Around ten days ago I have posted on the Facebook group “Munich International Friends” a very short survey with a few questions for newcomers to Munich. I was very happy to see that we got 40 responses, which I think is very good. Of course not for any serious statistical analysis, but enough to see some interesting patterns.
This report is very much a work in progress, so please give me some feedback of your views, comments, and suggestions on what else you’d like to see.
How immigrant-friendly is Munich? (1=very unfriendly, 10= very friendly)
Your answers in the chart below show that while the majority of you has rather positive views on this, there are several people who believe that Munich is not very immigrant-friendly (the distribution of answers is bimodal, statisticians would say…). In particular, out of 40 respondents, 14 respondents (35 percent) reply with a score between 1 and 5.
Why do you think that is the case?
Below, I list some of the more common comments. I have grouped those that were very similar together, so that it is tedious to read through. Some comments were really not on the topic, I am not listing all of those. Some of the respondents did not answer this, which means that the chart above is more informative to get a general sense of what people think. I divided them into rather positive and rather negative.
Why is Munich immigrant-friendly?
- People will try their best to make you feel at home
- It is a city and most local residents have international experience e.g exchange students, have visited other countries, watch foreign movies etc etc
- There are lots of immigrant communities, restaurants, festivals. Almost everybody speaks at least English, and most Germans speak some other language (Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, etc.).
- There are many positive things about Munich. Fr example, in many cases locals are helpful and friendly.
- Munich has lot of international immigrants and also people coming here onsite. Hence you get to see lots of mixed culture here. I personally feel the Germans here too are friendly enough to interact and mingle with. There are lot of international events conducted where people meetup and talk around. It indeed is a great place (Apart from the transport system 😉 ) to live such an international environment.
- Munich is immigrant-friendly… compared to where I come from: East Germany… we don’t like foreigners!
- Munich has always been nice to me personally. I never had major problems here. And i would say if we learn german it is much easier to move around with people here
- I used to live in Düsseldorf and Duisburg, and they still look at you with creepy and unhappy faces, and grind if you don’t speak German. In here is the complete opposite, I’ve always experienced super nice people, that actually make a community through communication and manners.
People here are very friendly, which makes this city so beautiful.
- There are many internationals so that makes it friendly
- there are more and more immigrants every year and so many communities and groups.
- I’ve only lived here 8 months now and for the time being everything has been rather smooth
- Munich has not been used to migration for long enough, but I think it is on a very positive direction.
Why is Munich not very immigrant-friendly?
- The culture in Munich is very traditional. Even looking at the stores in Munich, you can tell that people here are not interested in new ideas or innovation. Also, social groups here do not interact; whether in a bar, or in neighborhoods, Müncheners are hesitant to interact with strangers and have a very negative attitude towards non-white immigrants.
- People are quite afaraid immigrats will “steal” their jobs and money.
- When you need to deal with German authorities, it is often impossible to get service in English. This also applies in banks etc, which makes getting started in Munich more complicated for immigrants who do not speak any or speak only little German. Also finding a flat is very difficult in Munich, and I have personally encountered people who directly said that they will only rent their flat to a German person, not to a foreigner even if they speak German. I think this attitude is discriminatory. As to a cultural matter, I also find that German people, although friendly, can be rather difficult to make friends with.
- Very difficult getting help when not speaking german, everything from banking, getting internet and so on.
- The Bavarian attitude is really closed. Moreover, a certain behaviour of superiority versus people from South Europe doesn’t help.
- Very proud Germans, who are a bit skeptical of foreigners…
- Bavarians are totally racist and nobody is speaking English.
- conservatism, racism and prejudices, especially towards those from the developing world
- bureaucracy and unfriendly people at the alien’s office make it unfriendly and unwelcoming.
- Munich is quite international city, where other immigrants support newcomers and each other in a variety of possible ways.
- It is quite difficult to call Germans open and friendly, because mainly they are reserved.
- People are more conservative as compared to in other cities like Cologne
- I think Bavaria in general is more conservative and there are lots of old people, so if you go to places in Munich where it’s the hub for “natives” and you’re not Caucasian you stand out and get stared at, and not always in a nice way. Procedures and paperworks in Munich are also complicated and bureaucratic, I get that if you come to another country you learn the culture and language. I’m decent enough in German but I can’t say that I understand fully, so offices like KVR with their mostly unfriendly people don’t help immigrants have an easier time at all, heck, event he paperwork is so complicated that native germans have a hard time with it too.
