Establishing Abroad has been in contact with Luba Schifris who has worked both in the United States and in Germany.
She was willing to share her experiences with us in a long interview. She thinks there is a big different between the two continents and the way people interact with each other as well as the opportunities in both courtiers.
What are the cultural differences between Germany and the United States?
- American people are very open minded and easy going, which makes them in some cases superficial and not real, but still always very friendly.
On the other side Germans are very conservative, even though that depends on the area (differences between the west and the east) but if you find a good friend, then they are very loyal and u can trust them. In other words, they are very helpful.
Did you ever experience problems regarding a working visa in the United States?
- Yes I did. It is very difficult since there are many restrictions and my employer did not have the permission to provide me with a working visa (very few employers provide international employees with a working visa) because it is very expensive for them.
What did you work with in the United States and what do you work with now in Germany? How is it different?
- Now I work in the HR area. I am a recruiter and responsible for people who do internships or come to our company and write their bachelor/master thesis. I do all kind of organizational arrangements, I am responsible for traveling money, and different projects. In the United States, I worked as a manager at a big store called Target. There I was supervising 40 people and I was responsible for my area in the store (financially, HR wise). I did not enjoy my job in the United States because it was really stressful and I had not much help from my boss. I think I could have done a better job if I had a good boss that was helping me and leading me the right way. But since it was not the way I imagined, I struggled with my area. Here in Germany I feel like I am learning a lot every day and my boss is very supportive. The collegues are very friendly and helpful and I enjoy working with everyone.
What is he labor market like in Germany at the moment?
- The labor market is becoming better in Germany. There are more open spots. Companies have a huge pool of applicants to choose from. The situation for employees to find something good is really difficult since there are only a few good companies (BMW, Siemens, BOSCH) and everyone wants the best position. The unemployment rate has decreased drastically in the past months and is now less than 7%.
Have you ever felt discriminated in the United States because you are from Germany?
- No, I have never felt discriminated. People were very helpful and very friendly. Most of the time people were really excited to find out more about me and the country that I came from.
Is it easier to obtain a higher salary in Germany than it was in the United States?
- No, I don't think that it is easier. I only can relate to my own work experience and even though I made good money, I had to work really hard for it, most of the time 65 hrs a week. Life is cheaper in the United States but on the other hand people work a lot for the money that they wanna earn. I think that it depends on each person´s personality.
To me it isn't easier to make good money in Germany because even though it says I make (for example:€50000 a year), I would receive only about 1/2 of that money because of all kind of taxes, insurances and so forth that the government deducts from the pay checks.