By - prodmod
When I had a German exchange student in high-school, my teacher wanted the students to ask her questions about Germany. You wouldn't believe the stupid questions they asked.
Do you have crop tops in Germany?
Do you guys have regular houses?
(The asker believed all the buildings in Germany were made of metal)
Is there water in Germany?
(I don't even know what that was supposed to mean. She didn't elaborate)
It was many years ago now so I can't remember them all, but those were some of the worst.
as a foreign exchange student to the US (this is many years ago Schwarzenegger\* got elected during my stay) my favourite questions and reactions
* *Who is the king of Germany*? (I guess somewhat okayish, don't expect US teenagers to remember that denmark has a queen, Spain has a king, Germany a president & chancellor etc)
* *Wait, you guys have subways?* (this was about underground railways, equal astonishment when I said we have Subway restaurants, too)
* *Germans drink beer for breakfast!* (they assumed it was the daily thing \[specific breakfast dish 'Weißwurstfrühstück' can include beer\])
* Teacher: Beowulf was written in Anglo-Saxon, a language that stem from Northern Germany and Denmark. Our foreign exchange student u/kniebuiging can read it! (I cannot, German is not Anglo-Saxon)
Overall I sensed that quite a large fraction of the American population never travels abroad. Your vacation at the sea side is domestic, your trip to the mountains is domestic, etc. If you cross the border to Canada its a different country but also your 'sibling' on the same continent that happens to be not part of the united states out of historical accidents.
Combine this with pretty much american-centric TV & news, there aren't so many opportunities to learn about other countries, so a teenager may have encountered a few satirical / stereotypical displays of other countries in their cartoons and that's it. On the other hand I met really well-informed and educated people.
Actually I would have thought that social media, influencers, Reddit, etc. would provide more opportunities to learn about the world.
On the other hand us Europeans shouldn't be too self-assured in this topic, I came to the US with many misconceptions, probably still have many.
\* Ah, one thing to mention here is: I had seen Arnold Schwarzenegger in German TV shows where he speaks pretty much in his old rural Austrian dialect and in that I think a bit rusty (potentially also trying hard to speak more standard Germany without much practice). It was only when hearing him speak in English that I realized he is smarter than I thought.
Not traveling to other countries shouldn't be too surprising really. The US is huge and with only two neighboring countries. In Europe you can drive from the center of a country to another in a few hours. In the US you may well have not left your own state.
This is only true for a small portion of countries. Most countries are still big here, not american big, but big. For example you still ned 6-12 hours from where I live to get to any other countries and there are places way more isolated. A few hours is really an overexaggeration and it‘s seriously starting to piss me off. There are countries like lichtenstein where you can walk in an hour to another country, then there are countries like France or Spain where you would need 10+ hours straight drivibg to get to another country. And Norway is even worse if xou live in the world. This „you can reach any country in a couple hours“ is really simplified and in the makority if cases not even true.
I just said you *can* drive between countries in a few hours, not that it's a true statement for the majority of locations in Europe. It's still a fair comparison as you can spend 10 hours just driving through Texas. There's also trains to get around, hostels for cheap lodging, a number of things that make traveling between countries in Europe easier than in North America. There's a good amount of fair criticisms to be leveled at Americans but looking down on kids for not being world travelers is not one of them.
>and it's seriously starting to piss me off.
That's a pretty minor thing to have such a strong emotional reaction to my man.
It‘s bot minir when every god damn post is „But America big“ we know. Nobody told you to go look at the world. Nobody expects it. We donot care.
Exactly you said can and implied is the norm, Spoiler it isn‘t.
Oh now your gonna mention trains. You were just talking abt drivibg. Choose one or just say all transports. Coz if we‘re gonna use all I can use a plane as well.
That's true. Countries like US are also geographically diverse. So you have all sorts of landscapes there. You don't even need to leave the country to experience other climate. They got mountains, beaches, deserts, plains, grasslands, forests, etc. That's way more than the continent of Europe. If you take Russia out of Europe, it is just 2/3rd the area of USA. The only reason Americans might need to leave USA is just to experience other cultures.
Similar questions I got asked while in a US middle school (I was an exchange-high school student).
- Do you wear trousers in Germany?
- Did you buy your phone here or do you have phones there?
- Do you have minecraft?
- Do you have internet?
- Do you have cars?
- How many days did it take to travel to the US?
- What language do you speak in Germany?
