This site is targeted to academics who are preparing to move to Germany for a research leave.  As we prepared to move over during our last leave, I found a wealth of information for expats moving for multiple years or permanently, but not as much that dealt with the intricacies of a shorter stay.  Thus, I wanted to post our experiences, in case they might help others in the same situation.

What’s here is based on my personal experience, so I make no claims that the information will be exhaustive. Where I have heard others’ experiences, either other expat parents in our city or colleagues who’ve come on sabbatical, I will share them. But the experiences and opinions here are for the most part my own, based on my partner’s three sabbaticals in Germany over the past ten years. The latest has been the most complicated: We stayed a full year, and the whole family (both spouses and a school-aged child) moved, plus our income was paid by his home university in North America, not through a German institution.  Beyond sabbaticals, we both studied in Germany during our university years, so we know the language and the culture to some extent.  But regulations and procedures and personal circumstances change, so there’s always something different.

Since we’re coming from North America, our experiences have a decided slant — I know the visa rules for Canadians, I can compare German schools to North American schools, etc.  I can’t speak from personal experience to norms and requirements for those coming from other areas of the world.  However, procedural issues will likely be the same for everyone (everyone has to register when they  move to the country) while the specific regulations may be different, as for visas.

In addition, everyone’s circumstances are likely to be a bit different than ours (no spouse, no kids, older kids, younger kids, shorter stays, different areas of the country).  But I’m hoping that some of what’s here will be helpful for you.  Take what you need — and if you find things are different, I’d be grateful if you could comment to note that.