Working in Germany

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 months
Number of jobs I applied to: 24
Number of interviews: 8
Final job offers: 2

I applied to a few jobs while writing my Master’s thesis (Nov-Dec 2016), but I didn’t really start putting real effort into the job hunt until the new year. I was also very lucky to have a part-time job contract until March 31, 2016. This meant that I didn’t have the pressure of needing to find a job ASAP.

Here is a timeline of all the jobs I applied to, and how far in the application process I made it with each position:

Overall, I was very lucky in my job search. I usually got a response (even if it was a rejection email), and I got quite a few interviews. To better visualize this, here is a pie chart of this data:

I got absolutely no response from 25% of the jobs I applied to. Shame on the businesses that do this! Even if it is just a form email, you should reply to all applicants! It’s just common decency!

Speaking of form emails, I got those from 42% of the jobs I replied to. Receiving a rejection email is not a great feeling, but it’s better than hanging on to hope for a position that already rejected you without you knowing.

For 33% of all the jobs I applied to, I got at least one interview (usually via phone or Skype). I really hate interviewing for jobs, and the first few interviews went quite horribly. However, I also think I got better at interviewing each time. Which ultimately led to…

…drum roll please…


via GIPHY

…two job offers!!!

My job search reached its peak when I scheduled two second-round interviews for the exact same day — the first for 1:00 pm and the second for 5:45 pm.

I got to the first interview about an hour early, so I stopped into a cafe next door and had an espresso. This probably wasn’t such a great idea, as I was nervous and hadn’t yet eaten anything that day. By the time I got to my interview, I was visibly shaking.

Of course I took an elevator selfie on my way up to the 19th floor office.

I was then placed in a beautiful conference room with one of the best views of Hamburg’s Altstadt that I had ever seen. They also made a nice first impression with a little spread on the table. Since I was already shaking from my espresso, though, I just stuck with water.

After this interview, which went until about 2 p.m., I then sat in a café for over three hours until it was time for my second interview. The second interview actually ended up being less of a job interview and more of an employment persuasion. I left with an unofficial job offer and the peace of mind of knowing that my job search was finally over!


via GIPHY

The following week, I got final job offers from both of the companies with which I had a second interview, and after a little bit of back and forth, I signed a job contract on March 25th to start on April 18th!

Let me know if you have any questions about finding a job in Germany in the comments below!

P.S. This post was chosen by followers of the Welcome to Germerica Facebook page. Make sure to like my page to stay up-to-date on all things Germerica!

Getting Married in Germany

I married my German husband on December 30, 2016 in a beautiful wedding ceremony in the Lüneburg Water Tower. After the ceremony, we celebrated our marriage in a small reception in the historic Lüner Mühle – a restaurant and hotel located directly on the river in an old mill built in the 14th century.

The celebration actually began with a short reception on the top of the water tower, which is where we met our guests after the ceremony. Marco’s father, an avid flag collector, also gave us our first wedding gift! 😀
Wedding in Lüneburg Water Tower
Couples that get married in the Lüneburg water tower also receive a plaque to place at the top of tower. So, we glued our plaque to the side of the viewing platform (make sure to look for it if you ever visit Lüneburg!).
Wedding in Lüneburg Water Tower

After this little reception, we made our way back down, this time taking the stairs through the water tower’s basin, which is where this cool picture was taken: 

Wedding in Lüneburg Water Tower

And finally, we made it outside! We then walked with our guests to our reception venue on the other side of the river.
Wedding in Lüneburg Water Tower

German-American Wedding in Lüneburg

Wedding in Lüneburg

Lüneburg Bergström

Lüner Mühle
I created the centerpieces and place cards for the reception together with friends, and I also made double-sided menu cards in English and German. Luckily, our reception venue let us set up these things the night before.
Winter Wedding in Lüneburg

Winter Wedding in Germany

Winter Wedding in Germany
For the sake of our guests’ privacy, I do not want to post many pictures from the reception. All you need to know if that the reception was over 12 hours long, there was lots of drinking and dancing, and my husband and I had a great time (which, in my opinion, is the most important)!
German-American wedding
German-American wedding

Hochzeit Mühlensaal Lüneburg Bergström
All photos were taken by Björn Schönfeld
Getting Married in Germany

On December 30, 2016, I married my [German] husband in a small civil wedding ceremony in Lüneburg, Germany.
Since we had planned a winter wedding in Northern Germany, we were never expecting nice weather. In fact, the days prior to the wedding were the typical gray, cold, rainy weather we are used to. However, the skies cleared for one single day in late December, and that was the day of our wedding.