- Overall friendly but being an immigrant is a big problem for finding housing
- Germans in the south are not friendly and open -Language barrier -You always stick to the international people that have the same conditions as you
- Closed and conservative society.
- Too many things ONLY in Germany…people seem to hate English, and think that immigrants should be able to speak perfect German from day 0. It’s ridiculous that at the Auslanderamt (an office…for foreigners) one needs to come with a German speaker, because the employees give only information in German. But this is not only specific to Munich…it’s general of Germany. I don’t think that if I work, pay my taxes, respect the rules…but don’t speak this difficult language, I should be treated like a 2nd class person.
What would make it better for newcomers?
- speak german
- If the bureaucracy would be lessened and the people at the offices are more understanding that not all immigrants already speak German when they arrive. [several people mentioned bureucracy and initial paperwork]
- Learning Good german before coming here
- Never compare munich with your home country
- Never compare germans with other people
- Arrange a volontary-group maybe that can help foreigners with this kind of things for a small fee.
- Form is as importance as substance when it comes to welcoming immigrants.
- Munich has got everything for everyone. I personally don’t think any problems or difficulties for newcomers.. But, yes finding a flat to stay is quite difficult though…
- There should always be a medium where newcomers can join and get to know about Munich and different events conducted here in-order to know people and experience both Bavarian and other cultures.
- less bureaucracy
- Banks and authorities should also have employees who are capable and willing of speaking English. Discriminating people on the basis of their nationality or ethnicity in any context should naturally be stopped and, if necessary, punished.
- Housing in Munich for sure. It really does suck up your energy to find a resoanable one.
- Some way to let newcomers know all the German requirements when moving into the country (like the Anmeldung at the KVR, the Rundfunkbeitrag, Supermarkets opening hours, etc.).
- I think Munich or Germany in general also have to adapt to the influx of migrants coming in, whether it’s providing things in English or other languages, having hubs to help immigrants settle down, having cultural days or what not. If Germany expects its immigrants to adapt to its own culture, then it has to have a symbiotic relationship with the immigrants as well.
- I think better integration would help Munich. A lot of this is putting out positive messaging about immigration (like immigrants are not the cause of unemployment for German workers, there is actually a shortage of workers in many industries in Munich, and not every non-white foreigner is seeking asylum). I think misinformation plays a big role in many people’s fear of foreigners, as well as the negative experiences that foreigners have in Munich. More effort from government agencies or NGOs to help newcomers would also be nice. Online videos or classes about simple things that can make life here easier: how to buy the right ticket for public transportation, how to register, how to format your CV, finding an apartment, the German educational system, what are your legal rights while you are in Germany, how to recycle, using a Pfand machine, etc. When I was in Denmark there were free classes to learn how to ride a bike, as well as free language classes for all foreigners. This helped with better understanding the culture as these teachers can give personal insight into how things work in their homeland. I also know that there are some programs that connect refugees with German families to help them transition to life in Munich, and I think it would be great to extend this program to anyone who is interested to connect people from Munich with newcomers so that there is always at least one personal contact that they can call when the people speaking english in more offices (es. integrationkurse office in KVR)
- Rule of thumb: Don’t be scared of learning a new language. It is the best and a necessary way to integrate within the society and feel a part of the culture. Although you will find and have many international friends, German language is a must for even starting to get the feel of belonging and integrating.
- To integrate better in a German society – learn German, get used to German way of life and be punctual and responsible. To feel like home and find friends – try to make connections with other internationals: collegues, neigbours, roommates, etc.
Overall, how would you say your migration experience to Munich has been? (1=very bad)
From the chart below, it is worth noting that average responses are higher than i the first question. This means that some of us say that they had a good experience moving to Munich even though they think that Munich is not very immigrant friendly. Out of 40 respondents, 27 (close to 70 percent) chose a score of 7 and above.
What are the main reasons why that is the case?
- Fortunately, in Munich there are also very kind people and lots of strangers. Moreover, at the University people are really open-minded and no discrimination is made between Germans and foreigners.
- I have a good group of Italian people here 😉
- I succeeded in what i wa doing, took my masters found a good job, speaking the language.
- Luckily i had lot friends in my neighborhood and also at my office who are Germans and they where quiet open and friendly. I always had a lovely time around them and of-course loved hanging out with them. I had also been to different events in Munich where you get to know lot of immigrants and get to know their experiences so far in Germany.
