My name is Olga and I’m Polish, my husband is German and we live in the Netherlands. I studied the German Language and Culture in Warsaw and Media Culture in Bremen. I write a blog “European Mama” where I share my experiences of raising children with three languages, living abroad and parenting.
While we don’t live in Germany anymore, I lived there three times. The first time, I was 3 years old and my parents and I lived in Cologne due to their work. I went to a German kindergarten and that’s how I learned to speak German. The second time, I was a student of German studies in Warsaw and took part in an exchange programme in Hamburg. I lived there for a year (at first). It was there where I met my future husband and after a year or two in Poland that I used to finish my studies, I moved to Germany to live with him. We have since moved over to the Netherlands.
What strikes you most in Germany (good and bad)?
Good: I like that Germans are very driven- if they want to do something, they will do their best to achieve it. They are very polite and pleasant to talk with (at least the ones I’ve met because I know that the stereotypes paint a different picture). They’re not easily embarrassed.
Bad: I think Germans are rule followers and it’s weird when you do something against the rules, both written and unwritten. However, there are so many rules that there will always be a rule saying what to do when your situation is out of the ordinary.
What do people in your country think of Germany and Germans?
I am Polish so the opinion people have of Germany are not very positive. The WWII is still too fresh in people’s minds. However, this is changing now as Polish prime minister Donald Tusk has a good relationship with Angela Merkel. I think Polish people like Germans much more now.
Do you think Germany is a multicultural country?
I guess it depends on the area. Hamburg is extremely multicultural, but I guess other areas wouldn’t be as welcoming. However, I worked in a call center for a German company and the customers really wanted perfect German. You have to speak it so well that you won’t be seen as a foreigner. However, I think being the foreigner isn’t all bad.
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"I like that Germans are very driven – if they want to do something, they will do their best to achieve it."