The ceremony was held in the city’s historic water tower. My husband, Marco, arrived at the venue before me and greeted our guests as they arrived. This was pretty easy considering there were only about 25 of them!

 I made the boutonnieres myself!
I actually walked to the water tower from an apartment my friend Meghan had rented nearby. Of course I forgot my bouquet (which Meghan ran back to the apartment to get), while I got to see my groom for the first time.

I then had a Cinderella moment as my Prince Charming helped me put my heels on, and strangers that were visiting the museum area of the water tower kept taking pictures of us.

Marco then went up to the ceremony room, as I waited downstairs with my father and the officiant. Luckily, my bouquet also arrived during this time (thanks again, Meghan!).
Then, when we were ready, we took the elevator up to the third floor, and my father walked me down the aisle to my husband-to-be.

I made my bouquet myself too!

I do have to admit that the ceremony itself was a little cheesy. Since Lüneburg is such a popular city for weddings, there are three public officiants that spend their days officiating civil wedding ceremonies. Our photographer, Björn Schönfeld, told us that ours is particularly well-known for her over-the-top flowery language. But the bright side was that her speech was so cheesy that I didn’t cry (and will probably always remember it)!

And after each saying “ja,” we were married! We exchanged rings and signed the marriage certificate immediately afterwards.

And we walked out of the water tower as husband and wife.

Come back next week to see the reception photos!
Moving to Germany

After graduating with my Master’s degree, I felt like I was moving into a new stage of my life. I’m no longer a student. I will soon begin a full-time job. I’m married!
To mark this new stage of life, I also decided it was time to move. So, that’s what I did!

Unfortunately, I live in a very popular city where there are a lot more people looking to rent apartments than there are apartments to rent. With a little patience and a lot of luck, however, I was able to find an amazing apartment.

Here is how I did it:

SEARCH ONLINE
The two most popular real estate websites in Germany are immobilienscout24 and immonet. Realtors and landlords often upload their listings to both websites, but sometimes they only use one or the other.

So, I checked both. Multiple times per day. And as soon as I saw an apartment I liked, I (in reality, my husband) either emailed the realtor/landlord or called them directly to set up a viewing.

MONEY TALKS

In a market where there are more renters than rentals, it can be hard to even get a viewing. After contacting a realtor or landlord, we were usually first required to fill out a form with information such as job, income, and nationality. The realtor would then obviously decide who gets to view the apartment based on these various factors.
VIEW & APPLY
In November, I was going to at least two viewings per week (while also finishing my Master’s thesis and planning a wedding). For 4 of the apartments that we viewed, we submitted an application. Here is a small overview of each of those apartments:
Apartment 1: Neubau
Pros: brand new, 2 bedrooms, ground floor with private garden
Cons: no grocery store within walking distance, far away from the city center & the university
Apartment 2: Uni-Nah
Pros: brand new, close to the university (where Marco works), ground floor with private garden
Cons: 1 bedroom, required a 5-year contract
Apartment 3: Stint
Pros: centrally located, huge balcony with a view of the river, floor heating, parking garage
Cons: 1 bedroom, over-budget
Apartment 4: Altbau
Pros: newly-renovated Altbau, 2 bedrooms, 3 stories, shared-use garden
Cons: no parking, located on the 3rd-5th floors
We didn’t get apartment #1. Before we got an answer from #2, we called the realtor to tell her that we weren’t willing to sign a 5-year contract. We did get #3, and Marco was ready to sign the contract, but it didn’t feel right to me, so we declined.
The last apartment we applied for was #4. Since there were so many great applications, however, the owner of the building wanted to interview the top 3 applicants. We had our interview on December 27 – just three days before our wedding. On December 28, we got the call that the apartment was ours.
On the day we signed the contract, our landlord actually told us that he chose us because of the romantic notion that we would be moving in just after our wedding 🙂

TIMING
The biggest issue when moving within Germany is getting the timing right. The standard rental contract in Germany requires a 3-month termination notice. However, most of the apartments that we came across wanted someone that could move in within 2 months.

