Hello Germany, goodbye world!
I came to Germany at the end of 2018 to start my higher education, which was my dream for many years. But it turned out to be a much bigger challenge than I expected. Most people my age also move out when they turn 18, but not all of them go abroad all by themselves, where not only their new life as independent individuals awaits them, but also a brand new culture, social system, habits, and many other things, which they have never even thought of. Except for a *short* break of 2 years 🙂 I’ve spent a little over 2 years in Germany, and I can confidently say that every day I’m learning something new about the country’s culture and lifestyle. There is this expression „impressed but not surprised“ that applies with full force to my daily life as a foreigner in Germany. Many things that happen on a daily basis manage to catch me off guard, but over time I have learned to be less and less surprised, and rather to be impressed.
It wasn’t a surprise for me that Germans are very honest and direct. However, some things in their way of communicating still surprise me to this day. For example, this last week, I have learned that the word „dispute“ has a much different meaning for the Germans than it does for me. A comical situation occurred at my workplace where I had an argument with a colleague, at the end of which he claimed that I threatened him ??? when at the same time I was just arguing with him and didn’t utter a single insult or any real threat. It turned out that he was mad and apparently wanted to sue me for expressing my opinion with which he disagrees. To be honest this really „impressed“ me because in my country the word threat has a very specific and clear meaning that has nothing to do with the above situation and I certainly did not expect to find such significant differences even in the understanding of legal matters such as „verbal intimidation“ or threat. However, the point of this example was to showcase that sometimes I have to forget how the rest of the world functions in order to understand Germany.
Another great example of that would be that cash is king here. Even my poor, ex-communist country has adopted cards and cashless payments everywhere, so it was quite a surprise when I found myself in a situation with no cash, trying to catch a shuttle bus to the airport. The only thing that saved me from missing my flight was a very nice person who gave me that much-needed 50 cents I needed to pay the full price of the bus ticket. Don’t get me started on the ridiculous maestro cards and the extremely popular „giro konto“ that everybody around seems to have. The rest of the world doesn’t even accept this type of payment either online or at the POS terminals. Germany is overall very tech-oriented, and at the same time not at all. When it concerns the average person it is rather ridiculous how technology functions in the day to day life.