Long-term Ausländer in Germany: Navigating Life Beyond Being a Guest

Living as an Ausländer (foreigner) in Germany offers a unique perspective on culture, society, and daily life. For many, the journey begins with excitement and curiosity, but as time passes, it’s common to encounter challenges that make you feel like an outsider. In this article, we’ll explore the emotions, questions, and strategies associated with becoming more than just a guest in Germany. And remember, if you ever need assistance in navigating the intricacies of German culture, Booka Local is here to help.

Feeling Like an Outsider

The experience of feeling like an outsider in a foreign land is an emotional rollercoaster. You arrive with dreams, but reality often presents hurdles. Cultural dissonance can create moments of frustration or confusion, leaving you questioning your place in this new world. The language barrier compounds this, as effective communication becomes a challenge. Moreover, navigating bureaucratic processes and paperwork can be daunting, making you feel like you’re on the outskirts of a system that isn’t built for you.

The Normalcy of Feeling Like an Outsider

Is it normal to feel like an outsider in a foreign country? Absolutely. This sentiment is part and parcel of the expat experience. Regardless of your destination, expats worldwide often share this feeling. The adjustment period is a natural part of the journey, and it’s normal to go through it as you acclimate to the new environment. While it can be challenging, it’s essential to remember that it signifies growth and adaptation.

Becoming an Insider: Is It Possible?

The dream for many Ausländer is to transition from feeling like an outsider to becoming an “insider” within the German community. Building relationships with locals and fellow expats is crucial. Genuine connections are key to feeling like part of the community. Engaging in local activities, participating in events, and contributing positively to your community can help accelerate your journey to insider status. However, it’s essential to remember that it’s not about erasing your unique identity but enriching it with the culture of your new home.

Navigating Friendships in Germany

One of the most rewarding aspects of long-term expat life is building friendships. However, it can be challenging. Seek out groups or clubs related to your interests; these often provide excellent opportunities to meet like-minded individuals. Language exchange partners are another fantastic way to make friends while improving your language skills. Also, consider attending local events and networking opportunities to expand your social circle. Friendships often form naturally when you actively engage with the community.

Things you can do to make friends in Germany:

  1. Join Local Clubs and Groups: Germany offers a wide range of clubs and interest groups, from sports and hobbies to cultural and community organizations. Joining one that aligns with your interests is an excellent way to meet like-minded individuals.
  2. Language Exchange Partners: Language exchange is a fantastic way to make friends while improving your language skills. Many Germans are open to language exchange partnerships, where you can practice German while helping them with your native language.
  3. Attend Local Events: Keep an eye out for local events, festivals, and gatherings happening in your city or neighborhood. These events provide opportunities to meet both locals and fellow expats.
  4. Participate in Sports and Fitness Activities: Enroll in sports or fitness classes, or join a local sports team. This not only helps you stay active but also introduces you to potential friends who share your interest in physical activities.
  5. Volunteer: Volunteering for a cause you’re passionate about is a great way to meet people who share your values. Germany has a strong tradition of volunteer work, so there are plenty of opportunities.
  6. Attend Cultural Workshops and Classes: Explore local culture by taking part in cooking classes, art workshops, or dance classes. These activities allow you to connect with people who appreciate arts and culture.
  7. Use Social Media and Apps: There are various social media groups and apps specifically designed for expats and newcomers in Germany. These platforms can help you connect with others in a similar situation.
  8. Cafes and Restaurants: Frequent your local cafes and restaurants, especially those with communal seating or cozy atmospheres. You might strike up conversations with regulars or staff. In some “young” and “hip” cafes, it’s not uncommon to meet some staff who speak fluent English.
  9. Networking Events: Attend professional or industry-specific networking events. Besides potential career opportunities, you can meet individuals who share your career interests.
  10. Visit Local Markets and Shops: Explore your neighborhood’s markets and shops regularly. Shop owners and vendors often become familiar faces and potential friends.
  11. Host or Attend Dinner Parties: Hosting or attending dinner parties or potluck gatherings is a great way to bond over food and conversation. Who doesn’t love a nice home-cooked meal?
  12. Use Language Learning Apps: Platforms like Meetup or Tandem are excellent for finding language exchange partners and social events tailored to language learners.
  13. Participate in Outdoor Activities: Germany offers beautiful outdoor landscapes. Join hiking, cycling, or nature enthusiasts’ groups to explore the outdoors with potential friends.
  14. Online Expat Communities: Join online forums, social media groups, or expat forums where you can connect with fellow expats and ask for advice or meetup suggestions.
  15. Attend University or Language School Events: If you’re a student or attending language courses, universities and language schools often organize social events to help students connect.
  16. Host Game Nights: Invite friends, acquaintances, and coworkers for a game night. Games can be a great icebreaker and lead to fun and laughter.

Adapting to Life in Germany

The journey to becoming more than a guest involves embracing both the positives and challenges. Focus on the aspects of German culture and life that you appreciate and enjoy. Embrace the opportunity to grow through overcoming challenges. While there will be moments of uncertainty, facing challenges with a problem-solving mindset can help you adapt to life in Germany. Each day brings opportunities for growth, and long-term life in Germany is a continuous learning process.

