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Life In Germany – How to fight back expat blues?

Leaving your home country and your family behind to travel to Germany must have been really hard for all expats. Most of us must have experienced depression, anxiety, sadness and what not during our first months in Germany. And why not? Germany was a new place with a completely new culture, new people and not forgetting new language for almost all of us. And the depressive winters, TRAUMATIZING!

Well, if you think you are the only one experiencing these feelings, then trust me, you’re not alone!

Expat blues also known as expat depression is when people who move overseas feel what psychologists call the depression of new culture shock. When someone is going through an expat blues, one of the worst feelings that can happen is apathy. This is typically expressed as a lack of engagement and joy. Some common physical symptoms of expat blues are, among others, fatigue, insomnia, crying, loss of appetite or overeating. 

But do not worry! Expats usually get over it with time! 

Here are some ways to control your expat blues to make your stay in Germany more pleasant:

Gather information about Germany

One of the best ways to prevent a culture shock is to gather as much information about Germany as possible. Search about the culture, the people, the places. it is highly recommended you to also join Germany expats’ forums, communities and Facebook groups to see what the expats already here are talking about. You will get a clearer idea of the topics they talk about and also important information about life in Germany.

You can also check InterNations and MeetUp, two very popular expats forums in Germany!

Booka Local also has its own meetup forum for expats where we often have online meetups to chat about different topics! We also hope to plan meetups offline as summer approaches…so, make sure you check out this link of our forum to stay updated with our meetups!

Exploring Germany

Think about it! You are now in GERMANY!!! It is one of the most historical places in Europe. So, why waste such an opportunity? Go explore the country, organise weekend getaways to the castles, visit the spatis with your new friends and attend events which are always happening throughout Germany. These will help you to get more familiar with the country and also keep your mind away from homesickness thoughts…

Exploring Germany also means getting to know the locals! Yes, it is not always easy to befriend Germans, we’ve all been there! Oh, btw speaking of getting to know the Germans, Booka Local has recently launched its ebook “Ask the Locals” where we asked the locals questions that we expats have most certainly have had in our minds! You can now get your own FREE copy!

Create a home

You are now living on your own! Yay privacy!!! Think about it in this way – you can now decorate your new place as YOU want it. You can create your own comfortable little bubble that makes you feel safe and relaxed. Trust me, this makes a huge difference! Try it, buy frames, flowers, plants, lights, and whatever you like and create your personalized home! You will love it.

Keep up with old habits

Once you are in Germany, you do not have to change yourself or your habits. Keep up with your old habits! That is, if you used to exercise in your home country, continue in Germany too! Germany has splendid running and hiking tracks! Make sure you explore them! They’re so worth it! If you were always a person who loves connecting with nature, then Germany has a lot of it’s natural places to offer…You can also find friends online or offline who have the same hobbies as you and plan something together! 

Plan something with family and friends

Invite your friends or family from back home to Germany. Planning a trip with familiar people will give you something to look forward to and the opportunity to see more Germany. 

Many expats make Europe tour plans with their friends and families back home and create great memories. Get yourself motivated for these kinds of trips too. These will help you get more used to Europe as a whole and make you feel more a part of this new continent. 

Share your thoughts

A very important thing to do when you’re having the expat blues is to talk it out. As mentioned earlier, you are not the only one who has been experiencing such feelings, most of the expats have too! Talk to other expats, share your thoughts and feelings! It will make you feel much lighter and will help you to get through those hard days! 

If you are having communication problems due to the language barriers, it is recommended to search for other people from your home country in Germany. This can give you a sense of belonging and therefore make you feel like home. 

Talking to your friends and families back home can also help a lot. Video calling them or chatting with them can help ease your pain and sadness from being away from them. 

Finally, living far from your family and your home country can be really difficult. But remember, among millions of people who dreamt of travelling to Germany, you were in the lucky group who actually made it here! And it’s worth celebrating…expat blues is very natural and goes away with each day you spend in Germany! We hope you can find these few tips helpful to make your days better here!

German language

How to raise kids in a multilingual family?

