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10 jobs you can do if you don’t want to teach English in Germany

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Shelley Pascual - [email protected]
10 jobs you can do if you don’t want to teach English in Germany
Photo: obs/CARGLASS GmbH/Carglass/Shutterstock: Sfio Cracho

Are you an English speaker in Germany? From positions that are sporty to those which are academic or creative, here's a comprehensive overview of the employment options you may not have considered.


While teaching the English language is one of the most common expat jobs in the Bundesrepublik, as it offers plenty of opportunities especially in the smaller cities and towns, it’s not the only option available to you.

There’s also more in terms of employment if you can’t see yourself pouring pints in bars, au pairing, or ringing people up in a call centre - depending of course on your level of education, qualifications and German-language abilities.

SEE ALSO: Why you should consider teaching English in Germany

Whether you currently live abroad and are thinking of making the move over to ‘Schland or you’re fresh out of university and are simply keen on gaining some work experience, here are some ideas to get you started.

1. Research fellow

Germany accepts a decent number of people on fellowships each year, including a few that aim to strengthen transatlantic relations.

The Robert Bosch fellowship for instance is available to American citizens and doesn’t require an applicant to be able to speak German upon arrival. As the fellowship itself includes German-language training, applicants only need to show their willingness to learn.

Photo: DPA

Another fellowship organized by the German Marshall Fund and based in Berlin is open to candidates from a range of professional backgrounds and countries across the globe.

If you’re interested in taking on a research fellowship, institutes in Deutschland which focus on global topics typically offer positions where knowledge of German isn’t required.

For example, the Hamburg-based German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA) is currently inviting applicants with a Masters degree or equivalent qualification in the social and political sciences to apply as a research fellow.

2. A job with a startup or tech company

One of the benefits of joining the tech industry anywhere in the world is that the office language is more often than not English - and Germany is no exception, particularly in Berlin, which leads the way as the city with 17 percent of the country’s startups.

With the German capital vying to become Europe’s startup hub, Berlin offers plenty of opportunities when it comes to employment in its growing tech industry - something The Local columnist Floraidh Clement found out upon moving in the city last year.

Browse hundreds of English-language tech roles in Berlin on The Local Jobs

Just a few weeks after she relocated from Glasgow to Berlin, Clement landed a job in exactly what she was looking for: social media. In doing so she joined the capital’s thriving startup scene where positions for everything from software developers to community managers abound.

The opening of Bosch's startup "Grow" in Ludwigsburg in March. Photo: DPA

There’s a need for workers with bigger companies, too. Amazon for instance recently announced it was hiring for over 2,000 new positions nationwide this year.

If you’re looking to base yourself outside of the capital, take note that the Ruhr region comes second to Berlin with 11.3 percent of Germany’s startups, followed by clusters in Munich, Stuttgart, Hanover and Hamburg - each of which have a share of about six percent.

SEE ALSO: The Hanseatic Silicon Valley? New digital centre to be built in Hamburg

3. Startup founder

If the idea of working for the man doesn’t appeal to you one bit, an alternative option could be to launch your own startup.

Other entrepreneurs from abroad have already gotten on the bandwagon; every tenth founder in Germany is foreign-born.

But be warned: bureaucracy is often perceived as one of the major obstacles in the process of founding a business. And if you can’t yet speak a lick of German, the language barrier could be a further hindrance.

Not to worry, though. There are plenty of support services which cater to up and coming entrepreneurs, such as free seminars and workshops, assistance drawing up a business plan and customized coaching.

Photo: Deposit Photos

There are even non-profit organizations that accept several young entrepreneurs each year onto startup mentoring programmes. Enpact is an example of one that’s supported, in part, by the German Foreign Ministry.

Think you have what it takes to combat threats from cyberspace? The German army is in need of startup founders who specialize particularly in this area.

4. Relocation consultant

Joining a consultancy could be just the ticket for you, as there are a variety of them in the Bundesrepublik ranging from the automotive to the communications sector. Many of them are international organizations too.

Or, given that you may have been through the trials and tribulations of moving to Germany yourself, you could consider sharing this invaluable knowledge with others as a relocation consultant.

If you can manage multiple tasks like taking clients on orientation tours, to searching which kindergartens they can bring their children to, this job might just float your boat - so long as your interpersonal and communication skills are on point.  

Since companies in small and big cities scattered throughout Germany are often on the lookout for relocation consultants, it would be wise to key an eye out for opportunities in this area.

