Yeah, I'm really supposed to be working on that thesis right now. Not even on my own computer at the moment, to minimize distractions. But by God, you're going to hear these cool survey results here first! (Unless you already read the news.)
In a survey conducted last year of expatriates conducted by a big banking company looking for the countries friendliest to expats, Germany took second place among the fourteen countries for whom they had enough respondents to reach statistical significance. It was second only to the lovely Canada (a country I unfortunately still haven't sold my husband on). Australia came after Germany, and countries like France, Spain, and the Netherlands were much lower, with the United Arab Emirates coming in last. Germany was second to Canada in the ability to meet local friends, first in expats learning the language (I think English-speaking countries took a hit in this category since the survey was probably mostly answered by native speakers of English, so they don't have to mess with learning the language in those countries), first expats joining community groups, and ninth in expats purchasing property here. (That one is not easy here.) The article cites Germany's high level of English knowledge and great work-life balance* as reasons. The US came in sixth in the survey.
It's interesting to see these results knowing how many expats do have trouble here with the language and with getting integrated and making German friends. I guess it all depends on what you might be comparing it to. Of course it will always be easier to make friends in your own country, where you have a complete understanding of cultural signals and jokes and whatever else, than it would be in any other country. But where expats complain that Germans are hard to make friends with, it would probably be just as hard in France or Spain or Australia or the UK, or if this survey is accurate, maybe even harder.
*Speaking of this, a friend I was talking to yesterday who comes from another country, when we reached somehow the topic of sick time and vacation time, said, "Yeah, you know, I used to really think about trying to move to America, but now that I know more about some of the things there, I don't think so!"