As a parent, you want to raise your children in a multicultural environment. How can you do this without creating too much stress? In this blog post we talk about how to raise kids in a multilingual family!


The global population is growing rapidly. As a result, there has been a rise in the number of families who speak multiple languages at home. According to the United Nations, over half of the world’s population now lives in countries where two or more languages are spoken.


Multiculturalism is becoming the norm today. Parents from around the globe are bringing their children up speaking multiple languages. This means that they should also learn to communicate with each other. If you’re thinking of having children, then you should consider learning a language before they arrive.

Why do you want to raise your kids to be multilingual?

First of all, many believe that multilingual children are better prepared for school and work. They also learn how to communicate with people from different cultures.
However, in today’s world, a lot of parents do not raise their kids to be multilingual out of a choice – they could be immigrants in a new country themselves. It means that, the parents speak another language (or several different languages) at home which is not the native language in the country they live in. Their kids have no choice but to be exposed to different languages at the same time.

Don’t children get confused when they hear two languages spoken around them?

Children are extremely sensitive to the different ways adults speak. Even when they understand only one language, they learn quickly about the differences between how men and women talk, and other differences. Bilingual situations aren’t always a disadvantage. Sometimes it’s an advantage!
Bilingual children may take a bit longer to learn how to speak two languages. Their brains have to work harder to understand both languages. However, bilingual children do develop faster than those who speak only one language.

Raising a multilingual family is hard – what makes it work?

Many books and articles aimed at parents who want their kids to learn languages claim that the best way for them to learn a new language is through OPOL, which stands for “one person, one language.” In this case, both parents speak two languages. One parent speaks English and Spanish; the other parent speaks French and German. In fact, for several reasons, this method isn’t ideal. It is actually found that most children who speak two languages end up using one language exclusively for communication purposes. The success rate was especially high when both parents spoke the home language while the children learned the other language at school. Furthermore, even if the parents were able to speak several different languages, their children would only learn the one they actually use at home. It makes perfect sense because there’s a direct relationship between the amount of time children spend interacting with their parents and the rate at which they learn new words. However, the exact amount of time needed is not known. There is no scientific evidence to back up claims that children need to be exposed to a language for at least thirty percent of their waking hours before they begin to learn it easily (aeon.co).


‘The earlier the better’? Children learn languages best after the age of 12. The current trend in Europe for teaching children English earlier than usual isn’t working well. A child can lose the motivation to learn if starting a language too early – especially if the child is already learning a language at home from one of his or her parents (aeon.co).

How to raise kids in a multilingual family comes with many challenges. If you are a parent living in a foreign land and have to bring up your children with a mixture of languages, make sure you do not put pressure on them to learn different languages or stress yourself about not speaking the foreign language, because they eventually catch up with them by being exposed to them.

Do you have to visit your children’s Kindergarten but do not speak German? We‘ve got your back. Simply book a local now!

Booka Local

Things You Should Know While Renting a Place In Germany

Renting an apartment in Germany can be stressful. From finding a place to going through the tenancy, living there is all about following laws and rules – one has just got to make sure they aren’t doing anything illegal while renting their home! Discover these main things you should know while renting a place in Germany!

Type of rental contracts

It is important to discuss the type of contract that you want before seeing an apartment. Some rental agreements are for fixed terms, which means they have a move-in and move-out date or indefinite with no end date. In both types of contracts you can end your tenancy by giving a minimum three-months written notice. This can sometimes vary depending on the landlord and the agreement. Thus, make sure you discuss this prior to signing the contract to avoid any issue later.

Utilities (Nebenkosten)

In Germany you can either pay a cold rent (Kaltmiete) that is only rent or warm rent (Warmmiete) which includes utilities (Nebenkosten) such as electricity, gas, internet, etc. Make sure you get all these clarified before signing the rental contract so that you know exactly how much rent you will be paying each month or so you can make the arrangements for the other utilities as well in case of a cold rent.

Tenant rights

Another important thing you should know before renting an place in Germany is your rights. Landlords cannot immediately terminate contracts without any notice unless the tenants have committed serious crimes like not paying rent for months or doing something illegal at their apartment complex – but they can end these agreements if they are renovating the place and keeping it personal use only. If you think you are being evicted unfairly, it is recommended to see a lawyer!

