German Residence Permit Day – A true story

Or how not to get your Aufenthaltstitel

The big day started at 6:30 a.m. when I suddenly woke up and realized that today, November 27, was the date of my appointment at the Berlin Ausländerbehörde (Aliens Authority) to apply for my long-term residence visa (Aufenthaltstitel, not to be confused with an entry visa). I had made a reservation online and then received a confirmation email for an 8:00 a.m. appointment. That part of this experience had gone smoothly.

Unbelievably, the night before I had gone to bed without even setting my alarm clock! After a recent trip to France to visit my son and his fiancée, it had just plain slipped my mind. Totally weird how I just woke up and – bang! – realized it was visa day. Continue reading

Teaching English in German-Speaking Europe

So you think you want to teach English in Germany (or Austria, Switzerland)… Well, you’re certainly not the first American (or Brit, etc.) to come up with that idea. The good news: There is a demand for qualified native speakers of English to teach the language in German-speaking countries. The bad news: The pay and working conditions are often poor. Do you know the questions you should be asking (and answering) before you accept a job teaching English in Germany?


Do you know that Germans normally learn the British version of English?

In our German Way Forum and other expat forums the pros and cons of teaching English as a foreign language (EFL, ELT, TEFL, TESL, TESOL, not ESL)* in Germany get discussed from time to time. Complaints about low pay, poor work conditions, and bad management are not uncommon from people who have taught English for private schools like Berlitz or a public Volkshochschule (VHS, adult education night school) in Germany. Nevertheless, for some people, teaching English may be a good job option, but you need to have the facts before you can make that decision, and definitely before you get on a jet headed for Germany thinking you’re making a brilliant career move. Here are some of the questions you need answered before venturing into the EFL field. Continue reading