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Americans in Berlin?
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Shaytess



Joined: 12 Oct 2006
Posts: 64
Location: Berlin

PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2007 10:36 am    Post subject: Americans in Berlin? Reply with quote

I am moving to Berlin with my American husband in September. I've been reading how dire the situation for jobs is for Americans. I know there must be some Americans teaching in Berlin, though... I am a highly-qualified ESL teacher (M.A. in Applied Linguistics, TESOL Certificate) and am wondering if this will help me find a job, despite the fact that I am American. Can any Americans in Berlin please tell me how they found their jobs? Are you working 2 part-time jobs? Will universities hire? Any advice would be appreciated, because I am definitely moving and I definitely need to work.
THANKS!
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9446
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2007 11:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You need to check the current German Embassy website for visa restrictions on US workers in the field. The laws have tightened quite a bit over the past two or three years.

One possible route (which has worked for me) is to see whether your husband's company (I'm assuming he works for either an international corp or a US-based one doing business in Germany) can negotiate a work permit for non-EU spouses of its staff.

Essentially, if they are asking your husband to move to Germany, they should also be willing to support you to the extent that they can ensure that you're eligible for work permits. I don't mean his company would HIRE you, but that they would negotiate with the authorities for work permits on behalf of non-EU member spouses. (sorry - I hope that's clear!)

While you're qualified for uni jobs, they are thin on the ground, and your qualifications probably still won't get you a work permit. I'm in a similar situation (MA TESL/TEFL + 10 years of experience) but I was absolutely turned down flat in the Netherlands, when a uni wanted to hire me and petitioned for an exemption on my behalf. Spouse's company stepped in and saved me, and the other non-EU spouses.
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halloagain



Joined: 21 May 2007
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2007 1:19 pm    Post subject: Re: Americans in Berlin? Reply with quote

Shaytess wrote:
I am moving to Berlin with my American husband in September. I've been reading how dire the situation for jobs is for Americans. I know there must be some Americans teaching in Berlin, though... I am a highly-qualified ESL teacher (M.A. in Applied Linguistics, TESOL Certificate) and am wondering if this will help me find a job, despite the fact that I am American. Can any Americans in Berlin please tell me how they found their jobs? Are you working 2 part-time jobs? Will universities hire? Any advice would be appreciated, because I am definitely moving and I definitely need to work.
THANKS!


you will have a difficult time finding a teaching gig in berlin. you will have a difficult time finding a job doing much of anything in berlin. but if you are industrious, you might be able to find private clients.
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Shaytess



Joined: 12 Oct 2006
Posts: 64
Location: Berlin

PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2007 9:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What about work at a chain like Berlitz or Wall Street...? Do they hire without a work permit? I'm in Istanbul now, where most chains just use "illegal" teachers... What about being a freelance teacher? Does that mean you don't need a work permit?
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9446
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2007 9:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The laws are pretty tight. You would need a work permit for the chain schools. "Freelance" takes some time to build up contacts and private students are pretty unreliable. Also, if you havent' got a legal work permit, a lot of students aren't going to want to work with you, because many will want receipts for fees paid, so that they can declare the costs for tax purposes or to their employers.

I still think your likliest option is to try to go through the company that employs your husband.
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JZer



Joined: 16 Jan 2005
Posts: 3824
Location: Alaska

PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2007 1:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you can get a work permit you might also try to land a job in a Volkshochschule which is for adults who want to study at night. But as previously stated, probably no employer will be willing to offer you a visa.
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Shaytess



Joined: 12 Oct 2006
Posts: 64
Location: Berlin

PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2007 10:54 am    Post subject: The Process Reply with quote

Well, I am here in Berlin and am figuring out how to do things, so I will update as I go along in case any other Americans are considering moving here and need some advice like I did about how to go about getting work.

First, I got an interview or two. This was not a problem at all. Lots of companies will be willing to see you if you have good teaching qualifications-experience. So, it seems quite easy to get 'freelance' teaching positions. The catch is you have to do all the paperwork on your own - before you can start working. This seems to be the tricky part. Also, you will need some months' savings to live off of while you are getting permission to work.

The companies that are interested in hiring you can give you a Letter of Intent to Hire which is supposed to make it more likely for you to get a work visa.

The paperwork goes like this at the beginning. First, you have to register with the local police (Meldeamt) that you are living in Germany. You need your passport and your rental contract.