Property rules and regulations

As a new tenant, it is your responsibility to visit the property and see if there are any damages before moving in. You should also make sure that all furniture has been moved to its original location before moving out otherwise you may be charged extra rent or deposit for restoring them back again! Landlords are allowed to charge you for any damage of the property, so make sure you return the apartment as it was before you moved in. It is recommended to discuss about all these with your landlord before signing the contract to avoid any unpleasant surprise later.

Subletting

The first thing you should know about subletting an apartment is that there are some rules. You can read more about it in our blog „Can I sublet my apartment in Germany“ here!

Deposit (Kaution)

Being a tenant in Germany, you should also know about how deposits work. Questions that come up frequently are what exactly are tenants paying when they hand over a deposit and when do they get the money back? Read this blog post to go over the basics of how it works so you know what you’re getting into before signing on the dotted line!

Having guests over

Different landlords have different rules about guests at your place. Some allow guests only during certain hours while others charge a fee for each night that someone stays at your place – even if they’re just passing through! The conditions for these are normally written in the contract so make sure you know about the rules properly before inviting anyone over. In case of doubts, it is better to talk to your landlord to clear things out and avoid troubles. Do not hide anything concerning guests in your apartment as it might lead to serious problems with your landlord!

Are you having some issues with your landlord and need someone to converse with them in German? Book a local to help you out!

Sundays in Germany

Things You Can Do On Sundays In Germany

Sundays are considered as a day of rest in Germany. While most people tend to stay at home on these days and catch up on chores around the house; there’s always those who want some excitement! It’s always nice when one has something planned though because not only does doing nothing make Sundays drag but also sometimes boredom gets too much and who wants to bore themselves?! Here are few things you can do on Sundays in Germany:

Visit a Museum

Germany has over 6,200 museums full of culture and histories. Visitors normally have to pay a fee (which varies depending on the museum) but they are open Sundays! You can visit them without getting into physical activities if you want and spend a calm Sunday while enjoying. You can also learn more about Germany by visiting these historic sites with their own unique stories to tell – don’t forget your camera either because there’s plenty worth capturing from inside or outside the building!

Visit a Castle

Home to more than 20,000 castles, Germany is in the list of the countries with the most fascinating castles and palaces in Europe. While some are free to visit, others require an entry fee. If you are fond of fairy tales and histories, then German castles are your go-tos. You can easily spend hours visiting them while learning about German past stories. You should however keep in mind the Covid-19 rules before going to any castle.

Visit a Market

You really want to go shopping on a Sunday in Germany but the shops are closed? German markets are the solution. There you can find all kind of stuffs, from fruits and vegetables to clothing and souvenirs. They are open in almost all cities in Germany on Sundays.

If you live in Berlin or are just visiting, you might want to check this list of markets located there.

Go For a Walk

If you need to relax, the best way is by taking a walk in an open space. There’s nothing like winding through green landscapes and breathing fresh air with nature all around! If that sounds too daunting for your tastes then why not head into town on a Sunday morning when there‘s less people and less noise?!

Go Hiking

Hiking is a great way to get outside and enjoy nature. In Germany, there are many trails that you can explore with friends or family members who also want an adventure in the outdoors! You’ll find yourself far from city life up on top of mountain ridges where it’s quiet enough for some peace & quite time – if only we could all have such adventures every day…

Get Brunch

Germans know how to have a good time. German folklore says that on Sundays, it’s best for friends and family members to enjoy great food together! You can have brunch with your flatmates or invite your friends over. If you do not want to cook then you can go to restaurants or cafes which are normally open middays on Sundays – just make sure not wait until last minute!

Do you want to know what else Germans say they do on Sundays? Check out our free ‚Ask the Locals‘ book here!

Go On A Trip

Germany is full of wonderful sightseeings whether they are in small towns or big cities. You can catch buses or trains that operate on Sundays too and visit a new place every weekend. If you want to travel outside Germany, you can visit the neighbouring countries – The Netherlands, Poland, France, Switzerland, etc, where shops are open.