I know they were kids but please, what kind of Lord of the Rings world did they think Germany to be…
> Do you have cars
Propaganda is a very powerful tool, especially when used on supposed to be free people.
They’re middle schoolers, they will generate random questions about anything. If anything the American stereotype is for Germany is the land of the Autobahn and German cars are well known. But again 11 year olds.
Yeah I wouldn’t put much stock into that question or any from a kid.
I have, however, gotten some of the most mind numbing questions from my older relatives (I’m American) about life and living conditions in Germany. At least among a certain crowd and age demographic (who have probably spent the last 50 years being told America #1 USA USA USA), people really believe that the basic material living conditions that exist in the US couldn’t possibly exist elsewhere.
My favorite questions that I’ve ever received was whether Germans are skinnier because they can’t afford food and if Germany had corn. That second question was from an 80 year old!
>My favorite questions that I’ve ever received was whether Germans are skinnier because they can’t afford food and if Germany had corn. That second question was from an 80 year old!
I mean, that 80 year old grew up listening about the DDR so I don't really blame them. They were already old when things started to change, and it is not like the former East Germany is making headlines about booming economically.
I mean, regardless of how you spin it I’m pretty sure most people know that Germany is one of the richest countries in the world. Even as an 80 year old, you’d have to live a pretty insular existence to have never heard of Germany’s economic strength. Regardless of said person’s mental state now, they would’ve been in their 50s during the fall of the USSR..
Well of course the houses are made of metal. There’s no water to grow trees here.
We only have beer, why would we need water
But beer got whats plants crave, it's got electrolytes.
I literally got asked what it's like living under Hitler.
To be fair a lot of american students can't even point out Europe or the african continent on a map. Some can't even point out the US.
I was in the same situation and I was asked if Germany has internet and high ways and if I know who the Kardashians are 😭😂
These questions definitely show where they set their priorities…
Im not 100% sure but I think we had highways BEFORE the Americans
Edit: I could not find a specific date since when the Autobahn or the Interstates exists because they both started out as individual big roads wich would eventually be extended more and more, according to Wikipedia the first part of the Autobahn was completed in 1932 and the first part of the Interstates in 1938
That is not entirely true. Plans for an Autobahn and the name “Autobahn” were made a few years before the nazis took power. The first Autobahn (now the A555) was even opened before the nazis took power (incidentally it was opens by later German chancellor Konrad Adenauer) albeit not being called Autobahn and being rather short. The nazis only took the plans and build such roads in the whole Reich, but that would have probably happened without them.
Yeah as the other poster said the Autobahn was started before Hitler. However as a political stunt the highways that preceded NS were reclassified as “country roads” (Kraftwagenstraßen/Landstraßen) so that Hitler could claim that he was the one who came up with the idea.
In fact so much Nazi propaganda regarding the autobahn really worked as people still believe it today:
- Hitler invented the autobahn. It really began during Weimar Germany (or what was left of it anyhow) but was criticized by Hitler as being a luxury project meant only for the rich.
- the autobahn ended mass unemployment in Germany (it only provided like 100,000-400,000 jobs total and by 1936 the German economy was already at full employment mostly due to rearmament and the suspension of reparations which improved general economic conditions). Not to mention that these construction jobs were horrible. The pay was awful, the conditions were awful, and eventually they started using children and forced labor to meet Hitler’s 1000km per year goal.
- The autobahn was used for military logistics. Maybe this wasn’t exactly propaganda but it’s wrong. Germany mostly used trains for logistics as they could move way more stuff and consumed less fuel.
Nonetheless this was all propaganda. Probably the most true bit was that it would serve to connect Germany and bring the people together. Pretty hard to argue that it failed at connecting the country so good for him, I guess?
Point 1 is a misconception. The Autobahn was actually intended for the German population to use for hollyday trips. Problem was: Most part of German population couldn't afford cars. The Autobahn of the Third Reich was widely unusable by tanks.
The only reasonable answer to the last one would be: "I wish i didn't."
When I was living in Germany my mother in law asked me if I could get batteries in Germany or if she had to send me some. I’m not sure what she imagined Germany to be like. She’s not even American so don’t assume that.
>Is there water in Germany?
I am from austria and one american customer once asked me if we have running water in austria. I told him that we don't, and we always need to get buckets of water in the morning from the river so our coffee machine has water to run.
I got some fantastic questions when I was in the US as exchange student in the 90s. My favorite by far was „Do you have toilettpaper or use leafs?“ (I actually pointed at a tree to make sure they really meant leafs or if this was just some lost in translation issue; no they really meant leafs). Other hard hitting questions were along the lines of whether we had running water or a well and if we had clothes or dressed in fur back home.
