How to move to Germany, part 3: The First Step…

The United States just had an election, in which the Republican nominee Donald Trump earned 279 electoral votes over the Democratic nominee, Hilary Clinton’s 228 electoral votes. 

Politico 2016 Presidential Election Results.jpg

Screenshot of Politico.com’s 2016 presidential election results, updated Nov.10, 2016 for more information and to see the real interactive map and information look here.

This is in spite of the fact that Hillary Clinton roughly received 233, 404 MORE popular votes than Donald Trump (*based on the data offered by Politico.com). The fact that many Americans did not really feel a fondness toward either candidate and that around 90 million eligible voters chose to sit this one out is another story, maybe for another time. The United States does not decide who will be president based on the popular vote, but rather through the Electoral College consisting of 538 voting members. These voting members are representative of each individual states’ congressional delegation: one for each member in the House of Representatives plus two for your Senators. This is confusing but, basically established to ensure that states with more inhabitants don’t steamroll and silence states with smaller populations.

This whole process, of course has inspired people to inquire what it would take to leave the USA. National Public Radio noted, among other news outlets, that Canada’s Immigration and Citizenship website crashed and was offline part of Tuesday and Wednesday following the election. And let’s be honest. One of the reasons that you found this website is because you were curious about moving to Germany…for whatever reason. <wink wink>

So, I’ve already outlined why you should move to Germany as well as why, maybe you shouldn’t. I have yet to cover the how. This is a tricky task for me, as I don’t want to reinvent the wheel or repeat much of what the million websites will tell you that are specifically devoted to this topic. So, what is a girl to do?

Well, in my experience the three easiest ways to move to Germany are:

  1. Marry a German/European*
  2. Find a job in America that is willing to relocate you to Germany
  3. Study in Germany

*Please note, just like in America, fake Green-card marriages are punishable by law. And in Europe I think they are called ‘Blue Card‘ marriages if we’re speaking general equivalence, but don’t quote me on that.

To my first point on marrying a German…honey you are on your own – well almost. Fellow blogger Courtney over at ‘Welcome to Germerica‘ studied in Germany and is in the process (at the time of writing) of getting married to a German. You can read all about that process on her blog or about her process as an American studing for her Master degree in Germany.

Finding a job in America (or elsewhere) that is willing to relocate you to Germany can also be tricky and a long process, but may produce fruit. Huge companies like Amazon, Japan Tabacco Incorporated, BMW, Volkswagen, 3M, and Procter & Gamble just to name a few. It might be best to inquire within your own company and see if they would be willing to relocate you. The benefit to this would be relocation and visa assistance, and likely additional assistance with paperwork and possibly even language courses. The trick is that you must effectively sell yourself to your employer or potential employer.

Studying in Germany is probably your best bet. The best place to begin is likely the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdiest (German Academic Exchange Service – DAAD) as you can research programs of study (in English) and find one suitable to your interests.

It is fully acceptable to enter Germany to take language courses immediately until you are at least mid-level fluent, meaning at a B1 level of language proficiency, and then apply to a degree program. As far as I know, most German university undergraduate degrees are in German – so if you do not yet have a bachelor degree, your German will likely have to improve. If you want a language course visa (Sprachkursvisum) you will need to find a language school, a letter of acceptance from said language school, have proof of funds/ financing (This is highly important), health insurance (this is a must), and of course pay the fees for your visa. The DAAD is another excellent starting point to find a respectable language school.

When I took my most recent (and awesome) language course, I was pretty sure there were a number of international visitors who had yet to be accepted to university. I will check on this and hopefully interview a friend who successfully completed language courses, from A1 to B1 and then applied and was accepted to a German university Masters program. I will speak with this friend to learn the truth, which of course I will share with you.

Will Carless recently wrote a piece if you are “Thinking about ditching America…” for Public Radio International. In it he discusses income and expenses (like, employment first, then relocation), education, paperwork (do your homework, sometimes what you need to remain will take MONTHS to secure), and moving your stuff (to sell all your stuff, put it in storage, or hire a company to move it for you). It is a good painless read and might offer some much needed perspective to your big plans.

Happy planning!!

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