Go To The Cinema

Cinemas are fortunately open on Sundays in Germany. The German Sunday cinema bill is a mixed bag of international flicks and dubbed blockbuster hits. But don’t let the language barriers stop you from catching your favorite movie! You can find out if there are any original versions playing by checking online to not be disappointed later. Also, make sure to buy your tickets beforehand as cinemas tend to be full on Sundays.

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Streaming in Germany- 11 ways to do it legally

German copyright laws are very strict. Videos should only be streamed or torrented in Germany if the user has registered with a streaming service like Netflix and is aware of its terms, otherwise they might receive big fines (>1000 Euros) and face legal consequences. This blog talks about safe ways to stream to avoid any mishaps. Here are 11 ways to do it legally in Germany:

can I sublet sublease my apartment

Can I sublet my apartment in Germany?

The German Civil Code allows subletting provided that the landlord consents to the arrangement. If the rental income doesn’t go beyond the costs incurred, your landlord is likely to consent to subletting the apartment. Read on to understand the aspects associated with subletting your apartment in Germany.

Subletting guidelines in Germany

A sublease or sublet contract governs how a tenant can lease out a room or their apartment to other individuals without losing their status as tenants.

Sublet contracts don’t allow tourists or visiting family members. Your subtenants should be individuals staying at your apartment as they study or work.

As long as your landlord consents to a sublet agreement, whoever you rent out the apartment to can stay as long as you are willing to let them.

Subletting the whole apartment

The landlord has capacity to decline this arrangement.

Subletting single rooms

If a tenant’s wish to sublet is legitimate, the landlord may give consent. Legitimate reasons include, job loss, and end of marriage or partnership.

As a tenant, you are not allowed to sublease your apartment on the basis of rent being out of your budget.

Subletting while abroad

If the tenant has to temporarily relocate to another country for work purposes, the landlord may allow them to sublet their apartment if they are not willing to give it away. However, the landlord is not obliged to give in to the arrangement.

How to ask your landlord for a sublease agreement

The law in Germany requires tenants to disclose the following information to landlords before inviting subtenants to their apartments.

  • Your legitimate reasons for subletting
  • The duration you will be subletting
  • The identity of the subtenant

It is recommended that you draft a legal document to act as proof if a legal dispute arises between the two of you.

Your landlord can cancel your lease if you don’t disclose that you have a subtenant in your apartment. Additionally, the German law allows them to ask for additional funds to cover the increased cost of utilities as another individual stays at your apartment. If the tenant refuses to pay more, the sublease contract cannot proceed.

book a interpreter in Germany 

 

A landlord can decline if

  • The subtenant has a negative record with the landlord
  • Subletting the apartment would lead to overcrowding
  • After consenting to the arrangement, the original tenant decides to list the home as a profitable venture on platforms such as AirBnB.

Termination of the sublet contract

If your sub decides to leave the apartment, the only way to cancel the contract is to do so through writing. German rental law prohibits the main tenant from kicking out subtenants as they wish.

The written notice, which depends on the rooms that were sublet, should be put out in advance. If the main tenant subleased an empty room, the subtenant ought to disclose their resolve to move out, three months prior.

If the main tenant wishes to terminate the sublease contract, they ought to provide a six month notice to the subtenant. However, if the subtenant refuses to pay rent, they can be evicted immediately.

A two-week notice is given to a subtenant if they occupied a furnished room. The main tenant is not obligated to disclose why they are terminating the contract.

Need to ask your landlord for the consent, but he/ she doesn’t speak English? Book a helper now.

how does apartment deposit work

How does the apartment deposit work in Germany?

For international students and expats living in Germany, the biggest headache is often finding a place to live. On top of all the security deposits, rent rates, and other fees that come with renting an apartment in Berlin or Frankfurt, it can be difficult for newcomers to navigate their way through German bureaucracy and understand how it works. One question that comes up frequently is what exactly are they paying when they hand over a deposit? In this blog post we’ll go over the basics of how it works so you know what you’re getting into before signing on the dotted line!