I am a software developer from India. I recently moved to Hamburg, Germany with my family for a new job. I received some questions regarding moving to Germany/Europe from friends, relatives and acquaintances. Many times I noticed that there are a lot of confusion and mis-understanding regarding the lifestyle in Europe in general, especially from an Indian pov. There is a general belief that US and Europe work and lifestyles are same, but it differs a lot.
So I thought to share my understanding of the life here in Germany. Most of the points might be applicable to the entire Europe, not just for Germany.
- Low salaries compared to US in general. The salary ranges seems to be more balanced between lower and upper ends.
- Learning local language is must. As a software developer, I do not need German at workplace, but it is absolutely necessary for everything else(shops, restaurants, doctor etc)
- Salary ranges seems to be pre-fixed based on the role, and not very directly linked to the previous salary(unlike in India). This is based on my experience in attending interviews and LinkedIn messages from hiring managers.
- Taxes and social security insurance costs are high. Almost 40% of the gross salary will be deducted as taxes and insurances.
- Labour and services are expensive. So need to do a lot of things as DIY. This is not bad, but need to be prepared for this as it is not common in India, due to the availability of cheap labour.
- Taxi, restaurants etc are much costlier(Again from an Indian perspective)
- Expensive to own car, higher fee to get DL (especially in Germany)
- If someone is planning to bring parents to stay with them, it is almost impossible. As far as I know, it is almost impossible to get any visa other than 3 months visiting Visa even if you get PR. This is one of the most common questions asked in different social groups.
- Amazing work-life balance
- Calm and peaceful lifestyle in general
- Very good public transportation
- Good air quality and low pollution
- Very good places for those who loves walking, jogging etc
- Free and good education for kids
- Good healthcare
- Beautiful nature
- Easy access to EU countries for visits and sightseeing
- Progressive and inclusive society
- Especially Germany has good vegan options, good for vegetarians.
- Bonus point for Hamburg, Berlin and a few other states in Germany: Free half-day daycare for all children.
- Good exposure to international community. The scale might differ for different countries and cities.
So, in my opinion, it is worth moving to Germany/Europe only if long-term plan is in mind. Otherwise it doesn't make sense for most people, especially for family with kids.