Luckily, the rental market moves so fast in our city. So, we were able to get out of our old apartment and moved into our new apartment less than 2 months after signing our new lease and terminating our old one.

A post shared by Courtney (@courtneydmartin) on

And that’s it! Now we are living in a beautiful Altbauwohnung built in 1462! Since the apartment is so special, I am actually thinking of making an apartment tour video to show it off 😉

Leave a comment below if you want to see a video tour of the apartment!

Featured, Studying in Germany

5 Reasons NOT to Study Abroad in Germany

I’m not going to sugar coat things. While the experience of studying abroad in Germany can be amazing, it is not for everyone. So, especially if you are considering pursuing your entire Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Germany, maybe you should first consider these reasons for NOT studying abroad in Germany.

I studied abroad in Germany for one semester during my Bachelor’s and then came back to Germany to complete my entire Master’s degree. And while I write a lot about all the great things about studying abroad in Germany, I think it’s important that I tell you the not-so-great things as well.

1. BUREAUCRACY
The stereotypes of the rule-abiding Germans and the redundancy of German bureaucracy are true. From registering with the city to registering for exams, you will probably spend a good amount of your time in Germany running around from office to office until you finally catch the right person during their unpredictable and infrequent office hours.

MFW I have to go to the Bürger-, Einwohnermelde-, Ausländerbehörde-, StandesAMT.

Tip: Save all of your emails (office workers tend to “forget” or “lose” things), triple-check your deadlines, keep a calendar with all of your important deadlines

2. NO STUDENT FACILITIES
Especially if you are going to a public university in Germany, you should not expect to have a variety of student resources available (for free) on campus. This means no high-tech computer lab, no super-modern student center, no team of personal counselors. Also, the resources that are available will likely cost you. For example, a student membership to the on-campus gym at my university costs about 20€ per month.

Tip: Join a student organization and enjoy your university campus for what it is – a place of learning and research.

3. LEARNING GERMAN
I don’t care if your study program is in English – you need to learn German. Even if you are living in a big student city, getting through your day-to-day will come with a lot of uncertainty and confusion if you think you can get by on English alone. So, if you have absolutely no interest in taking a German course, stay home.

Now don’t get me wrong – you do not need to be fluent in German before coming to Germany. Germans are incredibly accommodating, and most young people do speak English. However, if you are planning on staying for a while, enroll in a German course (which will often be provided for free by your university).

Tip: Don’t be lazy! Just take a German course.

4. EXAMS
Depending on the system you are used to, the German grading/exam system can be quite confusing/aggravating. First of all, most classes base the grade for the entire course on the final exam/term paper. It’s stressful, and it means that the final exam period at the end of each semester is a very intense time for all the students on campus.

Another big difference that I noticed between the U.S. and German university systems was registering for exams. If you are registered for a course in the U.S., then you are automatically registered for the required exams. Not in Germany! You need to enroll in a course, then half-way though the semester, you need to enroll for the exam. Being the only foreigner in my degree program, I, of course, forgot to enroll for an exam during my first semester…

Tip: Read the exam regulations (Prüfungsordnung) at the beginning of the semester, and take every word to heart. Trust me, you do not want to have to deal with the dreaded Prüfungsamt later.