Embracing the Culture

To feel less like an outsider, consider adopting certain cultural practices and behaviors. Learn about German customs, traditions, and etiquette, and make an effort to incorporate them into your daily life. Language is a significant aspect of culture, so invest time in improving your language skills to connect with locals. Embracing the culture enriches your experience and enhances your sense of belonging.

The Language Barrier

One of the most significant challenges for Ausländer is the German language. Learning a new language takes time and patience, so be gentle with yourself. Enroll in language courses or hire a tutor if needed. Incorporate German into your daily life by reading, watching TV, or conversing with locals. Language is the key to understanding and engaging with the culture on a deeper level.

Mutual Respect and Understanding

Building positive relationships in Germany hinges on mutual respect. Observe how Germans show respect in their interactions, and practice polite behavior and consideration in your daily interactions. Developing an understanding of cultural norms and practices is vital. Respect is a cornerstone of building meaningful connections and feeling like a valued member of the community.

Overcoming Challenges

Challenges are inevitable, but they’re also opportunities for growth. Approach challenges as puzzles to solve, not roadblocks. Seek support from expat communities, local friends, or professionals when needed. Recognize your resilience and adaptability in navigating challenges. Overcoming difficulties strengthens your sense of belonging and accomplishment.

How Friendly Are Germans to Foreigners?

One common concern is how welcoming and friendly Germans are to foreigners. Germany has a generally welcoming atmosphere for expats and tourists, with many Germans appreciating cultural diversity and often extending their hospitality. While attitudes may vary, your openness and willingness to engage can make a significant difference in your interactions.


Being a long-term Ausländer in Germany is a transformative journey. While the feeling of being an outsider may persist, it’s not a barrier to forming meaningful connections and embracing the culture. Your unique perspective as an expat enriches both your life and the community around you. And if you ever need assistance or guidance, Booka Local is here to support your cultural journey. Embrace your role as an Ausländer, for it is a valuable and enriching chapter in your life story.


Unwritten Rules in Germany: Navigating Cultural Norms

As we venture into a new culture, the official rules and regulations are just part of the puzzle. The unwritten rules—the subtle norms that guide daily life—are equally important for understanding and integrating into a society. Germany, a land of rich history, diverse communities, and unique customs, has a wealth of these unwritten rules waiting to be discovered. In this article, we’ll explore some of the most intriguing and valuable insights into German culture.

Before we dive in, allow me to introduce you to a valuable resource for expats in Germany: Booka Local. Our startup connects expats with bilingual German-speaking translators, making the process of adapting to life in Germany more seamless and enjoyable.

Rule #1. Mind Your Own Business in Germany

In Germany, the principle of “mind your own business” is paramount. It’s a reminder that appearances can be deceiving, and people in Germany tend to respect each other’s privacy. This philosophy applies to a wide range of scenarios:

– Individual Expression: You might encounter a 1.90-meter-tall bearded individual confidently striding the streets in a mini skirt and heels. The unwritten rule? Mind your own business. Personal choices are just that—personal. You also enjoy the freedom to express yourself without being judged.

– Unique Moves: Someone transporting a sofa, kitchen table, and six wood-carved chairs inherited from great-grandma on the U-Bahn? Mind your own business. It’s not uncommon to see Berliners utilizing public transportation for unconventional purposes.

– Spontaneity: A daring individual changing into a swimsuit in Tiergarten and taking a plunge into a shallow, muddy pond at Luiseninsel? Mind your own business. It’s a moment of spontaneity in a city that embraces individuality.

– Symbolic Gestures: An intriguing sight of a (hopefully toy) gun placed on a velvet cushion, accompanied by a teddy bear and a rose in front of the Landesvertretung of Baden-Württemberg? The unwritten rule here is clear: mind your own business (and perhaps walk a little faster this time).

The overarching message is not to pass judgment on any of these scenarios but to respect the individual choices and expressions that make Germany a diverse and accepting society.

Rule #2: Respectful Silence and Quiet Hours in Germany

Germans take their “Ruhezeiten” (quiet hours) seriously. These designated times for tranquility are woven into the fabric of daily life, and adhering to them is a cultural norm that fosters harmony:

– Peaceful Neighborhoods: Residential areas adhere to quiet hours. During the week and on Saturdays, the quiet hours in Germany are usually between 10 pm and 6 am. During these times, noise should be minimized to ensure neighbors can enjoy their peace.

– Public Spaces: Public transportation, including trams, buses, and subways, also observes the principle of quietness. Passengers maintain a respectful silence during these periods to allow everyone to travel in peace.

– Workplace Culture: The concept of “Silent Work Zones” in offices is another testament to the importance of tranquility. Employees respect these zones, which are designated for focused, noise-free work.

The unwritten rule here is clear: respecting quiet hours is a fundamental part of German culture, emphasizing the importance of peaceful coexistence.

