Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Germany at a Glance!

With 2 days left to leave the land of my dreams, i thought i should be sharing some useful info for the benefit of others keen on visiting Germany in the near future !!


The first thing that often strikes a traveller is the currency there...i may be wrong though..)


Germans follow Euros...Now 1 euro often falls between 51-63 rupees..( at least in the last one year, the variation was like this.! )


To know the exact conversion rates whenever you decide to travel, visit:


The best and safest way is to bring a Euro card along, that can be easily received from most of the reputed Indian banks, ICICI for example!
Your credit card may fail to work at many places!!

Be sure to have transactions from only those ATM's which have associations with your respective Indian bank, otherwise you may end up losing a lot of money as the currency exchange fees ..

I'm emphasizing on this because i have lost a lot of money (1.5 euro per transaction), everytime i used to do transaction from my Euro card..(

Next it is very important to understand the Economy of Germany. Till date, Germany is the largest European economy, and the third largest in the world -after US and Japan!

Some body may question why is it important as a tourist....to give you an idea why Germans feel so self sufficient here that they hardly understand the international language English!!


Who wil be the sufferer..certainly not the Germans..Will give you a live example...Today i and my friend Geeta went to de-register ourselves from Deutschland..The incharge at foreign affairs could not even understand the purpose of our visit...!!


Ultimately we used certain signs to convey our purpose..!

So what is the remedy..Atleast be in contact with those who understand German a bit..or carry a mini English-German dictionary for translating some basic words..

A major persistent issue of concern here is the high unemployment rate..

Germany's government runs a restrictive fiscal policy and has cut numerous regular jobs in the public sector..



Your HR or may be you will have to work real hard to prove the German embassy, what special skill set you've which they can't find in their own folks...

Even if you get through, you'll end up contributing a good chuck of your salary for the National unemplyment fund..But then i assure you..there is no such bigger wonder than working here..Germany is well connected to other European countries...And you will surely love that!!
A good way to emerge as a winner is to bargain for your basic onsite salary in the beginning..especially for those in the IT profession!


Another worthwhile thing to know beforehand are the important states of Germany!


The ten largest cities in Germany are:

Berlin (capital of Germany)



Bremen


Let me share some Do's and Don'ts:

1. Use formal pronouns especially when talking to people older than you..The people here are highly courteous..!


2. They are very punctual so dont shy to apologise if you are late!


3. Very thorough in their work, and at the top of it, very helpful..no compromises on quality..If you can't achieve something in a particular timespan, dont worry they will move the deadline further!


4. Shaking hands is the established form of greeting.
Take the other hand out of your pockets and look into the person's eyes.


5. They speak their mind immediately, dont feel offended!
Trust me, there will never be a personal assault!


6. Good to carry a small gift when invited for lunch /dinner.

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7. They exhibit a lot of table manners. Wish "Güten Appetit" before eating..
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8. Germans are used to rounding up...but follow this only for cents..not for Euros..unless you are too generous!
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9. The GSM emergency numbers are the same. 112 ..though by God's grace, i never had to try that..
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10. Passport photographs stand a very high chance of being rejected, unles these meet the high quality standards here..)
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11. Most of the grocery shops are closed on Sundays..unlike in India..So be prepared to have some time left for shopping on Saturdays!
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12. The garbage here needs to be segregated and has to be thrown in differen bins ..primarily glass, paper, waste and packaging..
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13. The chemist shops won't give you medicines unless they have been prescribed from a German Doctor..The fees of the Doctor is at times equivalent to your India trip cost..But the good part is it can be easily reimbusred through medical insurance here!!
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14 .The most amazing observation for us here was that even the normal water was being charged in a restaurant..even if the owners of the eating joint are themselves Indian..!!
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So friends......dont ever miss an opportunity to Germany....Hope you enjoy Germany's multi-faceted appeal to the fullest!
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For this Deutschland is Simply Inspiring!!!

17 comments:

Anjali Damerla said...

If I ever plan to visit Germany, I will definitely re-read this post of yours.
Good info.

Anjali

Mukul said...

Nice informative post. Must read for anyone coming to Germany for first time.

Couple of questions though,

1.How easy is it to get a cell phone?

2.How costly is it to call India?

3.Is language a really big hurdle?

4.How difficult is it to rent an apartment? Do they also have credit history?

Thanks once again

Prashant said...

Very useful tips...surely will be helpful to people visiting Germany in future…Your blog has brought Germany more closer to me…Hope you get many opportunities to visit different countries and we come to know more about them…best of luck..
PD

Amita..... said...