5. COURSE STRUCTURE
If most of this list could be wrapped up in one sentence it would be this: Do not study in Germany if you are not independent and disciplined. This especially goes for the courses themselves, which are usually structured much differently than university courses in the U.S.
Compared to the U.S., Germans spend much less time in class and much more time doing independent study. This means that you will have to be independent in structuring your time efficiently and disciplined about doing the outside reading, studying, and research.
Tip: Keep up on your reading and studying throughout the semester! Otherwise, you will end up cramming hardcore at the end of the semester as you study for exams that make up 100% of your grade and that you know nothing about.
Do you have any other warnings for students wanting to study in Germany?
German Language, Mistranslation Monday

One afternoon, not too long ago, I was browsing Pinterest with my girlfriend from Lithuania (as stereotypical ladies do). And as you can imagine (and as evidenced by my other Mistranslation Monday posts), mistranslations are quite common when us two non-German women spend the day speaking German with each other.
Floating candles, schwebende Kerzen, schwimmende Kerzen
Anyways, as we were browsing Pinterest, my friend found a lovely centerpiece that we thought would be perfect for a winter wedding. It looked something like this:

After thinking about all the different flowers and greenery we could put in the water, we starting talking about where we could buy the floating candles – except we were speaking German, so we were saying schwebende Kerzen – the literal translation of “floating candles.”
After typing schwebende Kerzen into Amazon, however, we couldn’t find what we were looking for. Do floating candles not exist in Germany? Are they just unpopular? Are they illegal?!
About 15 minutes later, Marco (the German) came into the room, and I asked him, “Do you know where we can buy floating candles?” – except we were speaking German, so I asked, “Weißt du, wo man schwebende Kerzen kaufen kann?
He looked at us both, obviously confused. then replied “Like in Harry Potter? Do you those really exist?”
Floating candles / schwebende Kerzen
These are the kind of floating candles Marco was picturing
Like with most mistranslations, his confusion only caused us to become even more confused. After showing him some pictures of what we were talking about, however, the confusion was solved.
Schweben does mean “to float,” but unlike English floating, schweben can only happen in the air. Maybe a more accurate translation would be “levitating.”
Things don’t “float” on water in German. They swim. So, the candles we wanted weren’t schwebende Kerzen, they were schwimmende Kerzen (or just Schwimmkerzen). Lesson learned!
Floating candles

These are the candles we ended up buying, and like many things sold in Germany, the German word for the item isn’t even on the package. Instead, there is just English and French. The Germans are just left to figure it out, I guess (and foreigners are left to wonder).

Studying in Germany

81 pages. 23,937 words. 1 hour-long oral defense. Although I never thought I would be able to say this six months ago, now I can: I DID IT! I successfully completed my master’s thesis (and my master’s degree).

For other international students preparing for the final semester of their master’s degree, here are my top tips for writing a master’s thesis in Germany.

START EARLY
If you are doing a classic 4-semester Master’s program, then I suggest you begin looking for a topic and supervisor at the start of your third semester. I chose my topic based on a term paper that I enjoyed writing and wanted to explore the material more deeply. You can also choose to write a master’s thesis within a company – such positions can be found on job websites like Indeed and Stepstone.

I approached my professor in my third semester to ask him if he could supervise my master’s thesis with my chosen topic. Since I had completed a term paper for one of his classes in the previous semester, he already knew me and my writing. So, he agreed to supervise me, but first requested a research proposal (Exposé). My proposal was about four pages long and included an introduction, research question(s), methods, and a short literature review.

After my first supervisor approved my proposal, he helped me choose and contact an external secondary supervisor. Then, after my secondary supervisor agreed and approved my proposal, my fourth semester was just about to begin, and I was ready to go!

STICK TO A SCHEDULE
The best part about writing a master’s thesis? The freedom of doing your own research! The worst part about writing a master’s thesis? The freedom of doing your own research.

Unless you are writing with a company, your schedule will be pretty flexible as you write your master’s thesis. This means that it is up to you to create a daily schedule that includes plenty of time for research and writing. At the same time, however, you do not want to burn yourself out by sitting in front of a computer for 12 hours a day.

Before starting my thesis, I procrastinated by doing research into productivity. Two methods stuck out to me, both of which I used throughout the various phases of writing my thesis.

POMODORO METHOD
The Pomodoro Technique is a time-management technique that is based on 25-minute productive periods followed by five-minute breaks. If you want some group encouragement in using this method, follow the Shut Up and Write account on Twitter (or Shut Up & Write UK), which leads Pomodoro sessions for academic writers every Tuesday. And if you need to write on any other day of the week, just send them a message and request to join the private Shut Up & Write group that is active just about 24/7.

