living in germany as an expat
Expat Life in Germany,  Lifestyle

45 Signs That You Have Been Living in Germany For Too Long

Most expats don’t realise how much life as an expat in Germany alters them until they return home and struggle with reverse culture shock. Here is a silly but relatable list of 45 signs that you have been living in Germany for too long. 


Let’s face it: When you have been living in a foreign country for a few years, it will start rubbing off on you – whether you like it or not.

I came to Germany for the first time in 2010. In 2012, I moved back to the country of my birth. As soon as I landed, I started to experience a massive reverse culture shock. Within a week of arriving in India, I hatched a plan to go back to Germany. 

Ladies and Gents, in that one week I realised that I had been Germanised in those two years. There are so many things – subtle habits that I have picked along the and didn’t even notice. 

As of 2020, I have been living in Germany for a total of eight years. Last fall, I visited India for a couple of weeks. I realised during this trip that now I am even more Germanised that ever before. 


Waltzing in Oktoberfest zelt while wearing Tracht? CHECK


This holiday really got me thinking hard about the signs that you’ve been living in Germany for a long time. At this time this list is just about 45. I will keep with adding to it as I think of new ones.


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Let the assimilation begin…

    1. You genuinely appreciate the German Ordnung – and miss it deeply when you are in a foreign country or back home
    2. You have come to appreciate the high tax system in Germany
    3. You intuitively start to separate your müll into 7 different mülltonne
    4. You have 107 types of insurances and don’t know what exactly they’re for

    5. You catch yourself saying tja and naja every at least 11 times every day
    6. You carry a bunch of cash everywhere you go 
    7. Ruhezeiten have become sacred hours for youlife in germany
    8. German straightforwardness does not shock you anymore
    9. In fact, now you find over- friendliness of other cultures too superficial for your taste
    10. You do not hesitate before stripping down to nought at the sauna

      Want to read some more about expat life in Germany?
      These books may help


    11. You arrive exactly 5 – 10 minutes before any appointment and expect the same of others
    12. Speaking of time, you are now fluent in military time system
    13. You now carry reusable shopping bags and frown upon those who buy plastic bags at the shopping till
    14. Great weather now means – anytime when it is not raining…
    15. You wait at the red signal – even when there are no cars in sight

      Suggested Reading for German Food Lovers




    16. You have learnt to make potatoes in 20 different ways
    17. You look forward to seasonal German foods like –Weiß Spargel, Flammkuchen mit Federweißer or Kürbissuppe.
    18. Suerkraut or mettwürst has grown over you – you actually love them!
    19. Abendbrot is now an acceptable dinner for you
    20. You now religiously believe that German beer is the best in the worldgerman beer tours
    21. You say your last name whenever the phone rings instead of ‘Hello’
    22. You say ‘Hallo/ Guten Tag’ whenever you enter the doctor’s waiting room and ‘Auf Wiedersehen’ when you leave
    23. You automatically take your shoes off whenever you enter someone’s house 
    24. You gasp audibly when a guest does not take their shoes off when they enter your home (and you never invite them. Ever again!)life in germany as an expat
    25. You open your windows every day for umluftung, even on the coldest of winter days.
    26. Apfelschorle, Weinschorle or any-schorle is now your standard drink to order at a cafe!
    27. It is now normal for you to accept your neighbour’s packages and feel fine when they accept yours when you aren’t home
    28. You always remember to take an umbrella or a regenjacke whenever you head out
    29. You forbid yourself from wishing someone “Happy Birthday” before their birthday
    30. You appreciate the idea of a Pfand and religiously collect your pfandable bottles

      Suggested Reading for Long Term Expats in Germany




    31. Making a table reservation is a norm for you when planning to dine out
    32. You look forward to your Feierabend every evening – even when you work from home
    33. You effortlessly greet your German colleagues with a Mahlzeit!
    34. You say Genau in a conversation every few minutes – even when the conversation is in English!
    35. You are not afraid of drinking in public areas and don’t hesitate to take ‘one for the way’
    36. You watch Dinner For One and drink feuerzangenbowle every New Year’s Eve
    37. You look forward to Christmas markets in November alreadyLife in Germany as an expat
    38. You love visiting your local therme as often as possible – especially during winter
    39. You have different beer glasses for specific types of beers
    40. You own Tracht! And NEVER miss a chance to flaunt itwhere to buy tracht in nurnberg
    41. You get seriously annoyed when someone talks loudly in the ruhebereich in the train
    42. You know better than to go grocery shopping just before the long weekend
    43. You use at least one item from Jack Wolfskin in your wardrobe.
    44. You are much more aware of sustainability and have picked several sustainable lifestyle habits – and you are proud of itsustainablity in germany And here is the last one! 😉

    45. Whenever you leave Germany to visit home, you terribly, utterly miss your real home in Germany. 🙁 🙁


Your turn now! How has living in Germany changed you? Do you have a special habit that you picked up while living in Germany? Tell us in the comments below.


Like this post? Read this Dummy’s Guide to Dating a German


living in germany long term


Want to learn more about Life in Germany? Start Here!

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Hi there, I am the human behind this blog. If you could not tell by my photo, I am fueled by tea. My expat journey started at the age of 19. Germany has been my home for several years. I hope you will find some helpful insights if you are considering moving to Germany or already live here.


  • menty

    hahaha, that’s very interesting post, I love it (even I’m not a Germany-based expat!)
    I live in Italy actually, and for sure, there are a lot of things are on the opposite site of your list here, but I’m also a Chinese and lived long time in Hong Kong, interestingly, there is few points perfectly matching with some German habits you are telling here!!!!

    • Yamini

      Hey Menty,

      Thank you for your comment. SO happy to hear that this post resonated with you even though you are in a different country. 🙂 Goes on to show expat everywhere make very similar experiences.

  • Steph

    wow. the list is so true.

    and it 100% reminds me of the fact that I no longer belong here. My point of view and attitude on so many of these things has changed and I personally would hate to go back to the German way as it is just not me.

    But it’s nice to see that others feel that way about Germany. It shows that it is normal to feel at home elsewhere and to miss a country when one is not there. It’s how I feel about Australia.

    • Yamini

      Hey Steph, thanks for stopping by! Totally agree – it’s possible to find a new home in a new country even if you come from a different culture. 🙂 On that note, love your blog! Enjoy your time in Germany! <3

  • Jenny

    Ha! What a fun post! I too am an expat in Germany. I am Australian, and actually wrote a block post about reverse culture shock a while back! There are many things on this list I am now used to. The weather in Germany is not one of them 😉

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