How to Live in Germany If You Only Speak English

How to Live in Germany If You Only Speak English

You have just arrived in Germany, but don’t know any German. What do you do? In large cities like Berlin, many people speak English. In smaller cities and towns that may be a little hard to find someone.

What can you do if you live in Germany, but only speak English?

Ask Someone If They Speak English

If you are living in a city, stopping to ask someone if they speak English can be a start. Many Germans do speak and know some English and it is taught in schools for about 5 years as well.

Some may not have used it since their school years and may have forgotten some words, or some may not have been taught it in schools. Depending on the generation of Germans, the younger generations are taught English while the older generations are not.

A lot of Germans are happy to help even if they may only know a little English themselves.

Use Translating Apps

A great way if you need help is to use a translating app like Google Translate or DeepL. Type what you want to say or ask and try to (if you want) speak it or show the translated text to the person.

You can download an app for Google Translate that you can use your microphone on your phone to record and it will translate it for you.

If there is a document and it’s all written in German, you can also use the camera option on google translate, or simply type it in, to help you understand.

Enroll Into A Language Class

You don’t need to be fluent in German, even the basics are just as good to help you get around. You can learn German by yourself online, via apps, videos on Youtube, or by enrolling in a course either nearby or online.

A German language course is very popular in Germany and is one of the best ways to learn the language. You can take a course at a local school (Volkshochshule), University, or Online.

You can meet people in similar situations as you, who may even come from the same country as you.

This is a great way to make friends practice learning German together and feel more comfortable.

There are also different levels of the German language from A1-A2 (beginner), B1-B2 (intermediate), and C1-C2 (fluent).

Whichever level you want to reach is entirely up to you, although B1 is what you often need for an Ausbildung (apprenticeship).

Make German-Speaking Friends

These friends don’t have to be native German speakers, but those in your German course, or who you may talk to in a coffee shop. It is a great way to get connected while you are living in Germany, and feel less alone.

You could become a volunteer or join a group, as doing so will immerse you into the German language and culture.

Some Germans may want to practice their English skills and speak English with you.

Hire A Translator

For some occasions where you need clear communication and understanding, like government things, or searching for an apartment. Some documents may need to be translated into German, like a visa.

This is where a translator can be very helpful, to translate your documents for you and to speak and translate on your behalf.


No matter how long you stay in Germany, there are many ways to get around with only knowing English. It is important for a longer, or permanent stay to eventually learn the German language as it can be helpful for you to live, and feel comfortable in and around Germany.

If you’re interested in becoming fluent in a new language, check out these top online learning resources: Kick off your learning with Babbel, where interactive, enjoyable lessons are designed to blend smoothly into your routine, fostering fast and effective language learning. For those aiming for an in-depth understanding, Udemy provides a broad spectrum of courses from basic to advanced levels. To enhance your speaking skills, Preply connects you with native speakers for personalized coaching, ensuring significant improvement. Take advantage of a 50% discount on your first lesson at Preply with this link.

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