Have you ever experienced a culture shock?
Actually, yes – in the US. I know the US is rather similar to Germany but despite that it is somehow different. The people are different… it is very superficial. I asked myself if I should say something at all about myself in a small talk? Are they really interested in what I have to say? But that aside I really enjoyed visiting my friend there. She, however, had another crazy experience with this superficiality. A boy next door asked her out on a date, but then didn’t show up on the date night. She was prepared and waiting outside. So as a German she went to tell the guy that it was not OK to ask her out and then not to show up. This was so shocking to her host family, that the family’s mother went to the neighbour to apologise for the behaviour of the German girl. She even explained to my friend that in this case it is not allowed to say that you are disappointed and you should say instead in this super excited voice: “Oh yes, no problem at all. Everything is great!” At the same time, it really is not OK.
This cultural difference has also its advantages. Everybody was super excited and gave me compliments like “ohhhh, your English is sooooo good!” even though I had simply told them “Good morning! How are you?” But this is encouraging for learning the language. Also in Italy… I managed to order my food in Italian and the Italians were all cheering. In France it is the opposite. There you really don’t have the courage to open your mouth after the first try, since the waiter does not even try to understand you. How is it supposed to go then for the language learning? I cannot speak perfect French overnight. When it comes to trying to speak the language, the Germans are in comparison much more open.