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lila_liechtenstein

Please be aware this is a sub about the language German only. For everything about the country Germany, please make yourself at home in /r/germany . Also, please make sure to read the pinned post for new visitors to the sub.


NoChillOogway

US citizen currently immigrating to Germany, but I’ll stick to the language portion of your question as this is a language sub. It really is up to you, as the individual, how fast you learn German. My friend got through B1 in little over a summer, but basically only had a functional level of German which she improved by immersion at work. She’s taking C1 now. I also had an A1/A2 classmate give up on learning cause he couldn’t understand the difference between Akkusativ and Dativ cases. Edit: readability


calathea_2

Since this is a language sub, I'm going to focus on just the raw language part of your question. Please don't interpret this answer as negative, just maybe a bit more cold-water-ish than others you have gotten: >How long does it usually take for a non German speaker to pick up the language? I know that 'picking up a language' is a common idiom in English, and I don't mean to pick on your word choice. But honestly -- as most adult immigrants who have learned a new language as part of their immigration would probably agree -- this phrase is really misleading. It makes it sound both easy and inevitable that you will learn the language. It is neither. All learners are different, so people progress at different rates. The subsidised government language courses in Germany for qualifying new immigrants take around 6 months of full-time coursework (4 hr a day of class plus homework, 4 or 5 days a week) to cover the material through B1. They don't make public statistics of how many students pass the B1 exam at the end, but the failure rates are high. A lot of these students are adult immigrants with limited advanced education, so people with more advanced schooling and experience with learning languages likely do better. That said, private language schools who target other student groups take about the same amount of time to cover the material. So, that means we're talking about a rough minimum of 6 months of full-time study to get to B1, if you take to the language quite quickly (and realistically, probably longer for many many learners). What is B1, then? Is it enough to function in the country? This is what [English-language-learners at B1](https://www.cambridgeenglish.org/exams-and-tests/preliminary/preparation/) sound like. It is enough for daily life, but not enough to work any job that requires professional proficiency. For that, you need realistically C1 German. Private language schools that teach intensive classes can get students to pass a C1 exam after roughly 14 months of full-time intensive study. I know a fair number of people who have done this type of thing--mostly students attending Uni here. The majority of them struggle tremendously with language even after passing the exam, and having to withdraw from Uni and spend another year working on language is not uncommon. So, it is possible to get to C1 on paper in perhaps a little over a year of full-time study, but really controlling the language at that level simply takes longer--probably more like 2 years of pretty intensive language contact--that is what I seem to see in my circle here, at least. So, if either your partner or you are hoping to work jobs that require German (which, of course, the vast vast vast majority do), then you need to be planning something on that scale of both time and effort. I saw from an answer of yours that you work in a field that runs largely in English here, so that does change things. But: and specifically since you talk not about a short-term job-related relocation, but a permanent move ... learning the language well (not just restaurant-order well) seems kind of imperative. And, one must know ahead of time that that's a huge commitment of time and energy.


Yuckypigeon

Not OP but I am meant to be starting a two year job in Frankfurt in December and although they said that German isn’t necessary I thought I should try to learn the language anyway. It seems like I may not have the time to even get close to being able to speak the language if I’m going to be working full time for those two years :/


calathea_2

Well, ok: in that time and while working full time, you (very) likely won't be able to become professionally proficient in German. But that doesn't mean you can't learn rather a lot of German! My post shouldn't be taken as discouraging of that at all--it is just that it does, indeed, take a very long time to learn a new language, and it is better to be realistic about that, particularly when making life decisions based in part on language acquisition. But--there are lots of people who come here and work for a few years, and take evening classes or whatever, and learn a lot of German. It makes life a lot more fun and interesting here to speak the language even at an intermediate level, and I certainly recommend it!


Klapperatismus

First of all, to be allowed to immigrate, either you or your wife needs to land a job in which you make 51,000€ per year gross. That's far more than the average German gross income. In some fields of high demand, that number is reduced to 40,000€ per year gross. Still more than average. So, unless you can land such a job, all else is bogus. That said, 40,000€ per year gross for an experienced software developer for example is a very low income. Only foreigners work for that. And they likely work in a company that only pays that much. Those companies also have English as their office language. For ~~your convenience~~ their profit. All for attracting foreigners who have no other choice. Because they don't speak German. *How much German do I need to know to land a job in a normal German company?* It's C1 level German at minimum. They may hire you at B2 but expect you to get to C1 in a short time. Expect to be skipped when it comes to promotions if you don't speak German at a near-native level. And you don't *pick that up.* Even A1 level German you won't *pick up.* It's different from watching Spanish TV shows and guessing yourself through the parts you don't understand. You can't do that with German. All the advanced vocabulary is totally different from English, the grammar is substantially different from English, and reality often has no visual clues —especially verbs— and cannot be rewinded. So you need to attend classes. A lot of classes. English speakers typically need 1000 lessons of 45 minutes plus homework from zero to C1 level German. Most people can cram one hour of German per day into their schedule. That's 1000 days. If you want to advance faster, do a language-learning vacation in Germany on top of that. Or two. Or three. At a language-learning school. With your family. So, this is going to be a years-long preparation. You all can do it if you are all very dedicated. But don't come unprepared! You are going to be between a rock and a hard place all over.