MARTINI METHOD
If you aren’t in the mood for frequent breaks and would rather just power through your thesis, then the Martini Method is for you. Set a reasonable goal in the morning, work until you achieve this goal, then relax guilt-free for the rest of the day. Supposedly, this method was named after novelist Anthony Burgess’s writing technique, which involved writing 1,000 words every day. As soon as this goal was reached (regardless of whether it took just 1 hour or 10) Burgess would stop working and relax with a dry martini.

CREATE DEADLINES
Your university will probably set a deadline for you to turn in your thesis (at my university, this is five months after registering your topic). However, unless you want to have a lot of sleepless nights at the end of the semester, you need to set incremental deadlines.

I created a spreadsheet with the final due date of my thesis and worked backwards from there. You can start by asking yourself the following questions:
How long will research/data collection take?
Do I need to conduct any time-sensitive empirical research?
How many days/weeks do I need to write each chapter?
How many weeks before the due date should I send a draft to my supervisor?

TALK TO YOUR SUPERVISOR
Your supervisor is there to help you. Sure, some supervisors may suck and not actually want to help you (or they “don’t have the time”), but in general, you shouldn’t be shy about going to supervisor for help or advice in the research and writing process. I know I could have saved myself a lot of headaches if I had just asked my professor for his professional opinion on certain research decisions early on instead of guessing and stressing about it for weeks on end.

KEEP THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE
Yes, your master’s thesis is important, and you should do you very best when writing it. However, it is just a master’s thesis. You should never let academic work stress you out so much that it effects your mental health.

While writing my master’s thesis, I got into a horrible cycle of sitting in front of my computer for over 10 hours each day. I constantly felt like my work wasn’t good enough and that I should be working even harder. After about a month of this, I forced myself to get outside each day by beginning the C25K running program. Spending just 30 minutes a day running around outside and enjoying the nature really helped alleviate my anxiety and keep things in perspective.

And that’s it! I turned in my master’s thesis at the end of November 2016, and I successfully defended my thesis on December 9, 2016. Here is a picture of me leaving my professor’s office on that day (with a face of pure joy):

What is your best tip for staying productive?

Expat Life, Working in Germany

Rain is wet. Fire is hot. Passports expire. 

I had to renew my American passport this year, and since I live in Germany, I had the option of traveling to one of the three locations in Germany: the U.S. Embassy in Berlin, the Consulate General in Frankfurt, the Consulate General in Munich, or the Consular Agency in Bremen.

[Note: US citizens over 16 years old with an undamaged passport that was issued within the last 15 years are able to renew their US passports via mail. However, you have to pay the fee via check in USD or the credit card payment authorization form. Since I didn’t have a checkbook and didn’t want to fill out this form, I chose to do this process in person.]

I live near Hamburg, the second largest city in Germany. However, there are no U.S. citizen services offered in Hamburg, so I set an entire day aside to take the trip to Bremen, which is 2 hours away by train.

Before I ramble on about my trip to the U.S. Consulate in Bremen, however, let’s start with facts of how to renew an American passport in Germany.

WHAT YOU NEED:

• Passport

• Renewal form (DS-81 or DS-11)
• Passport photo (5 cm x 5 cm)
• Application fee payment
• Return envelope for within Germany
• [If you need to change your name due to marriage] International marriage certificate
Note that if you are going to the the U.S. Embassy in Berlin, the Consulate General in Frankfurt, or the Consulate General in Munich, you will need an appointment. The Consular Agency in Bremen, only takes walk-ins (which is where I went).
For specific information, visit the U.S. Embassy website.
Now that the formalities are over with, here is my experience with renewing my passport at the U.S. consulate in Germany.

HOW I DID IT:

To give you a proper idea of what a trek it was for me to renew my U.S. passport in Germany, I let’s move through my day by time (and please excuse my potato-quality pictures – I don’t have a very nice phone).