Next, you register for a residency permit and work permit. This is the step I am at now. I will let people know how it goes. I also need to open a bank account and get health insurance and I am not sure in what order this all goes.
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smoofy



Joined: 22 Jul 2004
Posts: 17
Location: Oakland, Ca USA

PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2007 6:14 pm    Post subject: THANK YOU! Reply with quote

Shaytess wrote:
Well, I am here in Berlin and am figuring out how to do things, so I will update as I go along in case any other Americans are considering moving here and need some advice like I did about how to go about getting work.

First, I got an interview or two. This was not a problem at all. Lots of companies will be willing to see you if you have good teaching qualifications-experience. So, it seems quite easy to get 'freelance' teaching positions. The catch is you have to do all the paperwork on your own - before you can start working. This seems to be the tricky part. Also, you will need some months' savings to live off of while you are getting permission to work.

The companies that are interested in hiring you can give you a Letter of Intent to Hire which is supposed to make it more likely for you to get a work visa.

The paperwork goes like this at the beginning. First, you have to register with the local police (Meldeamt) that you are living in Germany. You need your passport and your rental contract.

Next, you register for a residency permit and work permit. This is the step I am at now. I will let people know how it goes. I also need to open a bank account and get health insurance and I am not sure in what order this all goes.


Thank you thank you thank you!!! This is the first helpful bit of information I've seen on Dave's so far! Good luck and do keep us informed of how it goes!
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9446
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2007 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It ends in a brick wall, sadly.

Sigh. For so many newbies 'helpful' ONLY = favorable.

Look. I'm in largely the same boat as you. Except I know a lot more about the local laws and job markets.
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smoofy



Joined: 22 Jul 2004
Posts: 17
Location: Oakland, Ca USA

PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2007 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

spiral78 wrote:
It ends in a brick wall, sadly.

Sigh. For so many newbies 'helpful' ONLY = favorable.

Look. I'm in largely the same boat as you. Except I know a lot more about the local laws and job markets.


I'm not a newbie. Although new to the German situation, I've been traveling the world teaching English for 5 years. And I know enough to know when someone is giving me good advice, and someone is complaining about the current state of the educational job market. Facts help too.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9446
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2007 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've tried to send you a PM.

Honestly, I'm NOT trying to rain on anyone's parade.
It's seriously the truth that the current law in Germany makes the job search for a US citizen 99% impossible.

It really can't be that 'useful' info is equivalent to FAVORABLE info.

We have a responsiblity here to provide REALISTIC info when we can. I've been around Europe for the past 10 years, and there are many regular posters on the forum with more experience here than I have.

We regularly get flamed by North Americans who are unhappy with the news that there really aren't any legal openings to many EU member countries.

It's NOT because we want to be negative - it's honestly the reality.
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smoofy



Joined: 22 Jul 2004
Posts: 17
Location: Oakland, Ca USA

PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2007 7:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I appreciate you sharing your opinion on how difficult the situation is. But saying there is no chance *can't* be realistic.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9446
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2007 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have you looked yet at the German federal hiring laws for English teachers? I promise you, it IS realistic.

Sorry.
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Shaytess



Joined: 12 Oct 2006
Posts: 64
Location: Berlin

PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2007 3:07 pm    Post subject: Job in Berlin Reply with quote

I am sorry, Spiral 78, but I really do not know what you are talking about. I have already had 3 interviews in the first 3 weeks of arriving, and have 2 job offers already. I am also supposed to call 2 more schools tomorrow to set up interviews.

There is an exception in German labor laws for language teachers, so that no 'search for German or EU citizens who can do that job before they will hire an American' must be done, as is necessary with workers from other market segments. So, with these "Letters of Intent to Hire," your potential employer claims that the school needs you as a native English speaker - AND as a speaker of American English in particular - and then you can get hired.

I have met approximately 10 Americans here, in my 3 weeks of being in Berlin, who have been hired this way and are happily working in Berlin now.

I was terrified to move to Berlin because of so much negative advice on Dave's ESL cafe regarding Americans working in Germany! I wonder why people are so exceedingly negative on here?
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 9446
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2007 4:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aha, now I am beginning to understand your point, and I will check with my friends in the German system asap. I appreciate this latest post.


I KNOW you can get interviews, offers, and letters of intent to hire. I have done all that in the past (more than once).

The new key, if it's accurate (and I hope so) is that exceptions are now being made by the government for English teachers. This was NOT the case in the recent past, but I can only surmise that the government recognized a gap in the labor market and opened things a bit.

I will be interested to hear whether this ultimately works out for you.
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