Cultural Learning Experiences in Germany: Food and Language

Jesse Imanse
Sales and Business Marketing
University of Paderborn in Paderborn, Germany
Spring Semester 2016

Traditional German cuisine is delicious and quite easy to get used to. I have had to show some restraint as there are lots of potatoes, bread, sausage and other meats. Not the best if you are planning on improving your physique while you are here, but there is a lot of good grub to be experienced. To be fair, fresh vegetables can be found with ease at a fraction of the price of the United States (and without genetic modification). It is more affordable to eat healthy here and the amofood 1unt of walking food 2that the average person does promotes good day-to-day health habits. The university also has a Mensa (a subsidized cafeteria) where one can eat like a king for only a couple of euros. They have actual chefs that prepare a wide variety of foods from vegan and gluten free all the way to meatloaf and schnitzel covered in gravy.

On the left is traditional Indian and on the right is a whole fish served along side potatoes. While it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, seafood seems to be much more popular here as well. Needless to say, no matter what you like, experiencing new food dishes can be one of the most enjoyable ways to dig into a new culture. Whether that is a Turkish kebab stand in the city center or a high-end French restaurant, at least give it a try.

 

Most of Western Europe is quite proficient in English, and the Germans are no exception. Most everyone will be able to hold a conversation in English. Some of the older folks may not be able to speak English, but there are few communication barriers in Germany.

It can, however, be difficult to engage the Germans with their own language. The natural reaction for them seems to be to switch to English, but if you ask they will generally continue with German. If you are anything like me, you will probably make a few embarrassing mistakes with your new language but that is to be expected. Most recently, I wrote a note explaining that I would need to feed a dog but, I actually wrote that I had to go eat a dog.

All together, I would not say that communicating in Germany is an issue.

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