Rule #3: Acceptance of Individuality and Diversity

Germany’s welcoming attitude toward diversity and individuality is one of its most defining features. Whether you’re a high-powered attorney, an avant-garde artist, or something entirely different, you’ll find acceptance here:

– Embracing Differences: Germans celebrate individuality and are known for their openness to different lifestyles and choices. Whether it’s unconventional attire, unconventional professions, or unique hobbies, diversity is embraced.

– Tolerance and Respect: The unwritten rule is clear: respect and tolerance are paramount. By accepting differences without judgment, Germans foster an environment where everyone can be themselves. (refer back to Rule #1)

– Unity in Diversity: Germany’s diverse communities contribute to its rich cultural tapestry. It’s a place where you’ll encounter a spectrum of perspectives, all valued and appreciated.

Rule #4: Table Manners and Dining Etiquette

Like many cultures, Germans have their own dining etiquette, encompassing both written and unwritten rules:

– Finish Your Plate: One unwritten rule is to finish your plate. Germans value the concept of “wenig verschwenden” (waste as little as possible). Wasting food is seen as disrespectful, so it’s customary to eat what’s on your plate.

– Taking Leftovers Home: If you can’t finish your meal, don’t fret. It’s acceptable to request a “doggy bag” and take leftovers home. Reducing food waste is a shared responsibility.

– Table Manners: When dining, keep your hands on the table (but not your elbows). It’s a sign of attentiveness and engagement in the meal. Saying “Guten Appetit” (enjoy your meal) before you start eating is also a polite practice.

– Sharing with Others: In Germany, it’s not uncommon to share dishes, especially in casual settings. Passing a plate of food to your fellow diners is a sign of camaraderie. But of course, you have to ask the other person before sticking your fork into their food.

Understanding and respecting these customs enhances your dining experience and showcases your appreciation for German culture.

Rule #5: Language and Respect in Germany

Language plays a pivotal role in cultural integration and building relationships in Germany:

– Speaking German: While many Germans speak English, making an effort to speak German is highly appreciated. It shows respect for the local culture and demonstrates your willingness to connect with the community. But if you struggle to express yourself in important appointments, you can always book a local helper here.

– Informal Address: Among younger generations, it’s customary to use “du” (the informal “you”) rather than the more formal “Sie” when addressing each other. This informality signifies friendliness and openness. However, police officers may be an exception, warranting the use of “Sie”. What about older neighbours or the lady at the Bürgeramt? The advice from the founder of Booka Local, Mei Chi Lo, “when unsure, try “Sie” first. If they think it’s too formal, they will let you know.”

Section 6: Germany’s Friendliness to Foreigners Is Germany friendly to foreigners? The answer is a resounding yes. Germans are known for their warm welcome and hospitality:

– Welcoming Atmosphere: Whether you’re an expat, a traveler, or a newcomer, Germany has a welcoming atmosphere. People are generally friendly and eager to engage with visitors.

– Embracing Diversity: Germany’s diverse and multicultural society means that people from all backgrounds are part of the community. This diversity enriches the country and makes it an inclusive place for everyone.

– Integration Support: Startups like Booka Local play a crucial role in supporting the integration of expats by connecting them with bilingual German-speaking translators. These services make it easier to navigate the intricacies of daily life in Germany, including communication and bureaucracy.

Conclusion: Unwritten rules in Germany guide the way of life and provide valuable insights into the culture. From respecting personal choices to embracing diversity, these norms shape the country’s welcoming and inclusive atmosphere. By understanding and following these unwritten rules, you can enhance your experience as an expat or traveler in Germany. Remember that your journey in Germany can be further enriched by utilizing services like Booka Local, which facilitate communication and cultural integration.

Germany’s unwritten rules may differ from what you’re accustomed to, but they open the door to a deeper understanding of this remarkable country and its people. As you embark on your journey in Germany, may these insights guide you toward meaningful connections and a more fulfilling experience.


Tipping in Germany: A Guide for Expats and Travellers

Tipping, an often underestimated social practice, can be a complex dance to navigate when traveling to a new country. In Germany, known for its rich culture and meticulous attention to detail, understanding the nuances of tipping is essential for both expats and travelers. Whether you’re dining at a local restaurant, catching a taxi, or enjoying a coffee at a café, knowing when, how much, and whether to tip can make your experience smoother and more enjoyable.

At the same time, it’s worth highlighting a valuable resource for expats in Germany: Booka Local. Our startup connects expats with bilingual German-speaking translators, making your transition to life in Germany more seamless. Now, let’s delve into the world of tipping in Germany and uncover the answers to some common questions.

Is Tipping Expected in Germany?

When you sit down at a restaurant or receive a service in Germany, the question often arises: Is tipping expected? The answer is generally yes. Tipping is customary and appreciated in Germany, though the culture surrounding it differs from what you might find in other countries.

Germans value the idea of service quality and fair wages, which has influenced their tipping practices. While tipping is expected, it’s not necessarily extravagant. Locals typically tip to show appreciation for good service, but it’s not seen as obligatory. You won’t find waitstaff glaring at you if you forget to leave a tip, but they will certainly appreciate your gesture of gratitude.

