TestDAF vs. DSH: Which German Language Exam Should You Take?

DSH vs. TestDAF German Exams

If you want to study at a German university (and not all of your courses are in English) then you will have to pass a German fluency exam. At most universities, you will have two exams to choose between: TestDAF or DSH. So, if you are like me when I was applying to German universities, then the question you are asking yourself is: “Which German language exam is easier? DSH or TestDAF?” Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question. With so many differences between these exams, figuring out which one will be easiest for you depends on your personal Continue Reading

Germany Offers Expats the Best Work-Life Balance

Foreigners Love Working in Germany

Expats in Germany may be unhappy with their social life, but a well-paying job can make up for having no friends, right? RIGHT?! Okay, maybe not. But after failing so badly at making expats feel welcome, Germany excelled in the “Jobs & Education” section of the Expat Insider survey by InterNations. In fact, the survey found that what makes Germany so attractive to foreigners is its good career prospects and job security — Germany ranked #7 of 65 countries in the career section of the survey. Of expats working in Germany, 67% rate their job security positively and 52% consider the Continue Reading

Expats Feel the Most Unwelcome in Germany

German Expats Unhappy

Germans are known for being cold and distant. And while stereotypes are unfair to the stereotyped, maybe – just maybe – they also sometimes hold a bit of truth. Earlier this week, I introduced InterNation’s recent Expat Insider report, which analyzed the feelings of 12,500 expats around the world – nearly 800 of which were living in Germany. If you believe the stereotype, then it should come as no surprise that Germany ranked particularly low in the section “Ease of Settling In” – just 10th from the bottom (#56) among the 65 most popular countries for expats. Other areas where Continue Reading

Expats in Germany Are American, Female, & In a Relationship

Global Expat Survey 2017

Female? Check. In a relationship? Check. US-American? Check. Turns out, I am a completely average expat in Germany. Go figure. InterNations, a popular expat network, recently released its annual Expat Insider report. Of the over 12,500 respondents, Germany was the most-represented nation – nearly 800 expats in Germany participated in the survey (I didn’t, in case you were curious). Survey participants were asked to rate up to 43 different factors concerning various aspects of life abroad on a scale of 1 to 7. The figure above shows the demographics of the expat respondents in Germany. Most of the expats in Continue Reading

German Apartment Tour (Built 1462)

Altbau German Dining Room

After finishing my Master’s degree, getting married, and starting a new job – whew! – my German husband and I decided it was time to upgrade our living situation. Our old apartment was fine, but it was also a bit boring. So, we told ourselves that we would only move if we found something amazing – and we did. Our new apartment is directly in the historic city center, which means we are within walking distance to all of the best shops, restaurants and bars that our city has to offer. The building itself was built 1462-1463, although the top Continue Reading

My 4 Year Expat Anniversary!

Four years ago today, I flew to Germany on a one-way ticket and haven’t left (for more than two weeks) ever since. And this past year of my expat life has been the biggest one yet! When I first came to Germany in July 2013, my main motivation was to pursue my Master’s degree. Well (spoiler alert!), I accomplished that at the end of 2016, which meant that I had to decide whether I would go back to my home country or stay in my adoptive one. If you know anything about me, then you know this decision wasn’t very Continue Reading

Tex-Mex Pizza with Hot Dog-Stuffed Crust | “American” Food Taste Test

Once every couple months, each of the German discount grocery stores (Lidl, Aldi, Penny, etc.) has an “American week” where they sell American-branded food products. These specialty weeks are a great opportunity for us American expats to pick up typical American goodies like salted popcorn and peanut butter. However, they also carry some food abominations that even the US hasn’t even had the audacity to create. Penny’s most recent “American week” included this masterpiece, and I just had to try it  out: Tex-Mex Pizza with Hot Dog-Stuffed Crust This mix of American/Mexican/Italian/German cuisine was so baffling, I posted a picture Continue Reading

An American’s Experience with German Public Healthcare

When I began my master’s studies in Germany, I also enrolled in German public healthcare. At that time, I wrote a (somewhat naive) blog post about my first experience with German public healthcare. This is an update to that post. Since I was a student at the time, I was only paying the student rate for public healthcare (about 80€ per month). Since I also have a chronic disease, I was taking much more out of the public healthcare system than I was putting in. While most German-taxpayers were compassionate and understanding of my situation, I did piss a few Continue Reading

Finding a Full-Time Job in Germany (a Foreigner’s Experience)

Hey guys, guess what…. I OFFICIALLY HAVE A BIG GIRL FULL-TIME POST-GRADUATION JOB!!! pic.twitter.com/F3eZAA0zJE — Courtney (@courtneydmartin) March 24, 2017 That’s right, after graduating with my Master’s degree from a German university in December 2016, I finally found a full-time job in my field! In fact, today is my first day at my new job (wish me luck!). Wanting to be as real with my readers as possible, this post will review my experience with applying to and interviewing for full-time jobs in Germany. First, the hard facts:Length of my job search: 3 monthsNumber of jobs I applied to: 24Number Continue Reading