Informative Post Pooja!

I wish that you get to visit many places in the coming years :)

And I also hope that we get to meet each other sooooonnnn

Miss you my friend......

Soulmate said...

Quite informative, specially the Do's and Dont's..

Sara said...

Great one again,Pooja..should come handy to any visitor.In fact, it should be linked to path2germany.com, if there is any, like path2usa.com.

pilot-pooja said...

Hey Mukul..i replied in a very nice way from my side..But some how bcz of carelessness at my end..lost all of it..[:(]..
Will try again now..!

Mukul said...

Hey pooja, thats ok, I was just curious. It's nothing important.

pilot-pooja said...

1. Cell Phone:

Our previous cell phones should surely work..Germans follow 900/1800 MHz band..

Even if the visitor prefers to buy a new one, can be easily purchased from any service provider, primarily T-mobile, O2 or vodafone..

Sony Ericsson and Nokia handsets ae the most popular ones here!

Though i must admit the items r a bit costlier here!

pilot-pooja said...

2. Calls to India:

It is always good to get a landline connection, both at the destination and source end..

Best it to use VOIP (Voice over IP ) the most prefered site is : justvoip.com

The charge will be around 40 cents for half an hour call..cheaper than calls within India at times..

100 cents make one Euro.

If the internet facility is unavaliable, no problems..Just get a nice calling card ..mostly used are the "Namaste calling cards for India" Can use it from ur own mobile/landline or from any telephone booth..

In 5 euros, you'll get around 150 minutes talktime for India!

pilot-pooja said...

3. Language issues:

Could be an issue at common places like grocery shops, laundry areas, talks with landlords, security guards, grocery shops..

If feasible, have some German frds.)
Otherwise, a basic German course can really help you in need..

Online help also available.Check out this link:

http://www.deutschakademie.de/online-deutschkurs/english/

pilot-pooja said...

4. Apartment on rent:

Not that tough..

I personally preferred to get one via a broker who could understand English, some of my frds got thru e-sites, e.g.:

http://e-rent.de/

All of them will take around 2 months security, rent can be transferred online or via cash only in Euros!

Mukul, i m so sorry could not understand exactly what credit history refers to..Please guide!

pilot-pooja said...

5. Adventure and Re-creation options:

Oh Friend! they are in abundance..Any indoor or outdoor game that you're fond of, you will easily find here..

Black forest Mountains are very famous in Germany..perfect spot for cycling or biking..

The cruise rides are just so amazing..The river Rhine flows all across Germany..You will love the beautiful surroundings..My orkut album also has a glimpse of it..)

The snow covered alps give you a lot of scope to try skiing..

Then my water loving frds can also try scuba-diving..

There is a lot of scope for rock climbing and hiking also!

Sandy.....keep ur cameras ready whenever you visit Germany..for you wld surely love to catch such moments for the future!

pilot-pooja said...

6. Delicacies..

Hmm..i can see water coming in my mouth..
Same pinch..I am a veggie too..Apart from the easily available veggie Burger at Subway, Mc Donalds, Burger king..there r a lot of Indian shops supplying ready to eat stuff in abundance..

Dont worry, you will surely get more than salads to eat here..And if you plan to spend a good amount of time here, the culinary skills in you will surely take a front seat..

At the top of it, lot of Indian restaurants here open even after 12 midnight..

Like in India, the vegetables, milk,dals, vegetable oils, veg soups, bread, eggless items are readily available..

And if that also sounds less, a call to India to dear ones can be easily made anytime..In no time the food will be ready..For cooking is really not that tough.. especially when you have to eat it urself!

Mukul said...

Hey pooja, thanks a lot for the detailed explanation, sorry you had to go through all that trouble.

Anyways Credit history is like a history of transaction done by a person. This information is stored by some central agencies in US. So a mobile service provider would like to check your previous cell payment history and if they find none( incase you have just entered country) then they are a little hesitant to provide you service. Same applies to Apartment rental, credit card and so on.
So in short it's only after 5-6 months that you can easily buy anything you want in US. You can get more info here

Jas said...

cool yaar! really nice effort! and dint know about the voip site, i had been using 7 Euro card giving me 60mins :(
And wats this London thing? You shall be operating from London now?

Pilot-Pooja said...

Thanks Jas!

Even i hardly used justvoip.com.

Guess my post flashbacked your golden memories in Paris!!

I am in London just for a few days on a vacation..

The hectic office life in Gurgaon is gonna start soon..(