How Much Do You Tip in Germany?

The next question that often arises is, “How much do you tip in Germany?” Tipping percentages in Germany are generally lower compared to countries like the United States, where tipping 15-20% is customary. Here’s a breakdown of typical tipping practices in various scenarios:

  • Restaurants: In restaurants, it’s common to round up the bill or leave a tip of about 5-10% of the total. For exceptional service, you might consider leaving a bit more, but there’s no need to feel pressured into a larger tip.
  • Cafés: When you grab a coffee or snack at a café, rounding up to the nearest Euro is appreciated. For instance, if your coffee costs €2.50, you can leave €3.
  • Taxis: For taxi rides, rounding up to the nearest convenient amount is customary. If your fare is €8.50, rounding up to €10 is a polite way to tip.

Keep in mind that Germans are quite precise when it comes to tipping. If your bill is €22.50, leaving €25 shows thoughtfulness. It’s worth noting that tipping in Germany isn’t limited to food and transportation. You might also tip hairdressers, tour guides, and hotel staff for exceptional service, using similar principles.

Is it Rude to Not Tip in Germany?

One question that often concerns travelers and expats is whether it’s considered rude not to tip in Germany. While tipping is customary, it’s not considered rude to abstain from tipping in cases where you’re dissatisfied with the service. However, it’s essential to differentiate between withholding a tip due to poor service and simply forgetting to tip. In the latter case, it’s more about being polite and showing appreciation rather than an obligation.

Germans appreciate polite gestures, so even if the service was adequate and you’re unsure about whether to tip, erring on the side of leaving a small tip is usually appreciated. It’s a way to say thank you, and it rarely goes unnoticed.

Tipping Practices in Germany

Understanding how to leave a tip correctly is crucial. In restaurants, if you’re paying with cash, simply leave the extra amount on the table when you settle the bill. You can also signal the waiter that no changes are needed (meaning, the charges are the tips), when the cash is handed over to the waiter directly. If you’re paying by card, you can tell the waiter the total amount you’d like to pay, including the tip, and they will charge your card accordingly.

It’s essential to note that in Germany, tips are typically shared among the staff, so your tip goes beyond just the person who served you. This practice helps ensure that everyone working in the establishment benefits from good service.

What Happens if You Don’t Tip the Waiter?

While it’s not considered rude to skip a tip for subpar service, it’s crucial to understand that tipping can be a part of waitstaff’s income in Germany. If you consistently don’t tip when the service is decent, it may affect your relationship with the staff. The staff may remember you as a customer who doesn’t tip, which could influence your future experiences at the same establishment (unless the food and service are really unimaginably bad and you do not plan to visit this restaurant again).

However, this doesn’t mean you should feel obligated to tip when the service is genuinely poor. In such cases, it’s more important to provide feedback politely and explain why you’re dissatisfied. You can be direct with them. Trust us, they can take it.

Is 10 Percent a Good Tip?

While a 10 percent tip is considered standard in many countries, including Germany, the notion of a “good tip” can vary depending on your perspective and the context. Germans often view a 10 percent tip as reasonable and polite. However, feel free to adjust the percentage based on your satisfaction with the service and your budget.

For excellent service, you might consider leaving more than 10 percent as a sign of appreciation. Likewise, if you’re dining with a large group, it’s common to leave a slightly larger tip.

Who Gets the Money When You Tip?

When you leave a tip in a restaurant or any service establishment, it doesn’t typically go directly to your waiter or service provider. Instead, tips are often pooled and distributed among the staff. This practice ensures that everyone, from cooks to servers, benefits from the tips.

In some places, tips may be divided according to a specific formula that considers each employee’s role and responsibilities. This collaborative approach emphasizes teamwork and encourages all staff members to provide a high level of service.

When Should You Not Tip?

While tipping is a common practice in Germany, there are situations where it’s not expected or necessary. Knowing when not to tip can be just as important as knowing when to tip:

  • Fast Food and Self-Service: In fast-food restaurants (like, the one with the big “M” sign) or establishments where you order at the counter and clear your table yourself, tipping is not expected.
  • Public Transportation: When using public transportation like buses, trams, or subways, tipping is not customary. However, you may find some travelers rounding up their fare for convenience.
  • Retail Stores: Tipping is not expected when shopping in retail stores.
  • Government Services: There’s no need to tip government employees, such as postal workers or government office clerks. (It also looks super awkward if you try)

By being aware of these situations, you can navigate tipping in Germany with ease and ensure that you’re showing appreciation appropriately.


Tipping in Germany is a thoughtful gesture that reflects your appreciation for good service. While it’s expected in many situations, it’s not an onerous obligation. Germans value quality service and fair wages, so tips are often seen as a way to acknowledge a job well done. Understanding the nuances of tipping in Germany can enhance your travel or expat experience and help you engage with the local culture more effectively.

