Is Germany a good country to live?

It’s hard to answer this question without knowing where you come from, because ultimately, your country of origin will give you the context to understand your life in Germany.

As an Aussie, there are great things and awful things about Germany (and I’m not saying Australia is perfect by any means either).

The things I like.

  • there are good people here. Most people I meet are just very ‘good’ people. There is a strong sense of fairness and doing the right thing which I appreciate.
  • Many people think and act sustainably. Organic shopping, recycling, alternative power – it’s all in evidence here, which I think is fantastic.
  • social services are generally excellent.
  • It’s an easy country to travel from.
  • The countryside is beautiful and has many faces, and they all offer something very special.
  • For an Aussie, there is a tremendous amount of history here which is very interesting and the small university towns and cities are like postcards. Picture book pretty.
  • Most things are done efficiently and most things work well.
  • I haven’t seen a lot of FOMO type behavior here. Most of the people I know seem to be quite content with their lives and the things they have which is really refreshing to see. I’ve seen very little ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ type behavior. Compare that with Oz, where if you haven’t got at least two investment properties alongside the home you live in, you’re just not trying.

Things I don’t like.

  • There is a general sense of pessimism, not optimism here. People won’t look at a new idea and immediately embrace it. They’re more likely to criticise it and pull it apart. People distrust praise and expect to be criticised here. I have a hard time with this.
  • The German ideal of perfectionism has helped the country become the powerhouse it has, but it stops so much from happening. Even on a social level. So many people I know won’t do stuff because they try it once, discover they’re not immediately ‘good’ at it, so they stop. Perfectionism is a recipe for unhappiness because you’re always going to be looking for what’s wrong.
  • People are generally unwelcoming toward foreigners. Germans are good people sure enough, but they’re not all that friendly.
  • There is no such thing as ‘light’ here. No ‘light’ entertainment, no ‘light’ conversation…it feels as though every interaction needs to have some purpose or it’s not worth engaging in. I miss that terribly – just being around lighthearted people. If you want deep, serious and heavy, then this is the country for you.
  • For me, the obsessive need to organise and plan everything really sucks the joy out of life. Want to catch up for coffee? Cool – just let me get my diary and write you in in 4 months time. Germans love order. I enjoy a modicum of chaos, but that’s never going to happen here.
  • Most things are efficient. Until they’re not. Then they’re ridiculous and nobody has a clue about what to do.
  • Nobody in this country seems capable of admitting they’ve made a mistake. Even if you catch them in the act, they’ll deny it. It must have something to do with the perfectionism. I’ll say this again. Nobody in this country seems to be able to admit they’re at fault. I teach for a living. You can imagine how difficult this makes my life.
  • Customer service is ridiculously bad by Aussie standards. It’s nothing to stand there waiting while your cashier is having a conversation with a friend who’s just walked past. Need help in a store? Bad luck – find it yourself. Want to return something? Why – what did you do to it? Ridiculous.
  • Smokers. Smokers everywhere. I feel like I’m walking through a giant ashtray every time I step foot outside. It’s gross.

That’s my take on things off the top of my head.For an Australian, it’s a nice country, with pretty spots and good people. There’s nothing easygoing or relaxed about the place though, and if you want to grow old with a face covered with laugh lines, this may not be the country for you

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