- Nice people, lot of studies and job opportunities 😉
- Every time I go out I fall more in love with the city, it’s super pretty and crazy green, I found a job pretty fast and in an overall the people is really nice. 🙂
- The lived in a city called Jena for my studies before shifting to Munich. Jena was more conservative but Munich is great. Lots of places around Bayern to roam around and the city is more international.
- I was staying in Saxony for about one year, now I am in Munich, which is very much lively and happening city.
- Friendly local people. They are open to help anyone in English or in German (great quality). I am working here, so didn’t find time to go parties or pubs, but I hope these too will be very fun for youngsters. People make place beautiful, and not just the place itself. I love Munich.. 🙂
- Life quality is higher
- Very welcoming group of people in my class (uni) International group of friends Associated mainly with people who had visited/lived in another country besides their home countries.
- For West-Germans it is hard to come to East-Germany, because East-Germans don’t really like West-Germans… For me as a student from East Germany I was impressed how warm the people integrated me into Munich.
- I had learned German before so I could manage from the beginning. Otherwise the experience would be much worse
- I speak German so I have been able to get started in Munich pretty well: paperwork and dealing with authorities hasn’t presented any major problems. It was also easy for me to get a job and an intership position in Munich, which is a very positive thing.
- I was lucky. I had enrolled myself into the Studentenwerk housing waiting list a year before moving to Munich, and it only took me amazingly three days to get a dorm room after I got to the city. I had also lived in another German city before (Heidelberg), and got to Munich with a B1 level in German. I also had some contacts living in Munich already.
- There is an amazing international community in Munich, which makes you feel welcome and at home.
- The city is ugly, boring, without any character and interest, and the people are totally horrible.
- I find that people are polite in Munich, but making friends with anyone, but expats is painful, if not impossible.
- Closed and conservative society. Afraid of anything outside of their comfort zone and with tints of racism.
- Housing is terrible here, and I feel that non-caucasians are faced with higher difficulty finding a place. I don’t get why landlords are so picky and why’re there not enough housing or new properties being built. Faced some racists. Not direct but the talking behind you in German, insulting you in German and thinking you don’t understand. My landlord is an asshole and tries to milk as much money as he can from me and making my residence in my current place uncomfortable. I think he can only do this to me because he knows I don’t know perfect German and not very knowledgeable with tenant rights or legal laws.
- it has been difficult to build friendships with the locals. In the nine months that I have spent here, I have made many friends, but not one of them is German, despite the fact that I study in a German-speaking MA program in a German university. Also, looking for accommodation was a long and frustrating process.
- There are too few apartments on offer.
- Bavarians are not very social, especially if you don’t speak Bayrisch
- Awful situation with finding the accommodation, which is simply not possible at the begginning of every new semester. Not friendly Germans, who are in a winning position because of having a property in Munich, and putting you in a “no way out” situation with prices, terms of lease and rules of contracts. Absolute materialism.
How long have you been in Munich?
Among our respondents, we have both newcomers (stayed up to one year) and people who stayed here already longer (between one and five years).
|Less than six months||12.5%|
|Between six months and one year||35%|
|Between one and two years||17.5%|
|Between two and five years||32.5%|
|Between five and ten years||2.5%|
|More than ten years||0%|
How much longer do you think you will stay in Munich?
|Less than six months||11||28.2%|
|Between six months and one year||2||5.1%|
|Between one and two years||9||23.1%|
|Between two and five years||11||28.2%|
|More than five years / forever||6||15.4%|
Where do you think you will go next?
Some want to go to other countries:
- USA (4 people)
- France (3 people)
- UK (6 people)
Some would prefer to go back home:
- Back to Spain
- Back to Italy (2 people)
- Back to Sweden
- Back to Finland
- Back to the Netherlands
Some would like to stay in Germany but go to another city:
- Berlin (2 people)
What do you do in Munich?
What is your country of birth?
What do you feel is your national identity?
Feel free to add more details if you want
- I still somehow feel Venezuelan/Latino, but in general I’ve always felt like a citizen of the world.
- I absolutely love living here, but I’ll always have the super latin american roots (love for food, being loud, making friends super easy and being helpful :p )
- We are different than alot of people, thats we get along with italians/greeks/latins. We have the same conditions and more or less the same culture. This makes us get along very quickly. The german culture is completely different, it is strict , it is cold(compared to us), very independent.
I identify my gender as
|Prefer not to disclose||0||0%|
How old are you?