April 27, 2015, by Rachel Bainbridge

German culture is very different

I was born in Ukraine, and moved to England when I was 7 years old. For me, comparing the German culture to the English and the Ukrainian, it is somewhere in between the two. Especially in the region where I study (Thuringia) as it is a former East German county, and has retained a lot of Slavic culture.

However I still find the German culture is very different. Having lived in Germany for 5 months now, I was surprised to learn that a lot of German’s, especially those that haven’t been abroad aren’t very friendly around foreigners, such as my flatmates, who spend most of the time in their rooms, and don’t communicate much with me or the other international students in our flat.

Moreover, the biggest difference that I noticed, especially when comparing the German culture to the English, is their attitude to education and studying. I have found that both teachers and students themselves expect a lot more from the (other) students. For example when the students have posted reading material for their presentation, they expect all the other participants in the seminar to have read it and prepared for the seminar. Furthermore it is unthinkable to use your phone during the lessons; though the teacher may allow you to use it in educational purposes. However I have found that students have more freedom in other areas, such as students can freely exit the class at any time without asking the permission of the teacher. Also during exams, although not for all, but for some the teacher may allow you some extra time to finish the sentence, or finish answering the question that you’re on.

Some other differences that I’ve noticed are to do with the accommodation. Having lived in Nottingham 1 last year, I thought that the accommodation here was going to be exactly the same. Although the rooms here are mainly larger than back home, a lot of the stuff that you need, you have to buy yourself. But one advantage is that you can sign the contract for the whole duration of your studies, nevertheless you’re still left with the opportunity to move out at the end of each semester, if for some reason you want to move.  This is really helpful, because if like me you live with people who have been living there for a while, then they probably will have accumulated most of the things that you need, so you won’t have to buy them.

Posted in Cultural challenges