I want to make an appeal to the users of this site; both new members and ones that often contribute. What I observe is that many people join, post a basic question and then are never heard from again. Others are regular contributors but often give short set answers that tend to be discouraging. One reason might be that it gets tiring to so often repeat the same basic stuff.
How does one find a job for an English speaker in Germany? Answer: it’s tough, learn German. While this is true it is also rather obvious and not very enlightening. I think people are hoping for more specific advice. One way is to give more specific information about one’s qualifications and purpose when asking a question. For people responding, yes, the same questions get asked over and over. But it is like finding a needle in a haystack for a new person here to find the appropriate threads. If one has answered a similar question in detail on another thread, it is much easier to find it on your own timeline and post a link to the thread rather than have someone search the site for it!
Another thing is that there is always a lot more information out there that no single person will have experienced. I often think; oh, never heard of such a thing in Germany. And then I Google it and find that things exist that I had no clue about. And yes, Google is amazing which leads to the question why people don’t just google themselves before asking on this site? Some might not think of it or are clueless about how to frame the search criteria to get a good answer. Our knowledge as expats can be helpfully in answering questions directly or having the insight of what to look for at Google. It might sound like an extra effort but it actually saves time. I’ve often found a site I could recommend that gives a more complete answer than I would have been able to manage even after an hour’s worth of effort. Directing people to already existing resources in the internet is often the most time effective strategy.
What I find most disappointing is the 1 question members. It would be really nice to see more people follow up and tell how things worked out. It encourages people to hear that one CAN succeed in navigating the jungle of getting a visa or finding a job. Even if one doesn’t become a regular contributor, it is nice to give something back and help out the next person in a similar situation. This is what community is all about! Give something back. And if one did not get a useful answer here then it might be all the more reason to be the one to answer that question for the next person since nobody else on the site was able or willing.
It seems 95 % of the answers on the German forum are from a handful of contributors. But often there will be a question from someone in India or the Philippines looking to immigrate to Germany. I’ve lived a while in Germany and have traveled in both India and the Philippines yet as an American I cannot know what it is like to deal with Indian or Philippian officials to facilitate a move or a marriage to a German. This is when Indians and Filipinos residing in Germany can best answer the questions. Yes, this does happen on occasion but not nearly enough. India and the Philippines are just examples. It can mean a lot to someone to get an answer from someone from the same country, and through direct messaging, in the local language!
Another subject is scammers. Plenty of people find this site and try to use it to find ”sponsorship” or to lead people on that they are interested in a relationship. This is easy to report and usually dealt with rather quickly. Some questions that get posted on the forum sound questionable. It is appropriate to point out the inconsistencies or questionable things without insult or making outright accusations. The best solution is to stay factual and give the rules of how things work rather than trying to decide oneself if the person actually fulfills the requirements. Often things that sound strange can be problem of misinterpretation. People posting here are often not native English speakers. Or they might have misunderstood a situation. Best to clarify the situation before accusing one of being a scammer. Even if someone is a scammer, the factual information given in response to a question might be helpful to others with legitimate intentions. As far as I see it, asking questions is (nearly) always OK- asking for funding with sob stories or using the site for meeting a mate is clearly forbidden anyway, just report it.