My name is Shannon and I’m from the American South. I studied history in University, though now I mostly work as a musician and language teacher. During a stint as an exchange student in France, I befriended a bunch of Germans. They started teaching me German, which inspired me to study near Frankfurt the following year. After university I found a job working in Berlin. I lived there until I met an American working in Bavaria, we fell in love and got married, and I have been living in Bavaria ever since. Before, Germany was never on my radar. Now it’s a huge part of my life.
Germans are very good friends, once you get them to warm up to you. If they like you, they will really go out of their way to help you. I think some of my closest friends are Germans. Americans are generally nice to everyone, but sometimes that can come off as superficial. But if a German is your friend, it really means something. One thing that really annoys me about Germany though is that a lot of Germans assume they know everything about America. They’ll meet me and launch into a tirade about politics or American culture, but they’ve never even been to America or in some cases, have never even met an American. They look at something through a narrow mindset, without taking into consideration that America is a different country and culture than Germany. Of course we are not the same! You can’t just make a blanket judgment about an entire country.
I’m really lucky that I’ve made a lot of German friends over the past few years. Spending time with them has definitely helped me integrate into German culture, not to mention it’s helped my language skills! I try to speak German whenever I can, though the Bavarian dialect throws me off sometimes.
I would advise anyone coming to Germany to make the most of their time here. Germany has so much to offer – art, history, culture, language, oh and of course, beer! It’s a beautiful country with a lot to see and do and everything is pretty orderly, which makes living and working here easier than in some other countries. Oh, and don’t drive yourself crazy trying to get German grammar and cases perfect. You’ll make mistakes, but you’ll still be understood!