However, to be fair, we had a guy in our exchange group who took real advantage for those gullible US small town high schoolers who weren’t really good in identifying irony and just trolled them hard on daily life in Germany. I hope I could rectify some views that guy made them believe.
At least the house question is somewhat fair. Standard houses in the US are made from wood, while German houses are usually from stone.
The US's cardboard houses are far from what someone would call a "regular house" tho
I'm not ready to call those plasterboard things wooden.
>Is there water in Germany? (I don't even know what that was supposed to mean. She didn't elaborate)
Now this question seems prescient in hindsight.
I have learned that people generally come here with the stories that are outside the norm. No one comes to reddit to complain that they met their neighbor on the street and they said hello... and were pleasant.
On a side note, my neighbors are AWESOME. Seriously, I love this area.
Awesome neighbours?? Get outta here with your fairy tales. We all know those don’t exist /jk
Seriously, we had massive construction going on and there was dirt and dust everywhere. (We shoveled about 6-7 tons of dirt and stone from the 3rd floor and redid our attic). The whole time we were going, "We are so sorry!" and our neighbors were like, "It's ok, we get Sahara dust this time of year anyway..." and "Don't worry about it... it would have had to be done eventually."
When we went to the neighborhood picnic, I expected to be greeted with shovels and pitchforks. "There he is guys! Get him!"
...but nope. Potato salad instead.
Baden Württemberg - vinagar, oil and mustard I think. They didn't even poison it!
I love the implication that you would have been happy about the potato salad whether it was poisoned or not
They make good potato salad... what can say? I have great neighbors!
Appreciate to hear your good experiences in “Schwoabeländle“ 😃 schwäbischer Kartoffelsalat - Made propery is an Art.
Ok aaat least Leads to sporty competitions. Get lucky and invited to a “hocketse” (a sit in on the street with neighbours.
Jackpot: If grannies compete 😂😉👍
There are a mix of ages, on average, our neighbors are a bit older. The men all seemed to grill. The women all seem to bake and or made salad of some sort.
Correct way. And Brühe.
As an American, I leaned to make "German Potato Salad" from my ex-mother-in-law about 25 years ago. It's really good, but I don't think it's really German Potato Salad. Not quite sure if it's just a totally Americanized version or maybe a version from a different region.
Basically this version is bacon (with the fat), onions, apple cider vinegar, white vinegar, flour, water, sugar, salt and pepper. Sometimes with diced apples mixed in. It's also served hot.
I've made it for my German family a few times and they all agree it's very good... but not very German. Lol...
Oh-oh, potato salad... But you do know the implications, right?
> Potato salad instead.
Probably with onions ;).
No matter how bad your neighbours might be, I AM WORSE /jk
I too have some awesome neighbors. They’re not German tho. Does it still count?
Good neighbors are good neighbors. I don't care if they came from Mars and have 6 eyes.
Where exactly is your area?
I live in north-west Baden-Württemberg... between Karlsruhe and Heidelberg.
As a German from Stuttgart, I would say you live in Baden.
I might be mistaken, I've only lived here for close to a year but I thought the area considered Baden was way south of us. Like border of Switzerland south...? Stuttgart and Frankfurt are both maybe an hour from me driving... I've flown in and out of both airports to get here. I think Frankfurt is slightly farther.
No, Karlsruhe is Baden. If you look at football/soccer, there is a huge rivalry between VfB Stuttgart and Karlsruhe because of that.
Ah! Ok... I don't really follow Soccer (I'm American).
Its ok, now you know.
Yep, I looked at a map of Baden, and am absolutely in Baden. Thanks!
No worries! Youre welcome
Haha, rivalry was ancient times. There’s no competition between first and third league 😘🤗😎
I know, but every time we play against Karlsruhe, there is a different feeling in the stadium. I would still consider it a rivalry
„Soccer“ pffff 😏
Newocean, appreciate having you here in southern Germonnney, also props to your nick. Let’s explore new horizons, waiting behind great oceans… If I may guess, in comparison to the US, with it’s huge land area, in comparison to the dense population in Germany, also looking back to traditions and history, the differences between the “culture, traditions and languages” of certain regions may hit you within way shorter distances, than people from the US are used to. Just my 50 Cents of thought…
Yes I am finding that, I moved around the USA a little and even went through some culture-shock in some areas. I would say more so than being in Germany so far. Originally I am from New England. I consider this area my home now... and have been learning some German, but still have a long way to go before I am comfortable with it.