Remember that your experience in Germany can be further improved by utilizing services like Booka Local. Our startup connects expats with bilingual German-speaking translators, making it easier to navigate the intricacies of daily life in Germany, including communication and cultural nuances. As you explore the diverse landscapes and cultural experiences that Germany has to offer, may your understanding of tipping practices enhance your enjoyment of this remarkable country.

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Cultural Etiquette in Germany: Do’s and Don’ts for Foreigners

Germany is a country renowned for its rich culture, precision, and traditions. As an international visitor or expatriate, understanding and respecting the cultural etiquette in Germany is essential for a smooth and pleasant stay. In this guide, we’ll explore the do’s and don’ts to help you navigate social situations in Germany with ease.

The Do’s:

1. Greetings Matter:

  • Do offer a firm handshake with direct eye contact when meeting someone. This shows respect and confidence.

2. Punctuality is Key:

  • Do arrive on time for appointments, meetings, and social gatherings. Germans value punctuality and consider it a sign of respect.
Credits: 9GAG

3. Mind Your Titles:

  • Do use formal titles like “Herr” (Mr.) and “Frau” (Mrs.) followed by the person’s last name when addressing individuals, especially in professional settings.

4. Recycling is a Must:

  • Do participate in Germany’s strict recycling system. Separating waste into different bins is not only eco-friendly but also expected.

5. Respect Quiet Hours:

  • Do observe “quiet hours” in residential areas, which are typically from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm and after 10:00 pm. Loud activities during these times are considered impolite.

6. Bring Cash:

  • Do carry cash, as many smaller businesses may not accept credit or debit cards. Cash is still widely used in everyday transactions.

Are you new in Germany and don’t speak German yet but need face the bureaucracy here? Do not worry, we’ve got you! Book a bilingual helper to assist you with in-person appointments, phone calls, paperwork and other tasks requiring German!

The Don’ts:

1. Don’t Be Late:

  • Don’t be tardy, as being late is seen as disrespectful and inconsiderate in German culture.

2. Skip the Small Talk:

  • Don’t initiate small talk with strangers, especially in public places like public transportation. Germans tend to keep to themselves in such situations.

3. Avoid Loud Conversations:

  • Don’t engage in loud or animated conversations in public spaces like restaurants. Germans appreciate a quiet and calm atmosphere.

4. Don’t Joke About History:

  • Avoid making jokes about sensitive historical topics like World War II and the Holocaust. These subjects are treated with the utmost seriousness in Germany.

5. Don’t Assume Familiarity:

  • Don’t use first names unless invited to do so. Germans value a certain level of formality, especially in initial interactions.

6. No Open-Ended Invitations:

  • Don’t extend open-ended invitations. Germans prefer specific plans, so be clear about dates, times, and locations when making arrangements.

By adhering to these do’s and don’ts of cultural etiquette in Germany, you’ll not only show your respect for local customs but also enhance your experience while living or visiting this fascinating country. Remember, understanding and embracing the culture is key to building positive relationships and enjoying your time in Germany to the fullest. Gute Reise! (Safe travels!)


Taxation and Social Security in Germany: What International Employees Need to Know

As an international employee in Germany, understanding the taxation and social security system is crucial to ensure compliance and make the most of your earnings. Navigating these areas can be challenging, especially if you’re not fluent in the German language. In this blog post, we will explore the key aspects of taxation and social security in Germany for international employees. Additionally, we will introduce Booka Local, an online platform that provides bilingual helpers to assist internationals with language-related tasks, offering valuable support in various scenarios.

Taxation in Germany:

  1. Tax Residence: Germany follows the principle of worldwide taxation, meaning that residents are generally subject to taxation on their worldwide income. Understand the criteria for tax residence and how it impacts your tax obligations.
  2. Income Tax: Learn about the progressive income tax rates in Germany, tax brackets, deductions, and exemptions available to reduce your taxable income.
  3. Tax Identification Number (TIN): Discover the importance of obtaining a TIN (Steueridentifikationsnummer) and how to apply for one if you don’t have it already.
  4. Tax Return: Gain insights into the tax return process, key deadlines, and the potential benefits of filing a tax return, including the possibility of claiming tax refunds.
Credits: 9GAG

Social Security in Germany:

  1. Health Insurance: Germany has a mandatory health insurance system. Explore the different types of health insurance available, such as statutory health insurance (Gesetzliche Krankenversicherung) and private health insurance (Private Krankenversicherung).
  2. Pension Contributions: Understand the pension system in Germany and the contributions required. Learn about the possibility of receiving a pension refund upon leaving Germany, if applicable.
  3. Unemployment Insurance: Discover the benefits and coverage provided by the German unemployment insurance system (Arbeitslosenversicherung).

