My name is Carmen. I consider myself to be a Francophile German citizen, although apparently I’ve become more and more French. I cross deserted boulevards while traffic lights are red, speak Spanish with a French accent and some years ago my high school teacher even talked me into thinking that I was speaking German with a French accent… Although I might still be far away from that, I might have become more French than I am actually aware of, which is a positive side effect of today’s Europe with its abundant possibilities of going abroad and getting in touch with other cultures.
I am moving back and forth between France and Germany since five years already. My first interest in France is maybe not that different from those of other people. With my family we used to spend many of our summer holidays in different regions of France where I first got in touch with French culture and language which I found absolutely captivating. I soon started to learn the language and also more about Franco-German relations and finally ended up with a Voluntary Service and a Franco-German degree. The reason for my Franco-German activism as a Young Ambassador of the Franco-German Youth Office is the desire to share my passion for this unique relationship and my experiences with other people so that they can do the same.
What do you miss the most from living in Germany? What do you like the most in France?
I do not miss any major things when I am in France. Apart from some German food, a larger offer for vegetarians in restaurants or maybe the vast offer by ‚dm’ pharmacy, I feel quite comfortable when I am in France. I can adapt quite well to new circumstances and after all, France is not that new to me anymore ;-). I could list many things that I like most in France (such as the typical trio of baguette, wine and cheese), but I think that ‚variety’ sums it up the best– variety of landscapes (especially sea and mountains), variety of (regional) culture(s) such as in Alsace or Bretagne, where I did my first school exchange, and last but not least, gastronomic variety which is of great importance to many French that I got to know.
Why are good Franco-German relations so important in your opinion? What could be improved?
First and foremost, both countries have an important role to play in Europe and have initiated several European achievements in the past. But bilateral relations also count in other areas aside from politics, for example, in sports, culture, civil society, economy, science, and many more. Unfortunately, in my role as a Young Ambassador, I see the interest for learning German or French declining gradually in the last years. Sometimes it is only due to miscommunication or stereotypes about the other language. I also see a lack of visibility of the numerous possibilities to learn or improve your language skills by going abroad and experiencing a different language and culture.