8:06
To get to Bremen for free with my student ID (all regional transportation in Lower Saxony is free with my German student ID), I would have to take two trains. To make my first train at 8:32, I got on a bus from my apartment at 8:06.
8:20
I arrived at the train station around 8:20 and walked to the platform. Less than five minutes later, I hear an announcement over the speakers:

“The train you are waiting for is delayed 22 minutes, and since your layover was only 12 minutes, this means you are also going to miss your connecting train to Bremen. Your day is doomed.”

Okay, maybe the announcement wasn’t that dramatic, but it was not a good start to my day. The train to Bremen ran every hour, but it was January, and I wasn’t very keen on waiting outside at a crappy train station for an 52 minutes. After a frantic search on my phone, I found a train that would decrease my layover to 30 minutes.

8:54
The train that was supposed to arrive at 8:32 arrives at 8:54, and I am annoyed.

9:45
I make it to my half-way destination and have to wait for a half hour for my train to Bremen. Still annoyed.

11:05
I get to Bremen 35 minutes later than originally planned, but it’s okay. The consulate was open that day until 1:00 p.m. So, everything would be okay. Next step of the plan was to get on a tram that would take me to the Bremen airport (the U.S. consulate is across the street from the airport).

11:30
It takes another 20 minutes to actually get to the consulate from the train station. I was super nervous and also too scared to take a selfie before going in (especially since there was a camera on the doorbell).

Note that it is just a consular agency in Bremen, which means they just offer very limited services for U.S. citizens – basically just passport applications and renewals. When I walked into the office, which is on the fourth floor of the building, there were two armed German police officers waiting to greet me. They asked me why I was there, and I immediately felt like I was doing something illegal and totally stuttered, “I would like to renew my passport…” They then searched my bag (remarking that I had a lot of food with me, hahah), and told me to take a seat.

The U.S. Consular Agency in Bremen is literally just a waiting room with 20 chairs and a single woman sitting behind a bullet-proof glass window. The only other person there was sitting in front of the woman behind the window when I walked in, so I took my seat and waited for my turn.

11:45
When it’s my turn, I tell the woman what I need and hand her all of my documents. I hadn’t printed/filled out the renewal form ahead of time, so she printed one for me (which I found incredibly considerate after my horrible experiences with German bureaucracy lately). Since some other people were waiting, I filled out the form back in the waiting area while some other people took their turn at the window.

12:30
I finally leave the consulate around 12:30. My meeting was overall pretty successful, except that I made the dumb mistake of bringing what the Germans call a “biometric photo.” This is smaller than the passport photos used in American passports, so she couldn’t accept it. Luckily, she still took my other documents and agreed to hold on to them until I could mail in a new picture. Here’s me looking pleased with the whole experience after leaving:

13:00
I make it back to Bremen’s city center and walk around for a bit while I wait for the next train back to Hamburg. If you live somewhere between Bremen and one of the consulates (i.e. Frankfurt or Berlin), then I highly suggest choosing the Bremen consulate for renewing your license. You don’t have to make an appointment, it is a (if you ignore the armed German police officers) relaxed environment, and the woman that works there is very sweet.

Bremen is also a beautiful city.

13:30
I’m back on the train with another two-hour trip in front of me. You can tell from the state of my hair that it had been a very long day.

Since my new passport will arrive by mail, the woman at the consulate also invalidated my old passport by punching a bunch of holes in it.
This was actually the first passport I ever had. It accompanied on my first trip outside of the U.S., my semester abroad, and my move to Germany. But with four two-page visas and dozens of stamps, it was getting quite full.
Now I just have to sit back, relax, and wait for my new passport to come in the mail. I was told it would take about three weeks.
Have you kept your expired passports?
Studying in Germany, Working in Germany

Whether you are considering getting your degree in Germany, you are currently getting your degree in Germany, or you are just about to graduate, then you have probably wondered: What comes next?

German job search visa / Aufenthaltstitel zur Arbeitsplatzsuche


Good news! Foreigners who receive a degree from a German university are allowed to stay in the country after graduation in order to to work. However, if you are not lucky enough to have a job lined up directly after graduation, and your student visa is running out at the end of the semester, then you are eligible for the job search visa (Aufenthaltserlaubnich zur Arbeitsplatzsuche).

