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A career in Germany?

I want to move to Germany to be with my boyfriend — but what can I do as a career?

Slow down, says our elder. You’re only 16!

Dear EWC

I’m 16 years old. A while ago, I met who I believe is the love of my life. He was an exchange student at my high school. Now in Germany, we’re trying to figure out a plan. I recently went to visit him and realized that’s where I wanted to be… with him in Germany. I’m currently online schooled (to make our six-hour time difference easier) and trying my best to learn the German language. I’ve done everything I can. While choosing my high school diploma on my online program, I had options such as going into healthcare or law enforcement and so on and so forth. I’ve always wanted to be a neonatal nurse. Always. But with my recent decision to move to Germany, I don’t know how that’ll go. Also am not sure when I’ll be moving. Could possibly be before high school is over because I can continue my online program over there with him. I’m trying my best to learn German but I’m just not sure when I’ll be able to have everyday conversations with natives. So I’m not sure what job I should invest in when moving there. I’m not looking for you to say “your career comes first” because I’ve already decided I’m doing whatever allows me to be with him in Germany. I just want to know if you have any ideas or concerns or anything really. Any job ideas, any advice, anything. So there’s just a little insider to how much I’ve changed things just to make us possible. So please help.

Greg replies

Thanks for writing to us and asking for advice.

You seem to be making a major, life-changing decision at age 16. While I do have a bit of practical advice for you, I would be remiss if I did not raise a concern first. You did ask for advice, right?
I think you are too young to do this. I know that age 16 can feel very grown-up, and, in many ways, it is. You are well on your way to full adulthood, but you are not there yet. I don’t know where you live, but in many states, you are not legally an adult yet and cannot marry. You don’t say anything about your parents or guardians, but they certainly need to be involved in this decision.

My biggest concern is that you will have a long life ahead of you. You’ll meet new people; go new places and experience things you can’t even imagine right now. I know that has been my experience. At age 65 I find myself having done things and gone places I never thought would happen. In other words, I think you need to slow down in this relationship. I don’t know if your boyfriend is your ‘first love’, but at age 16 it is likely he won’t be the last. I have known a few people who married at age 16 or 17 and sometimes it works out, but often it does not. And even if it does work out, there’s a lot of pain along the way.

It is possible you were swept away by your boyfriend being from another country and culture than yours. It’s a romantic experience to meet someone from another culture and to experience feelings for that person. But most of the time that is not going to be the kind of love that will last for decades to come. I’m concerned that you are letting yourself in for a lot of suffering if you go through with this. And what do your parents think? For that matter, what do your boyfriend and his parents think?
If you are determined to go ahead with this move, there are a host of things for you to consider. What would be your immigration status in Germany? Would you even be allowed to work? What about health care once you get there? You are not a German citizen, but a visiting foreigner. Germany is going through a major rethinking of its attitude toward immigrants right now and not all newcomers are welcome. Would you have to marry your boyfriend to get benefits? Are you old enough to marry in Germany?

You ask about careers. I applaud your interest in neonatal nursing; that profession will always be in demand in the US. But what about in the DEU? The health care system is completely different there. Also, the educational system is totally different. Would your online HS diploma get you a place in higher education?
As for your command of German, I would not worry much. Once you are living there you will quickly pick up the lingo by using it every day. That’s my experience.
Finally, let me once again strongly urge you to slow this process down. Maybe remain home in the US and visit a couple of times a year. Give this relationship a chance but don’t commit yourself to something that may turn out to be a bad decision.

Letter #: 426996
Category: Career

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