Germany-What You Should Know

Germany-What You Should Know

 

Today, Germany is the most affluent and populous European democracy and among the most significant nations on Earth.
Germany is continuously rebuilding since in 1990 the Berlin Wall collapsed and West and East Germany were unified. Germany is a sophisticated and modern country that boasts a fascinating past. Tourists from all over the world visit Germany to marvel at its legendary medieval castles, the stylish cities, and the countless historic and cultural wonders, both from the past and present.

  • Facts & Figures:
  • Official Name: Federal Republic of Germany (Bundesrepublik Deutschland)
  • Population: almost 83 million 
  • Capital: Berlin (almost 4 million)
  • Currency: Euro 
  • Language: German

In Europe, German is spoken by more people as their native tongue than any other language, which is not surprising as the country is the most populous nation in Europe with its almost 83 million inhabitants. But it is not only the German residents that learn to speak and write German.

Also in Switzerland, Austria, Liechtenstein, and Luxembourg, the official language is German, and it is also the native language in portions of northern Italy, the northeastern parts of Poland, and other country parts of Europe.

Today, Europe is definitely not the same continent that the immigrants left behind a few generations ago. While millions sailed west across the Atlantic, Germany plowed on. The country had taken well care of its beautiful historic buildings to highlight its impressive past, but the pace of life is modern.

Progress in Germany kept at least pace with, or was leading, the modern industrialized world. Today, all Western European countries are modern pinnacles of technology that have enjoyed decades of wealth, freedom, and good education.

Here are a few comparisons and some good examples:

In Germany, going to college is almost free. This means that studying is being paid for by the taxpayers, but not everyone is qualified to apply for a college or university education. Basically, the German educational system is split up into 3 sectors: ‘Hauptschule’, the easiest basic option where students are graduating after 9th grade, ‘Realschule’, the medium-hard option where they graduate after 10th grade, and the most challenging and demanding ‘Gymnasium’ where students graduate after the 12th grade when they need to pass a mammoth exam named ‘das Abitur’.

Only students who passed the ‘Abitur’ can proceed to a university education, while the other two groups have two choices: they can add 1-3 years of extra schooling to be able to graduate with the ‘Ab’, or complete a 2- or 3-year apprenticeship, and this option is highly popular.

Students in apprenticeship programs are earning income from day one while they are learning a trade, quite different from the American situation where they must pay for their training which can be as high as $20,000 for a HVAC training.

In Germany, apprentices work in a company for four days each week and attend school during one day, and from their first day on, they are receiving pay and healthcare benefits.

At the moment, I pay for the college education of my daughter and including her campus experience, my total cost may easily reach $100,000, whereas if she would have been in an apprenticeship program in Germany, she would have earned some money instead of building up her study debt.

Let’s face it, the German system really works well. A good friend of mine, was a pretty slow learner in his childhood years. He only completed his 9th-grade education after which he did a 3-year apprenticeship to become a master carpenter. Nowadays, he owns several homes, runs his own company, and has no financial worries.

In Germany, nobody runs into bankruptcy if they get ill. Just look at what film producer and social critic Michael Moore wrote: What is the number of Germans that last year couldn’t pay for their medical bills? Well, it is Zero.

In America, every eight seconds somebody is losing their home because he or she got bankrupt due to medical bills. The Germans pay a lot of money into the country’s social system, but apart from a small contribution, no German is seeing any medical bill, regardless how ill they are or how long.


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