January 28, 2020
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Germany for beginners | Part 1: Understanding cultural differences

Life in Germany: What are people like in Germany and what should you be prepared for
when you come here? We can help you to know what to expect. I am Nadia and today we are talking
about cultural differences. When you first come to Germany, things may seem different
than what you are used to: A packed bus where no one speaks, you carry heavy boxes
and no one offers to help, someone eats candy in front of you
and doesn’t offer you anything or someone else criticizes you
in front of others. So, what do people on the
street think about this? “When Germans say “no” once, then “no” is what they mean.
There is no discussion.” “If you are invited for dinner and you arrive 15 minutes late, then this makes a bad impression. Because Germans like to
make exact plans.” “I think that in comparison
to other European countries, people in Germany are more
direct in conversations. People say exactly what they mean
and sometimes this can seem unfriendly. But this can also make things easier.” Yes, Germans are direct. They are very open with their opinions and can sometimes seem
unfriendly or cold. It won’t always be easy for you
to cope with so much distance. But at least this attitude
helps you know where you stand. After all, directness is honest and it can help people
to avoid misunderstandings. In Germany people are also often proud
to do things on their own, and they think
that others feel the same. Most people don’t get involved
in other’s business and prefer to keep to themselves. Even parents can seem as a disturbance! “Sometimes I would like to be left alone
and just live life like I want to. I live with my parents
an I’d like to have privacy. But in Turkish culture this can be difficult because the father has the final word
and his opinion counts.” “I am 19 and I want to move out because there are too many kids at home and I want quiet so I can study.” “I have colleagues who moved out
when they were 18.” “Family is very important in Croatia
where I am from. We do a lot together. In Germany, family isn’t as important
and that is kind of a shame.” “I wouldn’t want to see
my parents every day. But I am happy
if they visit once in a while.” This sounds worse than it is. Honestly, it isn’t really hard
to deal with. If you need help, just ask directly. If you don’t like something,
just say so, and if somebody wants to be left alone, just show respect and give them space. I’m sure you will have no problem
adapting to these cultural differences! The world is a nicer place
if we help each other. If someone has helped you, here is what you can say in German: Let me repeat. Do you want to try yourself? Just repeat after me. If you want to say “you’re welcome”,
just say: Let me repeat. Now you try. Very good!

Jean Kelley



  1. Thamires T Posted on November 16, 2016 at 5:15 pm

    Danke schön!!! Das ist super!

  2. Irwin Crook Posted on November 2, 2018 at 11:14 pm

    Non-Europeans “I want to be exactly like Germans”
    Europeans “It’s a shame Germany is not like us”

  3. Monkey D Shark Posted on October 7, 2019 at 7:47 pm

    no entendi no se ingles