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My family were thinking of moving to Bavaria, specifically Regensburg. While we were there on vacation we were very impressed with the city and the people. The work/life balance displayed by the native Germans we saw was very appealing.

  1. What is a good website to look up real estate information?

    a. What some tips to watch out for in a listing?

    b. Is it common for children to share a room in Germany?

  2. How to make "Friends"? Although we found people friendly we were curious how the locals would be with longer term interactions ie: Dinner Parties, Drinking Friends etc.

    a. We saw lots of Grilling Equipment in the shops is there a good outdoor eating and cooking culture amount the locals?

  3. Is getting a drivers license hard? What are the specific steps for people with a US drivers license?

  4. If you live in Germany are your children entitled to schooling?

  5. Although I would probably be working remotely for a US company, is it an issue to work for a local company if the opportunity comes about?

    a. Is the paperwork straight forward or do I need a lawyer?

  6. Taxes: I hear I would pay both German taxes and US taxes what are the specifics?

  7. What type of culture shock would be in store for a white middle class american family from southern New Jersey face?

Thank You for the information we don't know who to actually talk to about this and your help is appreciated.

closed as too broad by la femme cosmique, Dan Getz, Karlson, Gala, Greg Hewgill Jul 27 '16 at 20:35

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    What would be the basis for your residence permit application? Typically, it would be sponsorship by a German employer, but if you intend to work remotely for your US employer you would need some other avenue. – phoog Jul 25 '16 at 3:15
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    You've asked really a lot of questions in one, you should focus on one issue at once. – user9879 Jul 25 '16 at 9:01
  • I asked a lot of questions because at this stage I am just looking at a summary or high level response. A sentence or two per question. At this point I don't know enough to know what I don't know. – Dan Jul 25 '16 at 15:23
  • I think what he means is that SE is usually for 'one question at a time' format, as it's not a forum / message board. In any case, the first thing you need to consider is whether you'd qualify for any visa for yourself and your family. Does your US employer have offices in Germany? If so, are they willing to sponsor you? If not, how do you plan on getting a work visa and family visas for your family? – la femme cosmique Jul 26 '16 at 11:58
  • Word of caution related to your first question: Do not assume that buying automatically makes sense based on your experience in the US. There are many countries (US, UK, Netherlands) where tax incentives and a dynamic market (or, arguably, bubbles) make buying a good deal on a strict financial level, not so much in Germany. You buy because you want to have an house that's your own, easier to remodel, etc. but everything else being equal it costs more and you need to be in it for the long-term (20+ years, not 5) to recoup the costs. – Gala Jul 26 '16 at 13:09
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1 a. What some tips to watch out for in a listing?

  • If you want to buy, you should get a real estate agent. If you rent you just go over to immobilienscout24.de or similar. Old people do listings in newspapers, because they are not so familiar with "that internet thing".

1 b. Is it common for children to share a room in Germany?

I would say it is normal to an age up to 6 - 9. Kids normally then have their own room

How to make "Friends"? Although we found people friendly we were curious how the locals would be with longer term interactions ie: Dinner Parties, Drinking Friends etc.

I guess you will make most of your friends through a) work or b) sport activities. Join some club. If you are not into physical activities, there are also clubs for chess etc. Meetup.com is not really big except for the largest cities, but it is always worth a try.

a. We saw lots of Grilling Equipment in the shops is there a good outdoor eating and cooking culture amount the locals?

You are right. That is a thing. People meet in parks to have BBQ, but as soon as you have a garden, you tend to host people there. Dinner parties are really common of course or just go out to clubs, have a bicycle tour together, etc.

Is getting a drivers license hard? What are the specific steps for people with a US drivers license?

You can use a US license for 6 months in Germany (can be extended for additional 6 months), but afterwards you have to get the German one. According to that list, you have to do some theoretical test depending on the US state you mare your US license [0][1]

If you live in Germany are your children entitled to schooling?

Children have to go to school. Homeschooling is absolutely not common. You find international schools in bigger cities. AFAIK you might pay some administrational fee for schools, but the education itself is free.

Although I would probably be working remotely for a US company, is it an issue to work for a local company if the opportunity comes about?

a. Is the paperwork straight forward or do I need a lawyer? Taxes: I hear I would pay both German taxes and US taxes what are the specifics?

I think a tax consultant should be enough. (the next statements are with a lot of hand-waving) If you are working for a freelancer for the US company, you can pay the income tax in Germany, which would make it easy to accept local companies as customers. I have no idea how it works if you are employed by the US company.

What type of culture shock would be in store for a white middle class american family from southern New Jersey face?

Thinking about the prejudices Germans have towards US citizens and reversing that, the biggest shocks might be: If you ask a friend "how are you" they might actually respond to the question, not just saying "I'm fine, and you?". Germans can be direct and say straight to your face if something bugs them.

I hope that helped you to get some overview. You should definetly drill down each question at a time after doing thoroughly research. Wish you the best!

[0] https://www.adac.de/_mmm/pdf/2016-Staatenliste-nach-Anlage-11-%2BFeV_129770.pdf [1] https://www.adac.de/infotestrat/ratgeber-verkehr/fuehrerschein/fuehrerscheinerwerb-usa/umschreibung-usa-fuehrerschein/default.aspx?ComponentId=35153&SourcePageId=48382 (German, sorry)

  • Thank you this was exactly what I was looking for. I used to have a very "German" way of responding to questions when I was younger (Friend:"Should I marry her?" Me:"No she is a whore"). My wife toned me down I guess I will have to go back :) – Dan Jul 27 '16 at 15:14

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