Discussion of Nuremberg
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The overall impression is very good. However, even though most Germans are very polite in communication, you still feel a distance (it’s probably just their mentality). Therefore it isn’t easy for an immigrant to make a German friend, still, exceptions occur.
Of course, you should get integrated into the society, learn the language, communicate more with the locals and not only with your compatriots, and immerse yourself in German culture. The barrier will disappear then, you won’t feel separated from the society and will not feel the need to distinguish yourself as a Russian among Germans, as many immigrants do.
Seaside: the German shores of the Baltic Sea are 6 to 7 hours away by train, about 650 km. The Italian coast is even closer, many Germans go there or to Croatia for holidays. There aren’t many lakes and rivers you can swim in around Nuremberg, but there are 3 or 4. There is also a cool waterpark :) There are more lakes around Munich.
The Alps are very close by, we go skiing to Austria and France every winter and spring several times per year. There are also glaciers that have snow year-round, but maybe in July. The nature of the southern Bavaria is very beautiful, getting even more so, the closer to the Alps you are. Alpine meadows, forests, mountain lakes – beauty incarnate.
It is good overall. There are many foreigners here, everybody is used to them. I think that they don’t like lazy foreigners (since they are work addicts themselves), those not working here and living off social welfare benefits (there are many such examples among the Turks and the Russians). Besides, who likes such people?
Thus, they aren’t going to treat nicely those, who are the exact opposites of themselves – lazy, unkempt, foul-mouthed, living here long, yet not speaking proper German, breaking the law and traffic regulations, etc.
Very polite, usually trying to help, disciplined, hard-working. There are also some overly pedantic, mostly seniors, who can in reply to your request to repeat themselves, due to your not speaking the language well, say that you should have learned the language if you are leaving here. However, that is more of an exception.
The locals are quite private, it is hard to become close friends with them. They can smile at you, ask how are you doing, but still be insincere, and do that rather to be polite.
The climate isn’t bad here. However, there isn’t any snow in winter, though it might fall for some 5 days and melt. The temperature is usually above zero. There is little sun in January-February and it can be bleak then. However, the streets aren’t filled with mud and sludge, so it isn’t as bleak as in Vladimir in similar weather.
Very high-quality and inexpensive (about 500 euro per semester). The Nuremberg-Erlangen-Furth agglomeration is home to a large Friedrich-Alexander University, 2nd largest in Bavaria with more than 20 thousand students and many foreigners among them. A wide range of specialties is available, many subjects are taught in good English – I know for a fact, that is the case at the economic and technological (IT) faculties. Enrolling to get a Master’s degree also isn’t hard. You can easily work part-time at the university as a junior research assistant while studying (the LIKE faculty looks promising for IT students) or at the Fraunhofer Institute (a reasonably well-known research institute). This part-time job in addition to working on various research projects is interesting and useful for your future career in the field. The salary is enough to pay for a dorm room or WG (when several people rent a large flat together) and to eat.
Healthcare is high-quality. However, be ready that popular doctors will attempt to spend as little as possible time on you if your insurance is state rather that private. They will hardly throw you out if you have something serious, but they will try to write you a recipe and show you out ASAP if all you have is a common cold or back pains. Doctors aren’t rude, quite polite in fact, but they rarely truly devote their attention to the patient. The jameda.de website has doctor ratings and reviews and can help you find the necessary doctor in your city.
There are also Russian doctors, the ones I’ve met were nice and didn’t try to be done with me ASAP)
We’ve seen a pediatrician ones, my friends’ child had a nearly 40-degree temperature. She was very nice and professional, the child wasn’t even afraid of her. She took samples quickly and the results were ready in 15 minutes.
Many speak English. It is hard for an engineer to find a job not knowing the language. Day-to-day activities require at least a basic knowledge of German. To ask something in a store, rent a flat, get registered (the Ausländerbehörde seem not to speak English on principle)…
People in small towns, especially the elderly, often speak only a dialect (not hoch-deutsch); even Germans from other cities might not understand them.
Public transportation is very well-developed. Driving culture is very high, most follow traffic regulations. Road quality (pavement, markings, and autobahn ramps) is super.
