Around a decade ago, I got interested in one particular German TV show....Goodbye Deutschland. It's produced by the German commercial network VOX.
The basis of this reality-soap opera-like TV show was to lay out over sixty minutes this German family which had decided to pack up and leave Germany. I know.....it sounds weird that anyone would want to leave this Disneyland-of-sorts, but the TV production crew found various Germans who wanted a fresh start in life, or were just a bit "crazy".
If you posed the idea to a hundred Germans (normal, working-class people)....I doubt if you would find more than four of them who would express this idea of permanently leaving Germany.
So week after week, the epic (less than epic, I must admit) tale was told....over and over.
Germans went off to Brazil, Australia, Finland, Spain, Italy, the US, and so on.
I've probably watched at least 200 episodes over the decade of the show, and have come to three basic conclusions.
First, you tend to notice that only about 20-percent of this crowd actually do their homework and know about every single part of the new country.
You would think.....in the planning part of this and 'trigger-moment' where you make the decision to do something this radical....you would accomplish a heck of a lot of homework. You'd know the taxation rate. You'd know about schools. You'd know about jobs and business rules. Yet, over and over, the bulk of this crowd (Germans, mind you) did minimal review and really weren't prepared for their new country.
I look at the immigrants and migrants who made the decision to come to Germany, and wonder if they also repeated the same mistake.
Oddly, for these Germans who left.....the point of success and failure on this massive move....is directly tied to lack of planning and understanding.
Second, the bulk of people featured on this show are looking for some type of adventure. It doesn't matter where they move to, or the angle to their land.....they are seeking an adventure that most Germans don't usually think about.
Third, if you follow the show year after year.....they do go back and see how certain people have done, and you kinda discover that somewhere between a quarter and half of the folks on this exit out of Deutschland.....have returned. Some busted economically (they went somewhere with a bad economy)....some overwhelmed by the stress....and some never found what they were looking for.
The worst case I've seen featured was some German family of five who moved to Finland. Nothing was planned. They'd been up there on a vacation once and thought it'd be a wonderful place to live permanently. On the list of a hundred things that should have been considered....I doubt if they got past five to ten of those significant things you should know about or think about. By the end of the show, you were pretty confident that they'd make it no more than twelve months, and return to Germany.
The best case? Some couple who'd moved to Namiba....into some real estate project connected to some national game park. Lions, elephants, etc. It didn't matter what came up....they were hyped up to overcome the shortfall. If there was a list of a hundred things to consider, this couple probably had reviewed that hundred things, and added a list of another hundred on top of that.
There's not a lot of published statistics on Germans leaving Germany....at least I've yet to find a year by year listing. A couple of years ago, I noted some journalist report that put the number between 5,000 and 10,000 Germans who officially check out via their Rothaus (town hall) to exit Germany. Some are just people taking a job somewhere for a couple of years....some are permanent exits. Out of 82-million people....it's a small relative number, at least in my mind.
Entertaining? That's the thing about this. On some of these episodes, I feel awful sorry for the kids involved, or the wife who got dragged along, or the husband who was convinced of some great future ahead in Iceland. It's more of a lessons-learned show, if you ask me. Maybe if you watched all three-thousand hours of production....you'd be smart enough to either stay in Germany and not risk anything....OR learn enough that you don't repeat the same mistake as that guy.