In previous interviews with Employland, Shyam M. Ramaprasad from Mysore, India, who is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Global Logistics and Supply Chain Management at the Kühne Logistics University (KLU) in Hamburg shared his experience of preparing for studying in Germany and finding a place to live in Germany. In this interview, he shares what he likes about life in Germany and how he prepped for it when he was still in India.
Employland: You’ve been living in Germany for a while now. Do you have advice for others who plan to relocate to Germany? What do they have to consider? What made the transition easier for you? What would you do differently if planning a life in Germany today?
Shyam Ramaprasad: The first and by far the most important suggestion would be to try your best to learn the German language – yes, you can survive with English in Germany, but life becomes so much easier when you’re trying to get home and can understand what a display board says at 2:00 in the morning when no one is around. Apart from that, you get to learn a new way of communicating. Knowing a foreign language greatly enhances your profile and expands your opportunities and gives you an edge.
Secondly, another important suggestion if you are planning to study in Germany, irrespective of the level or branch of education: take a look at DeutschFeEd, a company based in Bonn, which specializes in higher education within Germany.
I received help from DeutschFeEd for my visa, University applications and more. Universities in Germany are highly specialized and offer courses that are very specific in their respective fields, with the vast number of choices it could get rather puzzling for a person to be sure if a particular course/university is exactly what interests her/him.
As mentioned previously, my application base was scattered across Europe, hence I could not concentrate specifically towards applying to German Universities. If I could travel back in time to be better prepared, I would have contacted DeutschFeEd much earlier because the people there have a good understanding of how admissions departments work in different universities.
Lastly, I would also like to add that you simply cannot prepare for everything, you might have to deal with situations which require your courage and will; and it would only be right to be open and be willing to face the circumstances that come your way.
Employland: What was most difficult for you in adjusting to life in Germany?
Shyam Ramaprasad: I have heard of people complaining and having a hard time with regard to the food here in Germany. Personally speaking, I like the German cuisine and feel that the food in Germany is simple and unique. It is also easier to follow a ketogenic diet here if you are willing to do so. Hamburg has a rich mixture of restaurants and cafes, which specialize in cuisines such as Greek, Japanese, Turkish, Italian, Mediterranean, etc. I have not faced any difficulties with regards to food and have been able to adapt to the conditions here without any major concerns.
Living in Germany has been a humbling experience
Living in Germany has been a humbling experience. Frankly speaking, I was not well-prepared for all the challenges that were ahead of me. I learned to cook only after moving to Germany. I now understand what it’s like to feed myself 4-6 times every single day and am in awe of what my parents were able to provide me with thus far. I continue to place a lot of emphasis on sports, physical exercise and a well-balanced diet. Germany has brought about new challenges and responsibilities to take on. I am confident about my abilities and I believe that hard work, dedication and discipline enables a person to flourish in any environment.
Employland: What do you appreciate about life in Germany?
Shyam Ramaprasad: It feels like each city in Europe is a history book waiting to narrate its story. A combination of the old and the new is found in architectural masterpieces and sprawling urban infrastructures. Germany is also home to some beautiful natural landscapes. Most of my opinions are based on life in Hamburg. With its Hanseatic roots, Hamburg has exceeded my expectations so far. The location of the city along with the port and its key role in promoting trade gives us an opportunity to connect and get acquainted with international businesses, industries, clients, customers and corporations; not to mention its museums, concert halls, music and food festivals, carnivals, sporting events, competitions, fitness events, and a wild, happening nightlife. It is a truly international city consisting of people from all over the world.
The transportation infrastructure in most of the cities in Germany is outstanding
The transportation infrastructure in most of the cities in Germany is outstanding; I am simply amazed at how buses and trains operate so punctually. We can literally plan our days and schedules and execute them to near perfection without any major delays. Having stayed here for quite a while, I find that the people in Hamburg are very friendly, understanding, and willing to help in cases of distress. There is a general consensus amongst the entire population when it comes to following rules and regulations. I find the German culture to be more liberal when compared to the culture back home and appreciate it for what it is. Germany generally is a safe country for women and children, young and old.
There are plenty of opportunities for work. such as student jobs and internships, where you can invest your time and efforts
As a graduate student in Hamburg, there are plenty of opportunities for work, such as student jobs and internships, where you can invest your time and effort. This may also provide you with valuable experience and help you financially. Germany has a plethora of family owned businesses – firms known throughout the world for their technical specialization, precision and quality, yet remain traditionally owned and operated. The beer industry is one of them! Though I’m not a beer connoisseur, I can still vouch for the beer made here in Germany, since over time I have repeatedly heard rave reviews from many people who genuinely seem to know their beers inside and out. Some other things that need a special mention would be the various types of high-quality breads, chocolates, cars, watches and even Christmas! Hamburg without a doubt is a vibrant city consisting of multitudes of people, cultures and attractions, its party scene and nightlife lead to some crazy stories and memories that you will cherish for a long time to come. All in all, I am thrilled to be here and am eagerly looking forward to the future.
Employland: Last but not least, can you share with us how you prepared yourself for life in Germany? Did you research online?
There are several sources and avenues which provide information about life in Germany on the internet, including websites such as the DAAD, and video logs (VLOGS) from several individuals on YouTube such as:
Gabriel Traveler – This man is simplicity personified and he is my travel guru. After having travelled the world for the past 25 years, he is still at it and has a ton of experience with regards to budget travel, tips, risks, living life on the road and a lot more.
Hayley Alexis – I like Hayley because she is as honest as any vlogger can be, there are many vloggers who provide an American perspective on life in Germany, and she is one of them. However most people, irrespective of their nationality, can relate to a lot of things that she mentions in her vlogs.
Get Germanized – MeisterLehnsherr is yet another vlogger who explains the German culture, lifestyle, language and much more.
DontTrustTheRabbit – Hosted by Trixie. She’s from Hamburg – I like Trixie!
Employland: Thank you for sharing your views and experiences in our blog, Shyam!
Also in our blog: Not knowing certain rules, regulations or norms may cause you as an expat some trouble. What you should know to avoid 5 common trip hazards for newcomers to Germany: Expat Advice – 5 Common Banana Skins for Newcomers to Germany. This might also be interesting for you: Chris Pyak, author of the book How To Win Jobs & Influence Germans: The Expats’ Guide to a Career in Germany shares his knowledge and experience concerning expats who want to take their next career step in Germany. In this interview, Pyak talks with Employland about expats’ challenges and chances when it comes to finding a job in Germany.