How to relocate to Germany: IT Specialists sharing their experience

Experience is the best teacher, right? And, by the way, not only your own! We spoke to our three successful candidates, who’ve recently moved to Germany for tech jobs, about their relocation stories. So you will find how to relocate to Germany based on personal experience.

These stories are told by people from different countries, and with varying backgrounds. We hope, you’ll learn some insights and gain more confidence ahead of moving!

“Immigrants have advantages” or how German mentality can boost programmers’ productivity

it-talent-sharing-relocation-storiesMark Shapiro, Backend Developer

From Israel to Berlin

Why did you decide to find a job abroad and relocate to Europe? When and why you got that idea?

I was born in Russia, grew up in Israel, came to Germany at the age of 27 and have been living here for about 2 years. 

I knew in advance that I would move somewhere – either to Germany or Canada. I chose Germany, as friends of my parents live in Europe. They were even calling me to move to Germany, saying that there were a lot of vacancies. So when I was contacted by Zero To One Search, I was already looking to relocate.

Actually, I think I made a mistake when started working in Israel before moving  – I came to Germany 4 years later than I could.

In what German city do you live now?

In Berlin, I still work in a company where Zero to One Search recruiters placed me. The company is changing very quickly and it’s cool. So I’ve received a lot of experience working even in one company.

And what exactly is changing? 

The company has grown 8 times during the last two years. Programmers now have more impact than before. In 2017, the company earned much less, but recently we have attracted tens of millions of investments. 

What was the most difficult for you in adapting to life in a new country? Why?

It was not that difficult, as I had friends here, who could give advice, and an agent who was helping me to settle all relocation issues. My agent told me what I should do to obtain a visa, explained that it was important to make people that issue visas like you. 

I tried to get a German visa before that, but it was not successful. They just did not believe that I was ready to come to this “cold country.” By the way, I hate hot weather like in Israel. I feel better when it’s cold. 

What was the most difficult to get used to? Name, for example, three things. Maybe it was the German mentality or something else?

Not a single German programmer works in our company, the team is truly international. But I think, the German mentality suits me better. The Israeli mentality is the “eastern” mentality – everybody is always late, acts according to their own rules – I don’t like this. Here everything is as plain as day, clear and understandable. Therefore, I can be more effective as a programmer. Germans are more honest, and this is cool. I’ve read somewhere that Germans are successful because they don’t lie to themselves. 

What are the main pieces of advice you’d give yourself back in then when you were preparing for relocation?

  • Don’t settle for the lowest salary. You have to see how much a company wants to hire you and define the average salary. I made this mistake, and now I realize that I could have asked for a higher wage because they really wanted to hire me.
  • Think in advance about bureaucratic issues, like a correct translation of your diploma, finding an apartment, registration and so on. For example, I did not know that you can easily secure tax deductions for numerous expenses. Immigrants have advantages, you must know about them.
  • Beware that you will likely to get sick in your first weeks, as this is a new country and there are new microbes, which you have not got used to. I got sick when I moved.

What things, reminding you of your homeland, you have taken with you when left for a new country?

Nothing. I didn’t like Israel that much. I think it’s boring, hot, there are upgraded checks everywhere, especially, when you want to fly somewhere. This is a cool country for tourism, but not for life. I often go there and visit family, but the last time it was just terribly hot.

berlin-germany

 

Better prepare ahead: why it is important to think about moving issues in advance

it-talent-sharing-relocation-storiesBoris Yotsov, Enterprise IT Architect

From Bulgaria to Essen

Why did you decide to find a job abroad and relocate to Europe? When and why you got that idea?

  • I didn’t see opportunities to develop and earn more than I did in Bulgaria. The only option was going abroad. My current company has a presence in 8 countries, and they are really big.
  • In Bulgaria, I was not based on the company’s headquarters. In my opinion, it’s very important to work close to your manager. But in Germany, I know that I will be in the headquarters. 
  • Germany is a nice place for living. In Bulgaria, I was really well-paid. So, the reason for moving was not financial, it’s just better to live in Germany.

What was the most difficult for you in adapting to life in a new country? Why?

I am here for not so long yet. But as for now, the biggest issue is about having a permanent address. Without an address, you cannot have a bank account and a social insurance number. Without a social insurance number, you cannot start working. And you cannot put an address of a hotel or Airbnb flat. 

At the moment I live in an apartment that I’ve found at Airbnb, but my company has hired a relocation agency, so I don’t have to search for a flat alone. However, I am still not there, as I liked one or two apartments, but they did not give it to me. It is very strange because Bulgarian people would be really glad to have such a tenant like me.  

What are the main pieces of advice you’d give yourself back in then when you were preparing for relocation?

  • Be prepared for bureaucratic issues. If you start working here, you should have this social insurance number. You should know that there are private and public types of insurances. There is no such thing in Bulgaria and it was hard to understand the difference for me. Moreover, there are ten different funds to choose from.
  • Find an apartment in advance. It is also better to start searching for an apartment before coming to Germany. The difficulty for me was that in Essen, there are few places where it’s good to live and if there is a nice apartment, they rent it just for a week on average.
  • Always use a chance to work in an international team. In my previous company in Bulgaria, I worked in truly international team and that’s why there was no need to get used to cultural differences here, in Germany. I cannot say that I was surprised by something.

What things (if any), reminding you of your homeland, you have taken with you when left for a new country?:)

Nothing. I’m not in the US or China. If I want, I can take a plane today and after a couple of hours I will be in Sofia, so I am not somewhere from which it takes days or weeks to get home. 

essen-germany

 

“Open your mind and enjoy” …but take favorite food with you:)

it-talent-sharing-relocation-storiesManuel Escobar, Senior System Administrator

From Colombia to Munich

Why did you decide to find a job abroad and relocate to Europe? When and why you got that idea?

​I wasn’t looking for a job, but when I was approached by a recruiter from Zero To One Search, that possibility sounded appealing.

What was the most difficult for you in adapting to life in a new country? Why?

​I was used to driving my car everywhere despite traffic jams but that was due to a poor public transportation system in Colombia. In Germany, getting used to taking public transport was very confusing for the first time, so, sometimes it can also be a challenge.

What are the main pieces of advice you’d give yourself back in then when you were preparing for relocation?

Open your mind to all the new experiences and just enjoy it!

What things (if any), reminding you of your homeland, you have taken with you when left for a new country?:)

Sadly, I was not able to bring ingredients with me, but what I miss the most is the food. I am still trying to find some ingredients locally in order to make my favorite dishes here.

munich-germany

 


  • Have a story to share? Contact us and we will be happy to talk to you!:)
  • Looking to relocate to Germany? Check out open positions or contact us via email.


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