Students moving to Germany-Dos and don’ts
It’s dilemma for every student moving abroad on how to prepare herself/himself for the visiting country. If you are moving to Germany you might find some tips useful for you here:
Start with the basics:
German is a tough language, even Germans say so. They have three genders, then there are the rules with ‘cases’; The verb goes at the end and many other rules which are a bit difficult to grasp. So for starters I would suggest you to learn a few basic greetings and terms which you might need when you enter the country. Like, asking directions for bus stops, grocery stores and bank. Most of the Germans know English but learning German prior wouldn’t do any harm. In fact they are elated when you try to speak to them in German. Make mistakes, they would love to correct you.
It is very useful to find fellow students from your own country to help you with getting acquainted with the basics of the city and other information. But don’t miss a chance to explore yourself, you will learn many things by making mistakes
Experience the food and the culture:
When in Germany do as the Germans do! The whole concept and idea of moving to Germany to study for me was to get an international experience, both in terms of academics and culture. Therefore to enjoy your stay in Germany you need to appreciate and be part of their celebrations and parties. Germans party hard and they love their beer. And they truly have the best beers in the world. If you love spices you might be a bit disappointed with the food but they have excellent varieties of breads and cheese, which you cannot miss. I have been a fan of the German baking. My German friend would always bake cakes and cookies for me.In return, I tried to make them Indian food of their choice. Being a vegetarian, I never ate sausages but German bratwurst is known to all and I bet they taste awesome. When invited for a party, do bring along something with you as a thank you.. They love it.
Ignore the stereotypes:
“Germans are rude, reserved and harsh”; this is as much of a cliché as is “every Indian loves very spicy food”. Like in any other nation, there are many different kinds of people you will find. Germany also has a diaspora of different people. But for starters they don’t mix up very easily, they might take their time to blend in with you, but once you get to know them they will be helpful and amicable. Don’t be taken aback when you receive a direct answer for any question you ask them. They are not being rude, it’s a normal response. They might be a bit uneasy at first for physical contact (like hug) but don’t be offended, they take time to be friendly. And of course this is not true for every one moving to Germany but I am just describing a stereotyped conclusion. Coming from a country where social norms are very different from Germany I was a bit perplexed at the start on how to respond and react. But don’t worry just be yourself and extend your hands and you will be warmly welcomed.
Due to our varied culture we all are used to certain way of operating. In Germany people are very organised and punctual. The rules are very strict and you shouldn’t take things lightly. Public transport is first-class but don’t expect the driver to stop (even when he sees you running) if you are few seconds late. When invited,try to be early or on exact time. Punctuality is the best thing you will learn in Germany. Germans are very strict with the rules (of traffic, garbage disposal, driving/walking on the road etc.) and that’s what makes them so organised. Therefore, abide the rules diligently and you will be far from facing any trouble.
Germans are meticulous planners. They use calendars a lot and believe in planning ahead of time. So if you want to invite a friend over for dinner you should inform her/him before a week. That’s the general rule. It’s not that if you invite them on the day they will not come,but they usually plan ahead so they might not be able to. Once I met a lady who told me about her experience after moving to Germany.She told me that a neighbour of hers informed one week ahead that her (the neighbour’s) daughter will come to play with the lady’s daughter on Friday at 5 in the evening. The lady replied saying “I am your neighbour, your baby can come in any time she wants to play. You don’t need an appointment for that !.” Anyhow, do keep in mind to plan ahead planning if you wish to organise a dinner or a party. You will thank me later.
Lastly all these dos and don’ts are based solely on my experience, they might not be true for everyone moving to germany, but I hope you might find a point or two helpful when you are moving to Germany. Enjoy Germany. Viel Glück!
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