David: “As a doctor in Germany, you have the lead in your work”
First impression of Germany
David arrived in Germany in a really difficult month for Spanish or Mediterranean people: February. This month can be considered as one of the coldest of them all, people keep away from the streets and everything seems lonelier, at least that was the perception of David. “Once you know Germany and you are familiar with the language, everything seems better here.” The main problem was the lack of a welcome center, or a place where someone would help him with all the bureaucracy one needs to take care of when coming to live in a foreign country.
He had some knowledge of the German language before he came, and that was helpful, for sure, but since it was a little rusty. Back home, he didn’t have to use German. And the fact that his doctorate studies were taught in English wasn’t motivating him, either, to give it a real try. But once he started practising and got fluent in German, his future in Germany started to sound perfectly feasible.
About the life in Germany
“Everything starts two hours earlier here, I don’t like waking up soon at all” says David while laughing. But he also appreciates the fact that, when you finish work early here, then you have the entire afternoon free. This often isn’t possible in Spain.
David used to think that Spain was the only country one can live a good life. What surprised him in a positive way is that Germany also is a perfectly good option to make the most of your chances. Of course, coming to live in a foreign country is a challenge overall. And dealing with loneliness is certainly a tricky challenge you have to deal with when leaving your country. “Sometimes, it is difficult to connect with German people”, says David. But he has figured out the way: “The best chance to approach them is sharing an activity, maybe a sport or simply a hobby.”
Sometimes, it is difficult to connect with German people.The best chance to approach them is sharing an activity, maybe a sport or simply a hobby
About his work here
David is making a descriptive study, a clinic register about children with Leukaemia. He wanted to research this with adults in Spain, but there he couldn’t find a scholarship. “I really appreciate how much you can develop your work here. In Germany, you are in the first line, you have the lead role in your work, unlike in Spain. In Spain, you are always under the command of someone, or just feeling very observed, and that can make people feel frustrated.”
A day in David’s or any doctor’s life in Germany would look something like this: They start two hours earlier to do the nursery errands, which in Spain are delegated. They always have to do a little bit of bureaucracy, but for David that’s something good. “Here, you are not as supervised as you are in Spain, the work is more independent.” Of course, they have the support of their co-workers, but they are not under the watch of an advisor.
His relationship with his coworkers is good, better now than in the first clinic he worked for, where everything seemed a little more distant. They have a Whatsapp group and everyone is friendly to each other. But for David, it’s important to take care of relationships and be careful with jokes.
“I really appreciate how much you can develop your work here. In Spain, you are always under the command of someone, and that can make people feel frustrated”
About the differences of the health system between Spain and Germany
“On the hospital level, things are much better in Germany. People don’t waste so much time doing a test on a patient, for example. It’s more efficient, the results come faster.” But for David, the level of the general practitioners is more critic here than in Spain. “Everything is more chaotic, the information is not shared. They are more concerned about the little resources they have.” In David’s point of view, more professionals are required in this field. “There are a lot of doctors retiring in Stuttgart, and new ones are not coming to fill the open vacancies.”
About his social life in Germany
David is mostly surrounded by Germans or people that have been living here for a many years, like he has. He only has one Spanish friend, so he’s not really involved with the Spanish groups in Stuttgart. “Sometimes I feel like I am going to lose my roots.” But he’s thinking about joining the Stuttcat, which is the group of Catalonian people in Stuttgart, and also a Spanish theatre group.
“The winter is difficult here, but I loved my first summer in the country, and the rest of them, too.” Of course, the sun of his hometown can’t be replaced with the sun here, nor can the smell of certain fruits. Sometimes he feels homesick but he knows that this is the best moment to live in Germany, an investment after all. He will go back to Spain, but it’s not something that worries him, or that he thinks about a lot. It’s just a possibility for the future.
“Sometimes I feel homesick, but I know that this is the best moment to live in Germany. It is an investment, after all”
Some advice for the Spanish people that may come to Stuttgart
For those who want to work here: “The most important thing is to get to know the German culture. Be disciplined and have goals on the long run.” David knows that you can’t please everyone, but he thinks it’s really important to know the system you are going to face. In order to learn more about the German culture, David recommends the newcomers to watch some shows about Germany. That way, you can find out more about how German people act. “It’s always good to have a plan B. People need to know that the beginning is always hard – otherwise, they will just end up leaving.”
“There is some kind of salsa, a happy spirit, in the Spaniard´s personality which cannot be replaced, because it’s something you are born with.”
On what he misses the most about Spain
“My family, my grandmother…The atmosphere in the streets, the terraces, looking at the sea… being certain that someone will appear during the day with whom you will be pleased to talk and grab some beers.” There is some kind of salsa, a happy spirit, in the Spaniard´s personality which cannot be replaced, because it’s something you are born with. It isn’t that common and easy to find this abroad.