Ruben (NZ): “My passport says I’m German but I don’t speak German”

Ruben is from New Zealand and he  came to Germany in January.What brought him to Germany? What does he like about Germany? And what is actually the difference to New Zealand? Read his answers here, enjoy! 🙂


My father is originally from Germany and I wanted to be closer to my family in Germany. Especially for learning the language. When you are not in the country it’s pretty much impossible to learn.


I have a German passport, so I can live and work here. My Dad’s cousin lives here with their two boys and partner, the two boys around my age but a bit younger than me. They speak English and they are very easy-going. They take care of me and watch out for me, sort of like an adopted Family, I’m forever thankful.


I also have two Aunties and some more cousins in Frankfurt. My sister up until recently live with her (NZ) partner near Munich for a couple of years, he was doing a scholarship in conjunction with Rosenheim University and that came to the end of its term, they have since gone back home to New Zealand. They both liked it in Germany.

About two years ago I came to Germany with my sister for a 5-week trip, I meet my family for only the 2nd time in my life! I fell in love with the place and ever since then I’ve wanted to come back.


What do you like about Germany?

Public transport is good, I like the architecture, the old cities like Frankfurt. I like that it’s in the center of Europe. People are really nice and laid back and they can handle the alcohol.

Public drinking is great. When you have a BBQ in the park you can drink, that’s really cool. In New Zealand we don’t have that, for example yesterday when Germany played (EM), everyone just gathered in the middle of the street, people were drinking, partying and the police blocked it off for the people, it was amazing!


What do you like about New Zealand?

It is very digital. Meaning you can do everything online. And I don’t have to carry around cash with me all the time. In New Zealand you rarely have cash with you, you can just pay by debit card.

Everything is spread out. In Germany you have a lot of apartments where about 4-8 families live. In New Zealand the majority of people live in houses, with a back yard and grass to play on.


What was new to you when you came to Germany?

Apart from the language, it’s new to me not having a car, but the public transport system sort of makes up for that.

My passport says I’m German but I don’t speak German, I never had a tax number. I’m relying on my cousins to translate. I always get that confused look from people when I explain my back story about why I’ve come to Germany, they expect me to know how to speak German haha.


In New Zealand we don’t have privatised health insurance like in Germany. The way it’s done in New Zealand is that all of our healthcare needs are subsidized automatically from the government. We don’t see any paper trail and everything is done in the background. The only difference really is that we pay a small premium when we see the doctor. But this is nothing more than 20 Euro. Drugs etc are also subsidized. Truth be told I prefer the German system.

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