As long as you hold an EU passport and have an EU address, you should be able to get a CC with HSBC, ING, or other big banks there...if you are going for work or school, talk to the company and see what they say - you aren't the only one that's done this!
You may also want to open a bank account with these banks and get a debit card there.
Also, one other recommendation, consider using a "free" debit card the whole time! USAA doesn't charge ATM fees anywhere in the world (and they refund any bank that does). Therefore, you would only pay the foreign transaction fee.
Personally, I would try opening a bank account there, and then a CC - and keep it when you move back! Their interest rates are better than ours after all.
On a related subject, I've seen some articles about how it's sometimes complicated to use US-issued cards in Europe since a lot of merchants are using chip-and-PIN technology.
Overseas merchants still have the capability to doing an old-fashioned swipe of the card, but apparently it can be a hassle and some merchants are balking (even though this practice does violate the merchant agreement).
I've been in Germany in Poland this past summer for two to three weeks. I used my US-based CCs constantly (swipe) without any problem at all. Probably 60+ transactions. Is this a rumor or do you have actual proof?
I just applied for the discover miles card and its pending now. I have a ton of inquiries and I'm afraid I won't be approved. I need the card because of the exchange fees. (plus I get a 75$ Amazon gift card)
Just read that AMEX will be dropping the foreign currency fees on the plat and cent cards. (I couldnt find a major/reliable source, else I would post it). Those cards don't really fit my lifestyle though haha.
I have the amex plat. No foreign fees on the plat card at this time.
edit: The the plat is also chipped. You just need to tell the csr you need the chip in your card, and they will make sure you get that correct verision of the card.
No foreign transaction fee cards I like are
1) Chase Sapphire Preferred
2) Any of the cards issued by Capital one
3) New Discover It
BofA Travel Rewards
1) It has 0 foreign-transaction fee
2) It has a chip in it
3) It gives ~1,5% cashback on everything
BTW, Germany is quite a peculiar country in terms of CC acceptance. It largely depends on a specific region, but in Berlin there are lots of places that accept local EC-cards only (not Visa/MC). If you have a chance to open at least one local card, let it be EC card (debit or credit).
I was going to recommend BofA's BankAmericard Travel Rewards, too. If you have a checking account with them you earn 1.65%. The card also comes with ShopSafe, which I've heard is useful for dealing with imperfectly reliable merchants, such as those in a foreign country.