Germany vs USA: 7 things that are different
Germany and USA are often pitted against each other for various reasons. The cultures of two countries are anything but same. While US culture has ‘go get it’ attitude. The German culture is more ‘let’s play it safe’. So here are seven things that are different in Germany than in the USA.
In the US, not having a car is a huge disadvantage. Due to its vast geography and lack of good public transport requires people to own a car. Furthermore, cheap fuel makes owning a car much cheaper.
Meanwhile in Germany, or in Europe for that matter cities are closely knit. Which means you can easily walk or bike to closest supermarket to buy your groceries. Moreover, the high cost of insurance and fuel elopes many people from owning a car. The excellent public transport infrastructure lets you get to where you want quickly.
There is a lot of debate over healthcare in the USA. A short stay in the hospital can cost you a fortune even with a good health insurance. It is a known fact that big pharma and insurance companies lobby the government to make sure the policies are mended in their favor.
The German healthcare is not perfect either. Yet it is far better than that of the USA. Germany is one of the few countries with Universal healthcare. The health insurance companies are largely non-profit and run by the government. Most often than not, a trip to the hospital would cost you nothing but little money. In some cases, you will be paid ‘Krankengeld’ (Sickness fund), which is compensation for loss of income while you are sick.
Salary and taxes
This is where the USA takes the baton. The salaries in the USA tend to be pretty high and lower taxes. The highest sales tax in the USA is under 10% and most US states have lower taxes than that. Also, cost of living can be relatively lower when compared to similar cities in Germany. Overall there is more money in the bank at the end of the month.
German salaries are as much as half of that in the USA, most of the times. Income taxes and social contributions would bite a huge percentage off of your salary. In addition, the sales tax is 19%, which is higher than in the USA. In a nutshell, less money in your bank at the end of the month. However, the extremely well established social security system will keep you from going bankrupt when things get tough.
Homeownership vs Renting
As mentioned before the US culture breeds on ‘go get it’ attitude. The most prominent symbol of being successful is owning a home. A house in the USA can be a bungalow in Germany. It does not come as a surprise that home ownership in the USA is almost 60%. The tax laws favor home ownership and mortgage is easy to obtain, combine that with high salaries it becomes easier to buy a home in the USA. Mortage crisis of 2008 anyone?
Germans prefer renting an apartment over buying. The homeownership in Germany is about 40%. The houses are also usually small when compared to US counterparts. One reason for that is, Germans prefer not getting into debt. In German, the word for debt is ‘schuld’, which means ‘guilt’. The second reason is mortgage is more difficult to obtain and requires a pretty high downpayment. Also, the German tax laws do not favor homeowners.
Education in the USA is a costly business. While the USA is host to one of the most prominent universities in the world, the cost of tuition can run high. While one can go to a bank and get a loan to fund their education. Repaying a loan is a stressful business.
Education is mostly free in Germany. Unless you are looking for an MBA degree, you would almost pay nothing but minimum contribution every semester. Even though many universities do not match up to infrastructure and marketing of their US counterparts, German universities are by no means less competitive. Universities in Germany are largely focused on research and specialization.
SEE ALSO: How to apply at a university in Germany?
Work ethics, weekends and vacations
For the most part, Americans take pride in working hard and long. Thus not taking vacations and working long hours is a sign of dedication towards the job. Americans have the lowest paid vacation in any of the modern industrialized nations.
Working on the weekends is often discouraged. The Friday afternoon is meant for a beer with colleagues, Saturday is to run errands and Sunday is family time. Taking time off the work is also encouraged as it is believed that a frustrated worker means lower overall productivity.
Freedom and patriotism
In most parts, Americans pride themselves on being a land of free spirit. May it be freedom of speech or the second amendment. Americans in a large number believe any restriction by the government is a breach of their freedom. Americans are also one of the most patriotic people too. There are Amercian flags on everything and anything.
In Germany, the expressing of patriotism is very restricted. It is still hard to find anything with a German flag on it. If anything Germans pride themselves on efficiency and productivity as their national identity. The restriction on freedom of expression is felt to be necessary by the people to maintain law and order. A few things which seem very common in the USA, are unimaginable in Germany. The only time when you can see German flags outside houses and on the cars is during major football tournaments.
Do you agree with the points I made? or is there something I missed out on? Let me know in the comments.
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