Introducing Booka Local:

Booka Local is an online platform specifically designed to assist internationals in Germany who may face language-related challenges. It connects international employees with bilingual helpers who can offer support with a variety of language-related tasks, including:

  1. Tax Assistance: Booka Local’s bilingual helpers can assist with interpreting tax forms, explaining tax-related terminology, and helping you understand your tax obligations.
  2. Social Security Guidance: Get guidance on navigating the social security system in Germany, understanding the different benefits available, and filling out the necessary forms.
  3. Document Translation: Booka Local helpers can assist with translating essential documents such as contracts, official correspondence, and insurance forms, ensuring accurate comprehension.
  4. Communication Support: Whether it’s making phone calls to government offices or scheduling appointments with tax advisors, Booka Local can bridge the language gap and facilitate effective communication.

Understanding taxation and social security in Germany is vital for international employees to ensure compliance and maximize their financial well-being. Additionally, services like Booka Local provide invaluable assistance to internationals who may face language-related challenges in various aspects of their lives in Germany. By leveraging these resources, international employees can navigate the intricacies of taxation and social security with confidence, allowing them to focus on their professional and personal endeavors in their new home.

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Study in Germany on a Budget: Tips for International Students

Studying abroad is a dream for many students around the world. Germany is a popular destination for international students due to its world-class education system, diverse culture, and affordable living costs. However, it can still be expensive to study in Germany, especially for international students who may have to pay higher tuition fees. In this blog post, we will share some tips on how to study in Germany on a budget.

Research Scholarships and Grants

Many universities in Germany offer scholarships and grants to international students. It is important to do your research and find out what kind of scholarships are available and what their requirements are. You can find information about scholarships on the university website or by contacting the International Office. Additionally, you can also look for external scholarships from organizations or foundations that support international students.

Choose Affordable Accommodation

One of the biggest expenses for students in Germany is accommodation. However, there are affordable options available such as student dormitories, shared apartments, or homestays. You can find information about accommodation options on the university website or through online portals such as WG-Gesucht or Studenten-WG. It is important to book your accommodation early to secure a spot and avoid higher prices.

Use Public Transportation

Public transportation in Germany is efficient and affordable. Many cities have discounted student tickets or semester tickets that allow unlimited travel within the city. You can save money by using public transportation instead of taxis or renting a car.

If you are a new student in Germany and do not speak fluent German yet, we can help you navigate the German bureaucracy. You can book a bilingual helper to accompany you to appointments or to make phone calls requiring German for you.

Cook Your Own Meals

Eating out in Germany can be expensive, especially in big cities. However, you can save money by cooking your own meals. Many universities have shared kitchens for students to use, and there are also affordable supermarkets such as Aldi or Lidl. Cooking your own meals is also a great way to experience German culture and try new recipes.

Take Advantage of Student Discounts

Many museums, theaters, and cultural events in Germany offer student discounts. It is important to always carry your student ID with you and ask for discounts when purchasing tickets. Additionally, many restaurants and cafes offer student discounts or special menus for students.

Studying in Germany can be a life-changing experience for international students. By following these tips, you can save money and make the most of your time in Germany. It is important to plan ahead and budget wisely to ensure a successful and enjoyable study abroad experience.


Dealing with Homesickness: Coping Strategies for International Parents and Their Children in Germany

Moving to a new country can be an exciting adventure, but it can also be a difficult and emotional experience, especially when it comes to homesickness. Homesickness is a common experience for international parents and their children in Germany, as they may miss their family, friends, and the familiarity of their home country. In this blog post, we will discuss some coping strategies for international parents and their children to deal with homesickness while living in Germany. We will also talk about how Booka Local, an online platform providing translation services to expats, can help you integrate better in Germany.

Acknowledge and Validate Feelings

The first step in coping with homesickness is to acknowledge and validate your feelings. It’s okay to miss your home country and your loved ones, and it’s important to let yourself feel these emotions. Encourage your child to express their feelings and reassure them that it’s okay to feel homesick.

Stay Connected with Family and Friends

Back home Staying connected with family and friends back home is crucial for coping with homesickness. Make sure you schedule regular video calls, write letters, and send care packages to stay connected with loved ones. This will give you a sense of familiarity and provide a reminder of your home country.

Create a Comforting Environment

Creating a comforting environment can help alleviate feelings of homesickness. This can include decorating your home with familiar items, such as photos and artwork from your home country, cooking familiar meals, or listening to music from back home. This will help you feel more comfortable and provide a sense of familiarity.

If you are new to Germany and do not speak fluent German yet, you can book a local who can to tasks requiring german for you. For example, you can hire someone to accompany you to appointments to do the talkings or make phone calls for you. Our goal is to help you navigate through the heavy bureaucracy in Germany and make it easier for you to settle.

Explore Your New Home Country

Exploring your new home country is an excellent way to combat homesickness. Take the time to explore the local area, try new foods, and immerse yourself in German culture. Encourage your child to join in and participate in new experiences, such as visiting local museums or attending festivals.

Build a Support System

Building a support system is essential for coping with homesickness. Reach out to local expat groups or online forums where you can connect with other families who are going through similar experiences. This will give you a network of support, and your child can make friends with other expat children, which can be very helpful for them.