Maybe after you’ve got some experience, you could even think about setting up a website and selling your own professional skills and first-hand knowledge. Emily Archer, an Australian who moved to Germany in 1999, is an example of an expat who successfully established herself as a relocation consultant.

5. River guide

Sure, there’s likely to be an availability of jobs for English-speakers which take tourists on city break trips throughout German metropolises.

But if you’re hankering to be closer to nature, or if you’re more of a sporty individual, have you thought about becoming a river or cycle guide?

A ship cruising through the middle section of Germany's Rhine river. Photo: DPA

Germany’s section of the Rhine river each year attracts heaps of tourists from around the world, including countries like the United States.

This means that, especially during the warm summer months when the season is at its peak, there’s a need for English-speaking guides to chat travellers up while cruising past wine regions and baroque palaces.

If biking up and down hills is more your thing, make a bee-line for Germany’s Bavarian Alps. Here’s where the country’s highest mountains exist and where you can potentially get paid for taking visitors on mountain bike tours.

6. Embassies

Keen on schmoozing with the world's top diplomats? If you seek out jobs at the embassies of various English-speaking countries in Berlin or any other German metropolis, you might be soon be sipping wine at fancy garden parties. Many embassies look for English as a native language.

SEE ALSO: What you should know about Trump’s new ambassador to Germany

Keep in mind though that embassies normally require a high level of German and any other language skills you might have are a plus. The New Zealand Embassy in Berlin for instance offers internship programmes and graduate programmes, the later of which requires applicants to have an advanced level of German.

The US Embassy in Berlin. Photo: DPA

Job opportunities are normally listed on the websites of the embassies, as these links to the Canadian Embassy in Germany and the Australian Embassy in Germany show. The jobs range from secretarial to communications positions.

7. NGOs/think tanks

Berlin in particular is home to a good number of NGOs, think tanks and mission-driven companies that regularly post job opportunities for English speakers.

Some of the bigger global NGOs such as Amnesty, Oxfam and ONE have locations in Berlin and might also take English speakers, though a basic level of German is often required.

Transparency International is headquartered in Berlin and focuses on fighting corruption globally. Candidates are regularly recruited in Berlin, though competition is said to be tough. describes itself as the world’s largest petition platform. Also based in the nation's capital, the NGO writes on its website that currently some 4.5 million people in Germany use their platform to campaign for change on a local, national and global level.

A Berlin-based independent think tank called the Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi) covers a wide range of topics spanning from peace and security to global internet politics. In addition to internships, the GPPi also “welcomes proposals from entrepreneurial individuals” who are willing to conduct research (e.g. PhD) in line with the issues the think tank focuses on.

8. Host/moderator

If you genuinely enjoy speaking in public and know how to entertain a crowd, hosting could be right up your alley.

Think about how many events and trade fairs take place across Germany each year. Now stop and think how many of these happenings need people who can step in as hosts and moderators and communicate in English - that’s where you come into the picture.

To name a few, Headset Agentur and Your Event Scout are agencies based in Germany that employ English-speaking hosts and exhibition staff. 

9. Lifeguard

If you’re looking for a part-time or seasonal job, and you happen to be a qualified lifeguard, you’ll be happen to know that Germany has a plethora of beaches along its over 2,000-kilometre-long coastline.

A lifeguard on watch at the seaside town of St. Peter-Ording by the North Sea. Photo: DPA

If Deutschland’s northernmost island up in the North Sea, Sylt, is currently searching for lifeguards to work full-time hours from June to September this year, it’s highly likely there are other German islands doing the same.

Alternatively there are plenty of lifeguard jobs in other parts of the country, such as at outdoor and indoor swimming pools and at resorts in spa towns such as Baden-Baden and Bad Kissingen.

10. Freelancer

If you’re looking to get into a variety of different types of work in Germany, or you want a bit of freedom and flexibility in your work schedule, perhaps the best option for you would be to freelance.

Since lots of other expats come here and do just that, you wouldn’t be alone. From musicians to journalists to interpreters to food delivery couriers, gigs in freelancing abound in Germany.

Photo: DPA

Plus depending on your nationality,  if you can manage to submit all the proper paperwork, a German freelance visa is usually rather attainable. For instance it’s one of the easiest visas for Americans to get.

Young citizens of select non-EU countries, including Brazil, Japan, Australia and Canada, can similarly take on freelance work on the one-year Working Holiday programme.

And if for whatever reason you decide you’d like to try your hand at teaching English after all, the good news is you’ll be able to do this too as a freelancer. The majority of English-teaching jobs in the private sector in Germany are, after all, freelance.

Find your dream English-language job in Germany on The Local Jobs



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