My name is Charu and I come from Bangalore, India, where I did my Bachelor’s studies in engineering. I wanted to continue and do a Master’s in engineering and Germany – the land of innovation- was a perfect place ;-). I came to Chemnitz in September 2013 to acquire a Master’s Degree in automotive software engineering. I blog in my free time. I hope anyone coming from outside might find my blog helpful.
What was your biggest struggle when you first came to Germany?
Everything… Starting from some basic things like using various machines at the airport, for example. I had no idea how to buy a ticket, where to put money… I remember it took me 20 minutes to get my first ticket at the airport (laughing -ed.). For everything you have machines here, for everything you have a system and rules. At my University, I have a paten buddy looking after me (smiling – ed.), she is there to help every time I am confused and do not know how certain things work. For me to come to a foreign land was very …(actually my first trip never outside Bangalore)… challenging, but I have learnt things fast and adapted.
What do you appreciate in Germany? Are there things you don’t like?
I really like the fact that the Germans I have met are very straightforward. Back in India, I was very straightforward and it sometimes got me into troubles, to be honest. If I have something on my mind, it is shown on my face and I speak it. I am really happy I can be myself here and express myself so easily. I love it.
Something I cannot get used to is the food… from the land of spices to blend, spiceless food 😉 It has effected my cooking as well… I forgot how to cook Indian dishes (with respect to spices); I mixed them with German cooking…
Do you keep in touch with Indian people in Germany?
There are a lot of Indians in Germany, it is a fact, but it is not good to stay all the time with (only) Indians in Germany. You need to get to know and experience the local culture you are living in. You should be part of the country, perhaps, a balance is good!
I have… I was coming once with the U-Bahn and had to change to my next train and at the train stop there were 3 elderly men talking about foreigners coming and stealing jobs from Germans, they saw me listening and one person tried to stop the conversation saying that such things should not be said in front of me and then the other man replied saying that he was not afraid of me or any other “bloody foreigner”. I felt strange at first, but eventually the person was just trying to express himself… I just looked at them and took the next train.
There are, however, a lot of people stereotyping a lot…
What are the typical stereotypes about Indians that you came across in Germany?
We are all software engineers, eating only spicy food based on curry and that we all have a funny common accent when speaking English…well, India is a very big and diverse country and I would not generalise that much!
Have any of the stereotypes about Germany and the Germans been confirmed?
Germans are not open, they need time to open up… this is 100 % true. In a way, I feel like that is the way it is supposed to be. You cannot accept everybody in your personal space…it won’t work.
Is Germany a multicultural society?
It is, but it takes a little bit more time for the society as a whole to accept multiple-cultures. In ten – twenty years Germany will be like other multicultural countries… You have to be open yourself for the others to be open to you!