It’s almost everyone’s dream to live or stay for a while in a foreign country.
You can call me May, that’s what my friends call me, short for Maylene because we are going to get know each other, as I explain to you the simple way of how I got a chance to live in Germany.
I live, work and school in Germany.
I came to Germany from Kenya as an Au-Pair girl which I am going to explain later in the article. You can also come in as volunteer which you do for a year
Before you can buy a ticket to come to Germany, here are a few basic things that you need to know
- The language
If you can speak German, you are three steps ahead of coming to Germany compared someone who doesn’t.
So where can you learn the language?
Certain high schools in Kenya offer German as a subject of study. Study it up to Form Four to better your chances. This will earn you a language level called B1 which is pretty good because it’s the intermediate level or the middle level.
If you don’t get the chance to study German in high school there are German private schools or colleges in Nairobi and other towns in Kenya. The best is Goethe Institut located in Nairobi or Mombasa. You have to dig a little deeper in your pocket but they offer quality education. If you learn in any other college, make sure you do the exams at Goethe Institut because it’s the only certificate recognized in the German speaking Embassies.
Language levels are divided into beginner level that is A1 and A2. Intermediate level B1 and B2, and advanced level C1and C2.
Don’t let anyone lie to you that most Germans can’t understand English. Well they can, but they prefer speaking German all the way. And they admire people who are taking the effort to speak their language.
- The Host family
This is the family you will be working and staying with.
As I had earlier said, I came in as an Au-Pair girl. An Au-pair work is to look after a family’s children. You also get language course paid for you by your host/ employer, they provide a roof over your head, pay for your health insurance and give you pocket money (Germany 260 Euro, Ksh29,000, $292) Switzerland and Austria may vary.
I looked for host family online on my own without paying any agents. Some people pay an agent to connect them with a host family. Be careful as they sometimes swindle many Kenyans looking for host families. This is the website that I used.
In this website, you write your own profile, and upload photos of you playing with kids, they can be your nephew, or a neighbor’s child or any child. The host will be impressed seeing a photo showing your experience of you handling children.
- Write your profile in English if your German is not so good, but German is preferred.
- Reply your email as fast as possible, nobody likes waiting.
- You will also need to Skype with the families during the interview and you will have to make a personal decision whether you want to work for them.
The second website I used is:-
Here you send your application with photos via email and then they upload your profile on their website where there are other applications too for host families to choose from. They contact you when they find a suitable family for you.
- The Visa
Once you get a family ready to hire you, they will send you a signed contract and an invitation letter which you take with you to the embassy.
You can then book an appointment at the German Embassy in Nairobi, here
The Visa appointment can be one to two months after application
- Be on time for your appointment.
- Have all the filled out forms and professional passport photo taken.
- Cheap photos won’t cut it. It cost me 200bob for 4 pieces.
- The visa fee was 60Euros/ KSh6,800, could be more now.
- After application, Visa processing takes two weeks to three months. It gets sent to you via G4S.
- Don’t book a plane ticket if you haven’t received your visa yet, visas applications get rejected.
- If your visa application is rejected, you can try getting an Austrian visa. Once you get to Austria, you can cross borders to Germany because the visa you will get is a SCHENGEN Visa.
- The arrival
Plan how you will get from the airport to your host family address, dress for the weather, it can get uncomfortable if it’s too hot or too cold, and get ready for culture shock because it’s real friend.
In case you have any questions, leave it on the comment section or email firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be more than glad to get back.
P.S: Most people have asked about the Austrian option on the social media platforms. Here is the thing, you can apply to go Austria from the beginning, some people say it is easier that way. The other way is if your German visa is rejected try Austria. And definitely you have to have something you are going to do, they will ask at the Embassy.