Expats in Germany – (how) are you settling in?

Welcome to Germany! You’ve answered the call to help fill Germany’s growing skill’s gap and you’ve probably found it fairly easy to settle in at work, but, if you don’t mind me asking, how’s your social life? And, if you’ve come here with a spouse and children, how’s their social life? This is a serious question, because the long-term success of a stay in a foreign country is often determined by factors outside the job.

Communication is a key area. Although English may be your working language, it is advisable to take a German course – preferably kicking off with an intensive course to get you up and running – as some knowledge of German will improve interaction with natives of your host country. A good German course should also teach you something about local customs and, in addition, by attending a German course you’ll meet other incomers with whom you can share experiences.

It is also worth considering attending an intercultural awareness course – ideally with your co-workers. After all, cross-cultural communication isn’t a one-way street and the insights gained from the course can be applied in dealings with international customers and suppliers too.

For expats with families, the situation of the spouse and children is of key importance. According to a study by Harvard University, 60% of prematurely terminated expat assignments could be ascribed to the failure of family members to settle in. Coaching can help spouses in particular, who may not be permitted to obtain a work permit, to find meaningful ways to use their time here. This is just one of several elements designed to support expat families in the Expat Family Programme (www.expat-family-programme.com).

Xchange Services offers German language courses for small groups with a maximum of 4 participants to ensure rapid progress. Click here for dates and times. For further information on intercultural training and coaching, please contact Thomas Hintze on 0911 950 990 26.