Relocating to Germany from Nigeria? All You Should Know.
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This article will be useful to Nigerians including doctors and nurses who wish to migrate to Germany and other non-English speaking countries in Europe and beyond.
ON RELOCATION: HOW TO NAVIGATE THE CHALLENGES OF A NON-ENGLISH SPEAKING COUNTRY
Moving to a country where its official language is different from the one you speak can be challenging. And conversations around this are not very popular.
I moved to Germany recently and I’ll share some of the realities I’ve experienced so far- and how I have been able to navigate them;
👉More time spent on Basic Activities:
A simple activity like reading a mail (letter; a lot of things are sent by post) takes more time because translation is needed. Also, some of the information in the mail may be new and you could find yourself spending 30 minutes making sense of the mail and what next steps to take. This also happens while shopping; Not wanting to mix things up could make a 20-minute shopping time turn into 1 hour in the first few weeks.
👉More Money spent on early Mistakes: You could spend more money when you rush through your shopping or when your new country presents not just language differences but also branding or product placement differences. For instance; I once happily bought a container of Yoghurt and went home to sit and enjoy it. Only ‘Joghurt’ and the brand name were on it. I opened it to meet the yumminess of a bread spread. Nowhere on the pack was Bread spread or Margarine implied and it was placed on the Refrigerated Shelves. 🤷🏽♀️
👉Slower Integration Rate: I went to an event within my first two weeks in Germany and understood nothing. Many networking tips I knew were not applicable in this context. Also, I quickly realized those monosyllabic words crammed from a language learning app didn’t mean I could communicate. Importantly, language is always deeply connected to a culture and contextual situations – How you say things, when you say them.
I’ve come up with a list of solutions I’ve employed in handling these so far;
A genuine interest in the people and their culture – Being really interested in learning more about the people can be a great boost while learning a new language. Learning about your new neighbors can begin with aspects such as pronouncing names right or what to say when providing basic compliments (and when to; context comes in here 😊).
👉The willingness to try – Willingness to learn the language. Willingness to learn about the culture and the people. What are their festivities? What is their food like? I’ve taken on a personal task to try out different meals in the country I am in. I always look to know the names of these meals and even take photos. Due to time limitations, I cannot learn to prepare them.
However, so far It’s been interesting. Some of the names stick now and because the components of each meal are usually listed out; I know the Deutsch names of more fruits. I can understand dietary challenges or long-term eating habits coming in the way of adopting my approach but it will help to think of the people and the culture you are in lovingly. If not; it shows – in the flippant manner you talk about their meals or make out-of-place jokes about their name sounding like Id. iot in your own language.
👉Patience – Patience to learn the language. Patience to accommodate mistakes. And Oh, I made a financial budget for mistakes and there were much more than the Yoghurt incident. Then, learning any language to a fluent level takes time.
👉Emotional Anchors- At the core of it; moving to a new country and learning a new language as well is all about handling change. To manage this change; I’ve created anchors by thinking of every difficult curveball of change I’ve overcome and also drawn inspiration from other English speakers that have gone on to learn German or Spanish or Russian languages. It’s a solid reminder that I can succeed as long as I keep making efforts.
Anyone looking to move to a new country soon? I hope you gleaned some tips.
Anyone experienced some of these in the past? Do share with us in the comments.
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