in the southwest, while in the North summers can be quite depressing sometimes.

Autumns are my least favorite time of the year as it can be very rainy and windy. So probably if you like to have 4 seasons and you don’t mind some years of missing summers and harsh winters then Germany will be the right place for you. For everyone else you just need to escape in winter for 2 weeks to a nice sunny destination for holiday and then come back and enjoy living in Germany again.

Education

The school system in Germany varies from one federal state to the next. Wherever you live, however, school is mandatory until the child is at least 14 years old. Children attend elementary school from the age of six and begin high school around the age of twelve. They can choose their high school depending on whether they wish to go to university or focus on vocational skills. There are plenty of international schools in Germany; however, the best schools may have long waiting lists and cost around EUR 20,000 a year. International schools may offer diplomas, such as the International Baccalaureate, or the German Abitur, or both.