Working in Germany is a great challenge for anyone who doesn’t speak German. We’ll tell you the experience of a Brazilian girl living in the country of bretzel, sausages and beers. We will talk about how she got the visa to study and work in Germany without having any clue of German, how her adaptation to the German culture was and much more.
From Brazil to working in Germany (Münster)
My name is Ingryd, I’m from Recife (Brazil) and I’m 24 years old. I currently live in Münster (Germany) and work as a caretaker.
- Why did you choose Germany? I chose Germany for the opportunities it offers. This country gives you the possibility to study while making money and have a profession much easier than in Brazil.
- How long have you been living there? I arrived in Germany three years ago.
Procedures for living and working in Germany
What were the procedures you had to pass through to be able to stabilize there (as in, to rent a flat and be able to work)? Do you need some kind of visa?:
They required a working contract (doing the FSJ/BFD social year); with this contract I was able to get my visa in Brazil.
I had the visa granted for the social year and it’s valid for a year and a half. I only earned 380 euros per month and that wasn’t enough to pay rent, as I was also paying for German classes (226 euros) and for food (about 100 euros per month).
After social work, I decided to start an Ausbildung als Altenpflegerin as a caregiver the elderly, which is like a three-year degree where you can study and work at the same time.
Is it possible to work in Germany without knowing German?
How was your adaptation with the language? Did you have any knowledge of German before arriving in the country? Is English enough at first or is it better to arrive with a good level of German from the very first moment?
I arrived in Germany without having any idea of German, I knew absolutely NOTHING. After three months, I started an intensive course: as a result, in 6 months I could communicate very well. I spoke a bit of English and this helped me if had to go to the doctor or if I had to solve any specific problems, but obviously if you live in a foreign country it is necessary to speak the local language, since not all Germans speak English. Also, I think it may be kind of disrespectful not to strive to learn the language of the country where you live. In short, knowing English is helpful, but if you don’t speak the local language things can get really hard.
Cultural differences between Brazil and Germany
Which cultural differences got your attention? Definitely the fact that people don’t bathe every day, instead they use a wipe called “Waschlappen” to wash in the morning. In Brazil we take three showers a day while here they usually take three or four per week (obviously there are exceptions). That is still very strange to me.
On the other hand, Germans are more polite and kinder than Brazilians.
Working in Germany
- What about work? What are the differences from your country (or anywhere else where you’ve worked )? Here you can earn a lot more, there’s more respect and empathy. Labor rights here work and you feel safe.
- And economically, any difference to highlight between Germany and others European countries? Certainly, according to me, the economy here is much better than, for example, in Italy. Things cost less and everything works fine. We pay a lot of taxes, but we know that if we need anything, we can count on the relative public institution.
- Would you recommend this place to live and work? Yes, of course, for those who want to study and have a “stable” life (economically speaking) Germany is the ideal place for it.
- How much can you earn in Germany? The minimum wage is about 1500 euros (2020)
- How much does the rent cost? It depends on the area, but with 600 euros you can get an apartment (1 bedroom, 1 bathroom, living room and kitchen).
- How many vacation days does a worker have? About 24 days
- Where do you find work in Germany? We use Nadann; Indeed and local work websites of our city.
- Do you plan to live there for a long period? My intention is to live here forever. Even if I love Italy much more, economically and socially, Germany wins.
Tips for moving to Germany
And for those who want to move to Germany, any specific advise? My advice is to be psychologically prepared before moving to Germany, you must have very stuck in your mind that it won’t be easy, since there is a lot of bureaucracy (one more reason to learn German well), but it will be worth it.
As I said before, if you have the possibility to learn some German before moving, it’s better, but if not, when you arrive, it would be good to do an intensive course (minimum 4 to 8 hours per day).
Finally, could you tell us what your next projects and destinations will be? After finishing my studies, I want to travel a lot and get to know other cultures. I also want to be a mother ❤️ and maybe find a quieter, less stressful job.
In short, emigrating is for brave people, no one said it’s easy, but in the end, if you get your purpose, it will be worth it. If you identify with Ingryd and you’re thinking about living in a different country (but you prefer Netherland’s typical fries over bretzels) you can click HERE.
Interview made in November 2020 with @Ingryd