Going abroad: a Schengen or national visa or Blue Card allows free travel within the Schengen area, but not in the UK. Visas are also necessary for Canada and the USA. You should check the requirements for other countries at their respective embassy websites.
I am from the city Vladimir in Russia and I’ve lived in Nuremberg since 2010. Rent is similar to that in Vladimir, but more expensive here due to the cost of the utilities. See the part about housing for details. Food is more expensive here. There are Russian stores, where you can buy familiar foods and reasonably cheap fresh fish. There are also bio-shops selling everything organic – very high-quality products, but more expensive too. Meat is extremely expensive, chicken costs 20 euro per kilogram. I believe that it is better to buy bio-products if you can afford them, since you know that they aren’t full of antibiotics and other harmful stuff. I don’t know if non-bio-meat is full of any of that, but I try to eat it rarely. Right now, we buy about 50% of bio and 50% of non-bio foods, and our food costs us about 300-350 euro per month for two people. Beer is obscenely cheap, 80 cents for a bottle of excellent Frankish beer. A dinner in a decent restaurant plus a glass of beer costs about 12-20 euro per person. Tips are optional (unlike in the US), 5% usually, 10% if you thought the service exceptional.
Car and medical insurance is quite expensive, as are taxes. I pay about 65 euro monthly for mandatory car insurance, without Casco. About the same is spent per month on petrol, sometimes as much as 80 euro. Medical insurance costs 300 euro per month (employer pays an equal amount) for a married person with a salary of 46000 euro annually (pre-tax) paying taxes in accordance with the 3rd category. A single person (thus, paying taxes in accordance with the 1st category) will have 40% of his salary deducted to cover taxes and medical insurance.
Cara prices are nice. You can find a 2004-5 Golf or Ford Focus in a very good condition for 3-4-5 thousand. A decent Audi can be found for 10-15 thousand.
There are many jobs for engineers, developers, IT specialists. There is a lack of highly-qualified specialists, so the Germans have even developed a special job-hunting visa (see the tupa-germania blog and the German consulate in Moscow website for details). I don’t know about other spheres. Humanists not speaking German will find it extremely hard to find a job in accordance with their education. IMHO, it is better to get a 2nd degree in Russia, e.g. as a tester, attend some courses and then it won’t be a problem to find a job here.
Rent costs are similar to those in Vladimir, but more expensive here due to utilities. Heating and electricity is noticeably more expensive here. A single-room flat costs about 400-450 euro per month, including electricity and internet bills (depends on the neighborhood, center is a bit more expensive). A single-bedroom flat in the center, that we now live in, costs 650 with everything included. Another 40 euro goes to rent a spot in an underground car park right beneath our house.
Purchasing: don’t know exactly, we haven’t bought any.
A 2-bedroom flat costs 120-180 thousand euro on average. A 100-150 sq. meter house costs 180-300 thousand euro on average (judging by the prices at immobilienscout and other similar sites). Mortgage interest is about 3%, but you can find cheaper options. Accommodation in Munich is 1.5-2 times more expensive.
The only thing that I’ve seen was omnipresent stealing of bicycles. If you have a moderately decent bike and you leave it in the street often, do not go cheap on the lock, buy a heavy-duty chain, or, even better, don’t leave it outside altogether if it is expensive. It might not get stolen during the day, but surely will be after dark, if the lock isn’t good.
My friend’s car was stolen. I haven’t heard anything about major crimes. It is safe to stroll around at night, but, maybe, not in the Turkish districts.
You can meet various people here. There are many foreigners, so different races have mixed. I can say that most German girls are beautiful, but they tend to look after their health and most are slim. There are beautiful German girls too. However, they don’t usually dress to impress, but rather prefer practical and comfortable clothing with simple and barely visible makeup.
Those fond of Russian women will easily find some here, since there are many Russians here.
Internet and cellular service prices are higher than in Vladimir. Internet costs 25 euro per month, the speed is 25Mbit, I think, but it is absolutely enough. Cellular service with data costs 20 euro per month.
Crisis isn’t felt here. You might not even know about it, if you don’t watch the news.
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