To understand the rules regarding German residency permits, it is best to refer to the Residence Act (Aufenthaltsgesetz). The job search visa is covered in §16(4):

Nach erfolgreichem Abschluss des Studiums kann die Aufenthaltserlaubnis bis zu 18 Monaten zur Suche eines diesem Abschluss angemessenen Arbeitsplatzes, sofern er nach den Bestimmungen der §§ 18, 19, 19a und 21 von Ausländern besetzt werden darf, verlängert werden. Die Aufenthaltserlaubnis berechtigt während dieses Zeitraums zur Ausübung einer Erwerbstätigkeit. § 9 findet keine Anwendung.

In case you can’t understand German law vocabulary, this says that foreign graduates can receive a residence permit for up to 18 months after graduation to look for a job. Not bad, huh? If this sounds like something for you, then take a look at the facts listed below.

HOW TO GET A GERMAN JOB SEARCH VISA: THE FACTS


Who the job search visa is for:
Foreigners who have successfully completed their Bachelor’s/ Master’s/PhD at a German university and want to stay in Germany to look for a job.

To apply for this permit, you need:
• University degree
• Proof of finances
• Health insurance


Things to consider:
• You may not have your official diploma before your student visa expires
I didn’t receive my official diploma until about three weeks after the oral defense of my thesis. So, if your student visa is expiring shortly after your final exam(s), then you may need to get a letter from the registrar’s office confirming that you have completed all of the necessary requirements for your degree.

• You won’t qualify for student health insurance anymore
You no longer qualify for the student rate for German public health insurance once you exmatriculate from your university after completion of your degree. So, make sure to consider your options before graduation.

• You can work while you search for a job
While you are looking for a job, you can work in a non-qualifying position (i.e. a position that wouldn’t qualify you for a work visa such as a mini- or midi-job). Thanks to Lynnae for this info!

Once you do find a job that (1) aligns with your degree qualifications and (2) pays enough to support you (as calculated by your local foreigner’s office), you will then have to get a new residency permit – either a German residency permit or an EU Blue Card. But more about that later! Good luck!

P.S. I am currently on the job search myself, so wish me luck as I look for a job that aligns with my new qualifications and pays enough to support me in the comments below! 😉

German Language, Mistranslation Monday

After almost a month of internet silence, I am back with everyone’s favorite type of post: Mistranslation Monday! Today’s Mistranslation Monday is brought to you a single seemingly simple word, balls.

Mistranslation Monday: Balls

Over Christmas and New Year’s, we rented a big house in Germany where both Marco and my families would spend the holidays together. This included both of our parents, both of our brothers, my sister-in-law, and Marco’s practically-step-brother. It was a full house, and of the 8 residents…
1 was English/German bilingual
1 could speak German and very limited English
2 could only speak German
and
4 could only speak English.

With such a mix, conversations at the dinner table each evening were… interesting, to say the least. One of the best mistanslations that came out of this linguistic mess occurred on the second day of Christmas (that’s right – Germans call December 26th “second Christmas”).

On Second Christmas, Marco’s practically-step-mother made a traditional Fränkisch meal, including venison with lingonberries, red cabbage, and pretzel dumplings. This story is about those dumplings, which look like this:

Brezelknödel/Pretzel Dumplings

Since Marco’s step-mother speaks very limited English, the way she translated the various components of this meal to my family was as follows.

Reh = Bambi (yes, she kept telling us throughout the meal that we were eating Bambi)
Blaukraut = Blue cabbage
Brezelknödel = Balls

“Balls” as a translation of Knödel was acceptable at first. She was obviously always referring to the food, and my family was all thankful that she was was putting the effort into speaking English at all. The issue was that Marco’s father was picking up on the English that she used and would then repeat her peculiar word choices.

So during our Second Christmas meal, Marco’s father was telling us all about how where he comes from (Bodensee-Region), noodles are the standard side dish for meals. Now that he lives in Nuremberg with his Fränkisch partner, however, (and I quote):

“Only balls!”

His delivery of this sentence made me burst out laughing, much to his confusion. And as I kept laughing, poor Marco was left with the task of explaining to his father that “balls” can also refer to a particular male body part.