Friday, December 5, 2008

General Rules For an American Living in Germany:

I have lived in Germany for over six months now, and in that time I have come up with several rules, or guidelines to follow for any other Americans considering a move, or a long visit to Germany.

1. Don't ask someone where the Autobahn is. There is not just one Autobahn. Autobahn just means highway, and yes, Germany has lots of them just like any other developed country. In addition, yes it is true that there are many parts on the Autobahn without speed limits (only about 30%), but not always.

2. Be sure to become a regular at the many bakeries in Germany. There is always something for everyone at a German bakery. After you leave, you will probably miss the bread more than the beer.

3. Have a clue about what is going on in the world, especially US politics. Germans don't care if you don't know who Angela Merckel is, but don't be surprised if 75% of the Germans you meet know more about US politics than you do, so be ready to be quizzed on it, and have an opinion.

4. Know that Germany is not just Munich. Munich is a city in the state of Bayern. Germany has many other states. Lederhosen, Oktoberfest, and huge mugs of beer (known as a "Mass") are associated with Bayern, which is the most conservative state in Germany. People from other states may find it offensive if you ask why people aren't wearing Lederhosen.

5. Oktoberfest usually takes place in September. Get over it, and plan accordingly. Also, don't bother asking why it's not in October, because most Germans don't seem to care enough to question it, or much less answer it . . . they probably haven't even thought about it.

6. If anyone mentions ANYTHING about Obama, the proper response is "Yes we can!" Germans love Obama whether you do or not. Saying "Yes we can!" will probably make their day, and you might even see a German smile.

7. Don't be an American stereotype. Know your geography, reassure Germans that the US is NOT a hollywood movie, remind them that America doesn't like Bush either, expect a smirk when you walk into McDonald's, Pizza Hut, or Burger King, and don't forget to turn lights off and other electronics you aren't using.

That's all that I have! I hope you have enjoyed reading. As always, comments are welcome, and appreciated!

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Can we assume that everyone speaks English?

Andrew's Breakfast said...

@ Anonymous: That is a hard question to answer. I think that anywhere in Europe it is easy to get around only with English. However, I think you will find people much more friendly, and much more helpful if you can attempt to communicate in their language. Even learning simple phrases like "Hello" and "Excuse me" are appreciated. Thanks for reading!

Phuket Matt said...

I remember going to Germany for a language exchange about 10 years ago. The Germans are a very distinct type of people. Quite rough on the outside, but once you get beneath it they're not too dissimilar from the rest of us. Interesting that they all love Obama.

Anonymous said...

You can assume that everybody can speak English here. You have to learn English (and sometimes 2 other languages) in school and in average for over 9 years.
Andrew, all the best and a good flight back home! Next year I will fly to the US again and I'm not far away from you then!
Maik

Dawn Henderson said...

AND...... getting a bike is a dangerous thing to do... the drivers are crazy! I've had two accidents now and I DO NOT want any more! I am in Germany and I hate beer!!.... I also hate pretzels and Doenner, but Germany is good! Peace out Andrew! Dwan x

Emperor Penguins said...

And don't forget if you are in Germany to eat one of their delicious Bratwurst Sausages!!!!

Reel slots said...

I was in Germany 7 years ago and the people there are friendly, at first I thought that they were unfriendly but just took me 1 day to realize that they are amazing and their country too.

Anonymous said...

andrew, just wondering why you are providing such condescendingly-toned advice to an audience which will probably never profit from it...? News flash: you're not the first person to study abroad. Tone it down, your "fans" will appreciate it.

Andrew's Breakfast said...

@anonmymous: I appreciate the comment, and to make clear my intentions, this post was never meant to be insulting to any readers, but simply a piece of satire. Although there is a lot of truth there, it was meant to be fun, and not condescending, so I apologize to any readers who feel that way. For example-- Oktoberfest being in September, I can't help but find that a bit funny, but I didn't know that before I experienced it, and I am sure most other non-Germans are not aware either.
And not to be too picky, but I was not studying abroad, but went over for a job.
Thanks for stopping in and reading, and thanks for being honest!

raleigh photographer said...

well said andrew's breakfast. i found this not only informative but very very whitty! your blog has been very inspiring for my upcoming trip to germany, and i look forward to shouting a few "yes we cans" along the way.

in reference to you "anonymous" i dont see how you took much offense to this, and it is always better played to keep your negative comments and sarcasm to yourself rather than ruining "free speech" for others.

limo hire london said...

There are lots of delicious foods to try in Germany. Bratwurst, Sauercraut and Schnitzel to name a few. Another tip that should be very obvious is not to mention the war, even as a joke...they will most likely be highly offended.

Tam @ City Breaks said...

It's always amused me that Ocktoberfest is infact in September :) and LOL @ asking why people aren't wearing Lederhosen! Lovely observation piece, enjoyed reading it :)

Learning holidays said...

As a vegetarian, the German bakeries have been my food savour when I've visited Germany (about 6 times in the past) so I can't agree more with you there! Interesting comment about Munich not being the only place... so many people don't see beyond the beer and sausages, its an amazing country, when you get to know the people they are warm, friendly and it's true - in general very efficient. So go to Germany, definitely learn the language too - at least a few words as it makes all the difference.

Spot Cool Travel said...

As one who has lived in Germany of 2 years I completely agree with everything here. Except, in my case, I missed the beer more than the bread.

Roman Terry said...

This article put a smile on my face. Probably because they are all so true. I'm not so sure if its a great idea to talk openly about US politics anywhere anymore, but love the one about the communal bakery!