Ok-Teacher6496

It’s none of my business and forgive me if the answer is too personal to share in Reddit, but why Germany exactly?


BabblingDruid

No worries, a few reasons actually. Besides the usual answer people give (health care, economy, etc.) we have a couple friends who live in Europe and Egypt and they happened to move to Germany as well. Also we feel as though German would be easier to learn as English speakers. What mainly fueled our desire to move was the fact that we are not happy with the way our country operates on a political and societal level.


Ok-Teacher6496

I can definitely relate to that latter point. Best of luck.


irotinmyskin

what until you learn about German cases. It’ll blow your mind


JoeyJoeJoeJrShab

>Based on what I’ve read online it seems that we should learn the language first before applying for jobs, then once we secure employment look for housing, then make the move and eventually take the language test and residency test. Learning a new language is not an easy task. It is even harder to do remotely. if you have the financial means to do so, I recommend moving first, and enrolling in an intensive language school in Germany. You can apply for a language learner's visa for up to 1 year. > becoming permanent citizens Just so you know, obtaining German citizenship will require you to give up your US citizenship. You can, of course, become a permanent resident. >how fluent would we need to be to get jobs? It really depends on your industry. To study at a German university, you'll generally need a C1 proficiency. That should be sufficient for most jobs where you aren't having important conversations with people. (What I mean is, a doctor, for example, who has regular conversations with patients might need a higher level of proficiency).


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BabblingDruid

Awesome this is exactly what I wanted to know! I’m a software developer so I was hoping that finding a job would be easy with my skill set. Good to hear that not being 100% fluent won’t be too much of a set back. We were thinking of moving to Berlin or somewhere close in order to have a variety of restaurants, arts, culture, etc. I appreciate your feedback!


MrDizzyAU

You can get by with English in that industry. I worked in Germany as a software dev, and I only had very basic German when I arrived (enough to ask for what I wanted in restaurants/shops, ask for directions, etc.). I got a teach-yourself course a couple of months before I went there to learn that stuff. However, I feel like you're obligated to learn the language of the country you're living in. I always felt bad when I was in a meeting with a dozen people and they were all speaking English for my benefit. I kept learning German after I got there, both with self-study and courses (I went to something called the Volkshochschule, which is a kind of government-run night school. They offer courses on a range of subjects, including German as a foreign language.) I don't know what your partner does, but obviously some jobs require you to speak the local language. An intensive course is an option in that case. A friend of mine moved to the Netherlands, and his wife did an intensive Dutch course for 2 or 3 months and then got a job in a call centre, where she was speaking to the general public in Dutch. Also, just to introduce a bit of realism - it's possible to become functional in the language in a relatively short time, if you put a bit of effort into it, but it generally takes years and years to become truly proficient. You will think you're a language genius because you can have a basic conversation and order any type of beer, and then you'll get a letter from some government department and you won't understand a word of it.


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BabblingDruid

Also do you happen to have any insight into what apps or courses are good for learning German? I’ve seen a lot of good options that look good but I’d like to have some input from a person who has actually used some of those resources if possible.


Ok-Teacher6496

Babbel explains the grammar more clearly, but lacks in the later lessons (almost like they got bored and stopped trying). Rosetta Stone is more immersive and more consistently challenging throughout, but you will absolutely need at least an accompanying grammar textbook. Their method is to teach by showing not telling, but understanding the underlying grammar is everything in this language. It might not hurt to try both. I have found the Langenscheidt book, German Grammar in a Nutshell, to be extremely helpful. Vocab Flashcards are also very helpful for memorizing gender, another must for speaking German.


georgesrocketscience

My spouse studied 2 years of German in high school, I studied French as my foreign language. We lived in the USA all our lives. In 2017 my spouse was offered a permanent job in Germany and we moved to the Stuttgart area four months later. We started classes at a language school within 2 months of arrival. If you work for a company that has a substantial branch in Germany (or is based in Germany), AND that company has a positive view of people taking assignments in different countries, you have a fairly decent chance of being able to take a 3 year or 5 year assignment to Germany after you have worked for that company long enough to be considered for an overseas assignment. Above all, start learning the language TODAY. Check out the wiki in the pinned post, as u/lila_liechtenstein suggests. Find a language school in your nearest large city, which offers classes for adults after work or on weekends. If you can't attend in person, see if they offer classes via Zoom or other video services. Enrolling in a college course is not necessary and may move too slow/fast for your taste and needs.


dodobird8

You can start applying for jobs now. It's frowned upon, but there are people living and working in Germany with good careers who don't speak German even after being here for several years. There are also some companies who will pay for you to take language classes after you get hired. You're of course limited in jobs you can apply for, but there's still plenty of companies here where the business language is English. It's relatively easy to immigrate to Germany as an American. My first job here was only 25k per year, and there was still no issue getting a work residency for 4 years.


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