Germany is the world’s 3rd largest importer and exporter of goods. It's also the 5th biggest economy in the world and has generally become a world superpower since the reunification of East and West Germany in the 90's. They also welcome the second largest number of immigrants in the world, after the United States.
It seems that Germany is also gaining popularity as well as success. A recent article produced by Time Magazine published a study claiming that Germany has now replaced the U.S. as the world’s most popular country. 50 countries were included in the survey, which was based upon factors including culture, sport, and governance. Germany now tops the chart with the U.S. falling into second place, ending a five-year reign on top.
Germany has long been regarded as a nation in which the economy and industry have thrived, and I’m sure most of us are familiar with the phrase “German efficiency”. Germany has the largest economy in Europe and is also home to automobile manufacturing giants such as Mercedes, BMW, Volkswagen, Porsche, and Audi. 36 other German companies also make the list of the 500 largest stock market companies. Their skill and efficiency are also demonstrated in their sport – especially football, and became world champions after their triumph in the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
A reputation for unmatched efficiency is what makes them able to work fewer hours during a working day, whilst producing more at the same time. Unlike most countries in which you would expect to work an average of 40 hours per week (or more, depending on the country and industry), Germans work an average of 35 hours per week. Sounds good, doesn’t it? However, before you get excited about the prospect of finding a job in Germany, prepare yourself for the no-nonsense work ethic that helps Germans maintain such efficiency.
In a German office, chatting about your personal life and checking Facebook is simply not permitted. Office culture is very professional and results-driven, whereas in other European countries, the rules are a little more relaxed, with people taking long lunch breaks and spending a percentage of the working day on Social Media. That isn’t to say, however, that Germany is all work and no play.
On the contrary, given that they like to keep it solely professional during office hours means that outside of them, they completely disconnect from work and focus on family and social life. Berlin has some of the world’s most famous and popular nightclubs, some of which don’t close for the entire weekend, bring a new meaning to the phrase, “Work hard. Play hard.”
The German hard-working attitude is paying off - as we have mentioned before, it is the 5th biggest economical power in the world. There is a reason it is the dream destination of thousands of expats, and the native residents hardly ever want to leave the financial comfort of their country, after all.
The European Commission estimates Germany’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth to stand at 1.6% by the end of 2022. This is a bit lower than the past few years, but on the other hand, so is the unemployment rate - expected to equal 3.3% at the end of the year.
Luckily, there are organisations that make sure that you won’t have to worry about unemployment after moving to Germany. Websites like Open Deutsch assist newcoming expats in the inclusion into the society by organising events, facilitating language learning, and generally sharing awareness about the German working culture.
With a flourishing industry comes the demand for the language. German companies dominate the European market and people are taking it upon themselves to learn German more and more.
It is generally accepted that English is the most in-demand language, particularly in Europe. But the fight for second place has been between the other European languages for some time. At Europe Language Jobs, we deal with this on a daily basis and we watch the trends as they rise and fall. But the one that remains consistently popular, especially recently, is German. Apart from English, German is the language most likely to land you the perfect job. So if you speak German, now would be a great time to start looking for that perfect job.
However, I am off to download Duolingo - maybe you should do the same.
Germany has held the title of the top non-English speaking studying destination for many years now. It is indeed a hub for top-level higher education institutions that are well-renowned both among the natives and internationally.
The great thing about studying in Germany is that the high quality of schooling does not come hand in hand with equally high costs. Yes, life in Germany in general is more expensive than in many other European countries as the standards of living are matched to the salaries, which also rival those in many other destinations. But at least the tuition fees for attending German universities are either very low (usually not exceeding 250 - 300 EUR per semester) or nonexistent altogether.
And that’s not all - the German government is aware of the fact that students might find it difficult to adjust to the relatively high cost of living mentioned above. This is why university students - both native and international - can be accredited the bafög.
What is it?
The bafög is a financial aid measure of up to 670 EUR a month dedicated for those enrolled in higher education degree programmes. One doesn’t need to be German to obtain it, but its amount depends on the individual income of each applicant - those with a higher household income will qualify for a smaller amount than those who earn less. 50% of bafög is awarded as a grant (meaning it does not need to be paid back at all), and the other half comes in the form of an interest-free loan.
Germany is the most populous nation in the European Union - and 19.3 of those 82 million people have an immigrant background. This is why German businesses are very committed to making sure equality and diversity are part of their policies.
The Diversity Charter is a running initiative aimed at the promotion of diversity in the German workplaces. Since its establishment in 2006, it has been signed by more than 4700 companies and organisations with a total of employees exceeding 14.7 million - and the list keeps growing.
Diversity constitutes a crucial part of Germany’s working law - there are certain regulations such as the General Equal Treatment Act in place, making sure that both employers and employees adhere to the rules of equality and diversity in the workplace. Therefore, equal opportunities are not just a nice addition to the professional life in Germany - they are a must, regulated by the law.
We all know Germany’s culture is very pronounced. What is equally developed, however, is the cultural life in terms of art, events, museums, music, and all other forms of culture in this approach.
The tumultuous history of the country has positively contributed to the development of cultural venues in Germany. The regional division which eventually ended in the unification and merging of states and cities resulted in over 130 orchestras, 142 theatres, and 7200 museums currently spread all over the country and welcoming thousands of visitors each year.
You can also count on a variety of events happening in Germany - you are certainly not in danger of getting bored! For film lovers, there is the world-famous Berlin Film Festival happening each February. Connoisseurs of classical music will appreciate the Bach Fest organised in Leipzig every June.
There is even a whole special event to celebrate you, an expat! The Carnival of Cultures takes place over four days in May, and it focuses on the appreciation for the multiculturalism of Germany in the quirky district of its capital, Kreuzberg. During this inspiring festival, you can attend concerts with various genres of music, admire colourful costumes, and enjoy exotic food and drinks from all corners of the world!
Germany might not be the first country that comes to mind when thinking about top touristic destinations in Europe, but it does have a lot to offer - both for the lovers of nature and those who prefer to admire more urban landscapes.
The Rhine Valley is home to breathtaking views, a truly idyllic lifestyle, and many, many vineyards producing wine that will steal your heart. Numerous fairytale-like castles are waiting to be discovered all over the country, for example the Eltz, Wernigerode, Drachenburg, or Hohenzollern. If architecture is your cup of tea, then there is an abundance of German towns and cities you can visit: Cologne, Frankfurt, Munich, Nuremberg, Hamburg, Düsseldorf, or Dresden (and many more!).
There are many factors that make Germany a dream expat destination. From good schooling to an attractive job market, it offers a variety of benefits and therefore is a great place to relocate to at any age.
What do you love Germany for? We didn’t discuss all of its values, of course, so feel free to share your point of view on why Germany is called the most popular European country by many!