Climbing mount Germany
So boys and girls, first time writing in English. To be perfectly honest here, this was a though choice, German is hard, really hard. I didn't originally plan to write a blog in German, but as this vision took shape, I could not help but feel that German has become to me somewhat of an achievement in dire need of conquering. Besides, "GanzErlich" is my abbreviation for "ganz ehrlich" (with "Erlich" being my name) or German for "totally honest", which for German speakers sounds pretty funny. The content deals mainly with my experience and me as an Israeli living in Germany, not to say that immigration is a massive hot potato in Germany nowadays. So obviously, Germans are my target audience. And so was the decision made to write in German. However, I have a great non-German speaking friend circle, and my family of course, most of which have been expressing their interest in visiting, living or working in Germany, and thus came the decision to have an English post every now and then (every 2 to 3 German posts to be exact), addressing my English speaking friends and giving them a taste of Germany.
As a first time I wanted naturally to address the many people asking me about moving to Germany. Yeah, I have been asked a lot about this and what it's like. Although I can't sum it up in one word (who would?!), I would say the following: you don't just move to Germany, you become German. Germany may have the appearance of another well and prosperous first world country, and it is. However, in some aspects Germany is exceptional to other countries. To compare with another nation that is often regarded as exceptional, the United States of America, an immigrant fresh off the boat with decent English in America could have very well found his promised land. With Germany this may not be the case.
The concept of being German is, historically, very confusing and I will definitely cover it another time, however, for the purpose of this argument I will state that German nationality, in Germany, is to this very day conflicted. For this reason there are many ways of defining or identifying one's self in Germany, yet to integrate well into the German society can only be done through the extensive learning and application of the German Langue and the German Couture, and to those not willing to do so, I often say that this place is not for you.
This might sound harsh, but do believe that for those of you who would like to stay in Germany longer than a year, your life quality will significantly differ without good German or a good understanding of Germany. Simple tasks may become unbelievably difficult. Although Germans speak English very well, the services in the country will not always be offered in English, and don't even get me started on civil servants - visiting the foreigner's offices (Ausländerbehörde, where Visas are issued) without a native German can be catastrophic. The most important thing here is work. Yeah, how are you going to finance yourself? I remember meeting a friend in Amsterdam and being amazed at the fact that in order to work in Amsterdam, he didn't need know a word of Dutch. After inspecting his friend circle, which where all Israelis, in the event we were in, I was struck with the fact that none of them spoke Dutch. This was just mindboggling, as you will never find a normal job in Germany without German, it just won't happen. Sure you can be one of those new Startups, working in an international network with other English speakers, fine, but how many of those are there? And even then, without German you are basically disconnected from the outside world.
Although this here is just a drop in the ocean, don't get me wrong, I believe it's all worth it. Germany is exceptional and discovering each little detail of her has been and still is a humongous pleasure for me, even if it came with difficulties. The exceptional order, politeness and quality of "made in Germany" has brought many to come to Germany, yet the difficulty of integration has left them stranded somewhere outside of the mainstream German society. That's why I advise you all, if you really want to give Germany a try, don't take this lightly, study German. and so you could too have a taste of this very exceptional German delight. The next time in A word of English I will address why German nationality is in itself so exceptional.