In conclusion, dealing with homesickness is a common experience for international parents and their children in Germany. However, with the right coping strategies, it’s possible to manage and overcome these feelings. Acknowledge and validate your feelings, stay connected with family and friends back home, create a comforting environment, explore your new home country, and build a support system. Remember that homesickness is a natural feeling, and with time and effort, it will become easier to manage.


How to Help Your Child Adjust to German Culture: Advice for International Parents In Germany

Moving to a new country can be a challenging experience for both parents and children. This is especially true for international parents in Germany who are raising children in a different culture. Adjusting to a new culture can be difficult for children, and parents may not always know how to help their child navigate these challenges. In this blog post, we will explore some advice for international parents on how to help their child adjust to German culture.

Learn About German Culture

The first step in helping your child adjust to German culture is to learn as much as you can about it. This includes understanding the customs, traditions, and values that are important to Germans. This will help you better understand your child’s experiences and the cultural differences that they may encounter.

Encourage Language Learning

Language is a crucial aspect of cultural integration, and learning German will help your child feel more comfortable in their new environment. Encourage your child to attend language classes, watch German TV shows, and read German books. If you can, try to learn German alongside your child, so you can practice together.

You might experience language barriers when you are new in Germany. We are here to help you navigate the tough German bureaucracy. Simply book a bilingual helper to do tasks requiring German like attending in-person appointments with you or making phone calls requiring German for you.

Find Activities for Your Child to Participate In

One of the best ways for your child to integrate into German culture is to participate in activities that are popular among German children. This can include sports, music lessons, or other extracurricular activities. Not only will this help your child make friends, but it will also provide them with an opportunity to experience German culture firsthand.

Encourage Open Communication

It’s essential to encourage open communication with your child, so they feel comfortable expressing their feelings and experiences. Let your child know that it’s okay to feel homesick or to miss their friends and family back home. Encourage them to share their experiences with you, and be prepared to offer support and guidance when needed.

Make Connections with Other International Families

Connecting with other international families in Germany can be a great way to find support and build a sense of community. Seek out local expat groups or online forums where you can connect with other families who are going through similar experiences. This will give your child an opportunity to make friends with other expat children and provide you with a network of support.

Credits: Meme Base

In conclusion, helping your child adjust to German culture may take time and patience, but with the right approach, it can be a positive experience. By learning about German culture, encouraging language learning, finding activities for your child to participate in, fostering open communication, and connecting with other international parents in Germany, you can help your child feel more comfortable and integrated into their new home.


Work-life balance in Germany: How to enjoy your free time like a local

Germany is known for its strong work ethic and efficiency, but it’s also a country that values a healthy work-life balance. In fact, the country has some of the shortest working hours in Europe, with an average of 35 hours per week. This means that the work-life balance in Germany is desirable for locals, and as an expat, you can learn to strive for the same. If you don’t speak fluent German yet, it might be a little less easy to make the most out of your free time due to bureaucracy stress. Booka Local can help you with that. Find out more about it and some tips on how to enjoy your free time like a local.

Make plans in advance

Plan your weekends in advance Germans are known for their love of planning and organization, and this extends to their free time as well. To make the most of your weekends, plan ahead and research fun activities or events in your area. Whether it’s a trip to a nearby city or a visit to a local museum, having a plan will help you make the most of your time.

Credits: TeePublic

Join a sports club

Join a sports club or group Sports are a big part of German culture, and joining a local sports club or group is a great way to meet new people and stay active. Whether you enjoy football, tennis, or hiking, there are plenty of options available. Plus, most clubs and groups are affordable and welcoming to newcomers.

Explore the nature

Enjoy nature Germany is home to some of the most beautiful natural landscapes in Europe, from the Black Forest to the Bavarian Alps. Take advantage of this by exploring the great outdoors. Go for a hike, a bike ride, or simply pack a picnic and enjoy a day in the park. You’ll not only get some exercise, but you’ll also have the chance to relax and recharge.

Take part in events

Embrace cultural events Germany is also known for its rich cultural heritage, and there are plenty of festivals, concerts, and other events that celebrate this. From Oktoberfest to Christmas markets, there is always something to see and do. Make an effort to attend some of these events, as they are a great way to learn more about German culture and meet new people.

If you struggle with language barriers at German offices, you can book a bilingual helper to accompany you there to do the talkings. This way you can get your work done smoothly and enjoy your free time stressfreely.

Travel to other European countries

Take advantage of your vacation time Germans take their vacation time seriously, and you should too. Make sure to use your vacation days to explore other parts of the country or even travel to other European destinations. Not only will this help you relax and recharge, but it will also give you the chance to learn more about other cultures and see new places.

In conclusion, while Germans value hard work and efficiency, they also know how to enjoy their free time. By following these tips, you can learn to do the same and perfectionate your work-life balance in Germany. Whether it’s through sports, nature, cultural events, or travel, there are plenty of ways to relax and recharge while living in Germany.


Weird Laws in Germany: A Guide for International Visitors

Germany is a beautiful country with a rich history, culture, and architecture. However, it
is also home to some peculiar laws that may seem unusual to visitors. In this article,
we’ll explore some of the weird laws in Germany and provide legal considerations for
international visitors. We’ll also discuss the role of translators and interpreters in helping
visitors navigate language barriers when interacting with government offices.

