I’m an American who has lived in Germany since 2008 — first in Hamburg, then part-time in Berlin, and now in Bremen. I’m currently working on my PhD in Sociology and in my spare time I love running, traveling, and taking photographs. Like many expats, I first came to Germany for love, but luckily was able to combine it with some fantastic professional opportunities and now I’m in love with the country!

Can you tell us about an embarrassing moment you have had in Germany?

My first year in Germany I worked at a university hospital and the director of our institute was a rather formal Herr-Professor-Doktor-type.  He stilled used the formal “Sie” (you – ed.) with employees he’d had for decades, and one afternoon I accidentally used the informal “du” with him. It just slipped out of my mouth before I realized what had happened! There was a long, almost audible pause before he answered me, but then I guess he decided to cut me some slack as an American. 🙂  But I never made that mistake again!

What do you like about Germany?

I really appreciate that there is more of a sense of collectivity and taking care of one another, rather than of pure individualism. This is most evident in the social and health policies, but also in making an effort not to produce so much waste, or to waste resources or energy.

Has your lifestyle changed when you came to Germany? 

Some of the biggest changes have been in my eating habits. I now make much more of a conscious effort to eat whole foods and be more aware of what I’m putting in my body. I find it’s so much easier to do in Germany than in mainstream America. Also, it’s taken some getting used to, but now I enjoy the German tradition of having a nice, warm meal for lunch, and just bread and cheese for dinner.