Why Learning German Is The Most Important Career Step For Non-Native Speakers.

I get many emails from other parts of the world asking for advice on how to  start a medical career in Germany. What is one thing I can do to maximize my chances? I always answer this:

There are many measures you can take like

  • deciding not only for a specialty but also a niche in this specialty,
  • start out with an internship or research practical.

But there is one single measure you can take to maximize your chances of landing here: Learn German. 

I know it sounds kind of basic. But I know of several excellent researchers and clinicians, who come here for an internship or even to work here permanently and they speak hardly any German.

Just to be clear: that is not an advantage.

If it is your goal to work in Germany as a doctor you need to speak German at C-Level

Of course many of the doctors and nurses will be able to communicate in English this won’t help you much. A doctor who doesn’t understand the patient can never be fully responsible for her.  Speaking German will not only put you in a position to learn something and ultimately enable you to work independently.

You can only treat patients if you are able to comprehend their complaints.

So what can you do? There are numerous ways to learn German and you can start right now, there are several options:

Of course the best way to learn a language is always to go to that country and practice it. But that is not always possible: Alternatives are:

  1. Online Courses:
    Want to start right now, in Timbuktu? No problem: There are numerous online courses on German For Doctors. 

  2. Books: Of Course there are also books on that topic
  3. Netflix: Here is an entertaining way to pick up Medical German: Get a netflix account and binge on House, ER and Grey’s Anatomy in German.
Side note:
I’m not trying to intimidate you or to talk you out of coming to Germany. But coming here with a vocabulary of less than 500 words of German will lead to frustration and disappointment. You can do it! But nobody said it was easy.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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