At Booka Local, we understand the importance of cultural integration and making life
easier for the international community. Our platform provides a simple solution for
international individuals to book bilingual German speakers as translators. This helps
visitors stay safe and avoid penalties when interacting with government offices.

Weird Laws in Germany

While Germany is a modern and progressive country, it has some laws that might seem
strange to visitors. Here are a few examples:

  1. Dancing is not allowed on certain holidays, such as Good Friday and All Saints’
  2. Winter tires are required on cars during certain months, typically from October to
  3. Noisy activities, such as mowing the lawn or vacuuming, are prohibited on
    Sundays and public holidays.
  4. It is illegal to run out of gas on the Autobahn.
  5. It is illegal to recycle incorrectly, and fines can be imposed for mixing different
    types of waste.

Legal Considerations for International Visitors
As an international visitor, it is essential to be aware of local laws and regulations. Here
are some legal considerations that you should keep in mind:

  1. Always carry identification: In Germany, it is mandatory to carry identification at
    all times. Not having identification can result in fines.
  2. Be aware of local customs and traditions: Different regions in Germany may have
    unique customs and traditions that visitors should respect.
  3. Adhere to traffic laws: Germany has strict traffic laws, and visitors should make
    sure to familiarize themselves with them before driving.
  4. Purchase health insurance: Germany has mandatory health insurance for its
    residents. Visitors should purchase health insurance before arriving in Germany
    to avoid high medical bills.
  5. Avoid jaywalking: Jaywalking is illegal in Germany and can result in fines

The Role of Translators and Interpreters in Navigating Language Barriers
Language barriers can be a significant hurdle for international visitors when interacting
with government offices in Germany. Translators and interpreters can help visitors
understand local laws and regulations, as well as ensure that they are properly
represented in any legal or administrative proceedings. At Booka Local, we offer a
platform for booking qualified and experienced translators and interpreters, providing
visitors with language assistance to navigate any language barriers they may encounter.

Frequently Asked Questions about Laws in Germany

  1. Is it illegal to take pictures of people in Germany?
    In general, it is legal to take pictures of people in Germany, as long as it is done in a
    public place and not for commercial purposes. However, there are some exceptions. For
    example, taking pictures of someone without their consent in a private setting is illegal
    and can result in a fine or even imprisonment. It is also illegal to take pictures of people
    in certain sensitive areas such as airports and train stations.
  2. Is sharing private photos illegal?
    Sharing private photos without the person’s consent is illegal in Germany and can result
    in legal consequences. This is known as “Revenge Porn” and is a violation of a person’s
    privacy rights. If someone shares private photos of you without your consent, it is
    important to report it to the authorities.
  3. Is Germany a one-party consent?
    In Germany, the recording of conversations is generally only legal if all parties involved
    have given their consent. This means that if you want to record a conversation, you
    must ask for permission from all parties involved beforehand. If you record a
    conversation without the other party’s consent, you may face legal consequences.
  4. Is it illegal to post a picture of a dead person?
    In general, it is not illegal to post pictures of a dead person in Germany. However, it is
    important to respect the privacy and dignity of the deceased and their family. Posting
    pictures of a dead person without their family’s consent may result in legal
  5. Is it illegal to have inappropriate pictures?
    Inappropriate pictures, such as child pornography or revenge porn, are illegal in
    Germany and can result in severe legal consequences. If you come across inappropriate
    pictures or receive them from someone, it is important to report it to the authorities
  6. Is it illegal to jaywalk in Germany?
    Jaywalking is illegal in Germany, and you can be fined for crossing the street outside of
    designated areas. It is important to always use crosswalks and wait for the signal to
  7. Can you drink alcohol in public in Germany?
    Drinking alcohol in public is generally allowed in Germany, as long as it is not causing a
    disturbance. However, there may be local laws that prohibit public drinking in certain
  8. Is it legal to drive barefoot in Germany?
    It is legal to drive barefoot in Germany, but it is not recommended for safety reasons. It
    is better to wear proper shoes while driving.
  9. Are there any restrictions on smoking in Germany?
    Smoking is prohibited in many public places in Germany, including restaurants, bars, and
    public transportation. There are also restrictions on smoking in outdoor public areas,
    such as parks and playgrounds.
  10. Is it legal to use a dashcam in Germany?
    Using a dashcam in Germany is legal, but there are some restrictions. The camera must
    not record audio, and you must have a clear sign in your car indicating that you are
    using a dashcam. It is also important to respect other people’s privacy and not record
    their license plates or faces without their consent.

    In conclusion, visitors should be aware of local regulations and laws in Germany, and
    take steps to stay informed and avoid penalties or fines. Translators and interpreters
    can provide valuable assistance in navigating language barriers when interacting with
    government offices. At Booka Local, we are committed to making life easier for the
    international community by providing a platform for booking qualified and experienced
    translators and interpreters. Stay safe and enjoy your time in Germany!