German life hacks: a native’s guide

Being new in a city is one thing – being new in a country, another one. I got to know both sides, in and outside German life.

I spent two years as a volunteer in Israel. It’s difficult to live in a place where things you used to take for granted become a new challenge. Just going to a coffee shop and ordering a drink is a small task that can become a huge adventure.

You stutter the few words you know, hoping to get the thing you want, feel like people look at you strange, you get nervous, sweat – but in the end, everything works out.

During the last two years I’ve been back in Germany, I’ve been wanting to help people get along more easily with German life.

In the process, I’ve encountered a lot of questions from people who’ve had a lot of trouble with a huge variety of situations – not only ordering coffee.

In a new environment, small things can get us totally stumped.
In a new country, small things can get us stumped.

Typical questions include:

Which visa do I need? What’s GEZ? Why do people only take cash here?

But those are only some of the issues I come across, being posed on a regular basis on Facebook and other platforms.

Whether planned or not, I had to widen my horizon to actually understand a lot of the quirks sported by the Germans, including myself, and how to handle the rather strange situations you might get into.

Anyone confused yet by the strange native habits?
Anyone confused yet by the strange native habits?

So, whatever question or problem you have, I’ll be happy to try my best to solve it in this new LeipGlo column. Just send everything to, and we’ll take care of the rest. (Subject line: German life hacks.) Note that your question may be published here, for the benefit of you and others, so let us know whether or not you’d like your real name displayed.

By Richard Schuhmann

Richard is currently a dual student for economic informatics at Telekom Germany, after being a successful dropout from educational studies. Some people may know him as “the guy from the Leipzig Expats community” on Facebook, others got to know him over the past year as their German teacher, some took his help for private matters. Lately, he’s been trying to make his way as a freelance lecturer alongside his studies. His hobbies include everything connected to technology, as well as languages and different cultures. But you can get his curiosity with almost anything, since he just loves to learn.

Gabriel Wiese's korkART was among the displays previewed by the press at Echt Alt, KKW, 25 Oct 2018. (Photo © Ana Ribeiro)
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