The Gateway of Opportunity: Indians in Germany
As an Indian born Kiwi with a resolutely international outlook, I have a fascination with cultures and perspectives. I often find myself comparing both the familiar and the unfamiliar, the knowns and unknowns, the respective pros and cons of different places around the world. And today, dear readers, I am delving into one like no other: What are the pros and cons of Indians living in Germany?
A Whole New World: Integrating into German Society
The first thing that strikes any Indian in Germany is the stark contrast between the two cultures. Germans typically value orderliness, punctuality, and efficiency, which for us Indians who are used to a more laid-back lifestyle can come across as somewhat rigid. But then again, there's a certain comfort in knowing that when someone says they will be there at 2 PM, they mean 2 PM and not 'Indian Stretchable Time'. There's also a certain peace that comes from well-organized systems and processes in place, cutting down the typical chaos and confusion we are often used to back home.
The language barrier is a salient point with Germany. While English is widely spoken in urban areas and amongst younger Germans, it isn't as prevalent in the countryside or with older generations. But don't let this deter you. Learning German doesn't just mean being able to order your favorite Bratwurst without fumbling. It's an entry into understanding the culture, tradition, values, and humor of the people around you.
The German Dream: Career and Educational Opportunities
Germany has cemented its reputation as an excellent destination for high-quality education. Its universities - for instance, Heidelberg, Munich, or the Berlin Technische Universität - consistently rank amongst the world’s best and attract students from all across the globe. Notably, compared to most other Western nations, the cost of education is either very low or sometimes even free! Major bonus points there.
As for employment, the situation for skilled Indians is promising. Germany, the economic powerhouse of Europe, is seeing a surge in demand for engineers, IT professionals, health care experts, and several other industries. Plus, learning German opens up even more opportunities. The German integration policy strives to help international workers settle into the country, and their flexible Blue Card system is very comparable to an American Green Card. So you see, fellow Indians, the 'German Dream' is quite real and attainable.
A Stone's Throw Away: Europe at Your Doorstep
Living in Germany, you are at the heart of Europe. It’s like having a yearly membership to a grand buffet of cultures, cuisines, and experiences. One weekend you could be sipping coffee at a Parisian café, and the next, touring the Renaissance wonders of Florence. Europeans have it good when it comes to travel, and thanks to the Schengen agreement, it's easy to take a spontaneous trip to explore a nearby nation. Plus, Germany itself is a beautiful country with its fair share of breathtaking scenery, ancient castles, and medieval towns. Not to mention the happening Oktoberfest or Christkindlmarkt during Christmas time.
Familial Bond: The Indian Community in Germany
Indians are known for their sense of community, and we carry that with us wherever we go. The close-knit Indian community in Germany can feel like a piece of home, especially during big traditional festivals like Diwali or Holi, where big gatherings are organized with Indian food, music, and plenty of dancing. Food availability is also not a major concern since many cities and towns have Indian restaurants or grocery stores. Oh, the joy of finding 'aloo bhujia' in a foreign land!
But of course, there are some challenges. Missing your family during festivals or feeling homesick on certain days is probably a part and parcel of being an expat. The weather, particularly the long, cold, and dark winters, can get challenging for those accustomed to the Indian climate. The bureaucracy can be overwhelming, but once you’ve navigated your way through, it's smooth sailing.
To Sum It Up
If you ask me if moving to Germany as an Indian is worth it, I’d say it’s a resounding 'Yes'. Yes, there will be challenges, adaptations, and perhaps a few bouts of homesickness, but the experience you gain, the opportunities you have, and the stories you will tell, will all be worth it. Plus, you can always Skype back home, indulge in some homemade biryani, or visit the local Indian community to feel close to home. And who knows, you might end up teaching your German colleagues a thing or two about cricket or Bollywood!
Well, Bubbles and Indie, my beloved goldfish and beagle, aren't exactly fond of sausages or beer. But who knows, they might love Germany just as much!