German Business and Culture
Summer I short-term, faculty-led course
I didn’t know what to expect when I came to Germany. I knew there were people, animals, buildings, food, plants, and water. Besides that I tried to keep an open mind. Germany is great. Instead of rambling on forever, I decided to use a bullet point list of some main thoughts I’ve had…
- Holy bikes. They are everywhere. It’s definitely the prefered method of transportation in Germany. There are probably more bikes than people. In most cities, the bike lane is a different colored brick.
- All of the food has been amazing. From schnitzel to spargel soup. THE SPARGEL SOUP. Oh my, this was one of my favorites. Dirk definitely made it the best. I also I had some amazing vegetable ramen pho in Düsseldorf.
- Let’s talk about dogs. They’re allowed everywhere; restaurants, hotels, trains, malls, stores… EVERYWHERE. Most of these pups were leashless, just chillin’ by their owners. The only downside… Germans don’t really like it when you touch their dog. If you know me, you realize this was a huge problem for me. Why can’t America allow the beautiful babies everywhere?
- Germans don’t understand the concept of personal space.
- Getting money was easier than I thought. I would either use my card (had to have the chip) or I would take out money at the ATM.
- Euros are so pretty! All the bills are different sizes. The larger the amount, the large the bill becomes. It’s extremely smart for blind people, way easier than dollars. And the change… Don’t get me started. They have 0.01€, 0.05€, 0.10€, 0.20€, 0.50€, 1.00€, and 2.00€ all in coins! The 1.00€ and 2.00€ took some getting used to.
- Smoking is allowed in most places. Hotels, clubs, bars, restaurants, etc. I came out of retirement for the time I was here, and boy was it nice being able to smoke wherever. Did I mention they sell cigarettes in vending machines at the Universities…
- Drinking in public is totally cool. You want to drink a beer on your walk home? Totes cool, bro. You want to drink a bottle of wine with your friends in the park? Do it up. They’re not as intense as America is with it’s drinking laws.
- Drinking in general is handled better here. Kids can drink when they’re 16, yet you don’t see advertisements about drinking and driving or alcohol abuse. They learn their limits young and don’t act ridiculous in public.
- They’re extremely environmentally friendly. You bring your own bags shopping (whether it’s grocery shopping or mall/store shopping), they do not give out plastic bags. In fact, normally they cost around 0.15€. They don’t have the option of using warm water while washing your hands in some places. Most places do not have AC, only our hotel in Paderborn did. They prefer to open windows (none of the windows have screens in them). Trash is organized; waste in one, plastic in another, cardboard, and glass. I believe this is correct. The best part… If you don’t properly organize your waste, you get fined. I love it!
- I really like their toilets. I know this is different, but they make so much more sense!
- College costs around 200€ a year. Let me repeat that for the people in the back, college costs around 200€ a year. Can you believe it?!?!? I couldn’t. I talked to many students and they would all love to come to America to study abroad, but fail to do so because of the price.
- Groceries here are much cheaper. Dr. Eckert, Maria, Conner, and I went to the Turkish market and bought dinner for around 15€. The most expensive item was the fancy cheese. That dinner was amazing.
- Between Maria, Ana, and I we bought 13 pairs of Birkenstocks. Why you may ask? Because they’re so ridiculously cheap here! The pair I bought in the states cost me $120, the same pair was around 55€. We all got a pink pair of Birks. We had to match, obviously.
- Both Universities I went to, Potsdam and Paderborn, had a restaurant or pub on campus where you could purchase and enjoy alcohol…
- Fashion is very important here. People don’t go out in sweats. They dress amazing all the time.
- Ice cream is fantastic here.
- Public transportation is great. Trams, buses, trains, boats, bikes, etc. Most people do not drive, but instead use another way to get around.
- I have never walked so much in my life.
- Bacharach, Germany is a little town taken out of a fairy tale.