Why is life abroad (Germany) not for me?

Abinav Ravi
4 min readOct 15, 2023

This August I made a very peculiar decision of coming back to India from Germany. I have lived in Germany close to 6 years in time working and studying my masters degree. My life has been enriched due to certain habits cultivated here. I have heard many people that they want to move to Germany. But why did I choose to leave the country and move back to India? This post will explain my multiple reasons for taking that decision and maybe encourage you to get a perspective on this decision.

Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

Food:

I am very strict vegetarian in my dietary choice this means that I take Dairy products but no meat or poultry products or fish. The definition of vegetarianism in Germany includes eggs as well and I have become accustomed to scanning the labels for any traces of items that I don’t eat. But this limits the things that I can eat on a day to day basis and can become an issue over a large period of time. This probably contributed to about 2% in the decision.

Family:

Photo by Natalya Zaritskaya on Unsplash

I have been known to be quite family oriented. I have a great relationship with my parents and extended family. It is tiring to be so far away from them and observe festivities and functions where everyone gets together and have a great time.

Feeling of home:

Though Germany has been good to me past 6 years I could never call it home. It felt very weird going home for 4 weeks every year just to stay at home and enjoy the company of people I love. My inability to learn the German language adds to this misery and limits my scope of making friends etc.

Friends moving away:

Most of the very close friends that I had moved away from me and this caused the problem of loneliness and my nature of introversion didn’t help. I began to feel quite down mentally and my only human contact on many days were video calls with parents and meme sharing with friends on Instagram. This just adds up a huge mental pressure, I realised this and wanted to act on it before it led to a mental breakdown or depression.

Weather:

Photo by Sonaal Bangera on Unsplash

I come from a part of India where there is sun about 10 months of the year. whereas in Munich Germany that is not the case. The winters are dreadful to live and without company it makes things even more difficult mentally.

War, Inflation and Wage:

Since I don’t feel a lot at home, the Ukraine Russia war started putting dents on my pocket as well as some very valid questions in my mind. These questions are

  • Why should I suffer the consequence of something that I don’t remotely relate with?
  • The German govt promising aid to Ukraine must come from somewhere and it will eventually come from the taxes that I would pay the government.
  • Inflation was increasing on a weekly basis with everything becoming expensive meant that I couldn’t save a lot and this started affecting the money I could save. As an expat my main motive to stay in Germany was to make some money so that I can live better when I move back home

Though the work life and the job was good I was facing questions about whether the place was right for me and whether I would be happier in India even though I might earn significantly less.

Tech sector and booming economy of India

While things in Germany were not looking so good macroeconomically India was the fastest growing economy in the world (2023 Q2) and the wages in India for my position were really good compared to the average, that kind of convinced me that I could not only make a living but save money and live a better quality of life.

Home is Home:

People may say India has this problem or that but it is still home and it makes more sense for me to stay at home than criticise from the outside. Maybe I can contribute in my own way maybe not.

Conclusion

Maybe my reasons don’t make sense to you but always be wary of how choices impact you and whether you will be okay with it in the long term. I couldn’t live so far away from family and friends but it maybe different for you.

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