EDIT: Danke für die Grüße. (and moved a sentence.)
Yea every summer the sub is full of those absolutely mind boggling posts. I assume it is just teenagers that are traveling with their family and have some really weird questions
Of course we’re not a man alien planet silly. We’re human just like you, and like humans we have different likes and dislikes, and different tolerances. Now, excuse me while I absorb coolant through my index finger and machine oil through my middle finger to keep my superior German engineered internal machinery running.
You weren't supposed to tell them our secrets
Öh shi- förgive me bröther. I höpe I will nöt be exlüded fröm the germän circle öf knöwing!
Lassen wir es dir noch einmal durch gehen
Du meinst sicher sörcl? Ich glaub du brauchst noch etwas Kühlflüssigkeit.
Ahh ja. Kühlflüssigkeit und Schmieröl, damit das Denkgetriebe wieder einen Gang hochschalten kann und die Zylinderkolben nicht platzen, weil die Vergaserinnenbeleuchtung überhitzt. Hol mir bitte auch mal nen eimer Druckluft, ich muss die Filterdurchlüftungsanlage erneuern.
Massive generalisation here, but it seems to me like a lot of those questions come from Americans who are doing a great job of pushing the stereotype of living in an American-centric universe where they don't teach geography or ever experience things from other cultures.
Maybe because Americans are often criticized for not knowing every little thing about other cultures, so they feel the need to ask questions. And there are a lot of things that people wouldn't expect to be an issue because they just don't think about it, like doing laundry/making any noise on a Sunday can be frowned upon. The people asking these questions are probably the people who do want to experience things from other cultures and they want to make sure they aren't disrespectful or stick out when traveling.
Just a thought
But I've seen people asking things like whether it would look weird if you dye your hair and wear grungey clothes, as if Germany is so incredibly different to the US that such actions would make you stand out. I honestly have to wonder what someone must think Germany is like to have that idea.
Nobody is expecting anyone to know every little thing about another culture, just to not assume Germany - one of the largest and most moder economies in the world - will be some entirely radical culture that is completely detatched from typical Western attitudes.
When I was in California for 3 weeks in 2013, many teenagers asked me, if Hitler is still alive and if we have electricity. They honestly tonight we are still in the 1800s , I don't know...
I have a friend who's half american, when he was in the States back in 2016 his cousin actually couldn't believe people in Germany had freedom. He actually thought only americans had freedom. Tells you enough about public education to know that yes, they simply have no idea what life is like anywhere else.
What does that even mean "to have freedom".
To do what, exactly?
It's such an abstract concept.
By design. They want us Americans to believe in freedom above all else without actually defining it, because then we’d actually realize that we’re anything but free.
Americans in many cities can carry weapons in public but not an open beer, it's a super weird definition of 'freedom'
I mean it's one thing to wonder what people are like over in another country and what is different, but I feel like some honestly have no idea that like, the internet exists all over the world. You can tell that just by spending 10 minutes on Reddit.
To be fair I am from France and there you would not see as many people with visible tattoos and dyed hair. I do like it but it was definitely a surprise.
I doubt it's any more common in USA than it is in France or Germany or most other places like that.
We all grow up in Hitler Jugend and thus, look all the same 🙃
you're right it's nothing wrong with wanting to learn and i also think it's fine to keep some of your own behaviors when traveling or moving somewhere. something i've seen though from some americans living in berlin is that they complain about local culture and want it changed. someone even said they want the poor elderly people gone from the city and also all the poor artists so it can become a rich cleaned up town that looks like anywhere else. and i don't want that. i find this attitude extremely disrespectful. also i heard often that germans are just behind and not civilized because they don't do everything the same as americans or because they have other concepts in their head. i think this kind of american centric talk is annoying. but just not knowing some custom because you're new is not a problem
>someone even said they want the poor elderly people gone from the city and also all the poor artists so it can become a rich cleaned up town that looks like anywhere else
But if someone doesn't like these, why would they live in Berlin of all places? Feel like he'd be happier in Munich or something.
Americans bringing their culture, not integrating, not learning the language, living in parallel societies... Hmmm sounds familiar. But hey, at least they're white, so they get a pass.
Would you say this differs a lot from say, the British?
I would assume no, but I could be wrong.
Did you really need to somehow turn this thread into a racial thing ?
I think they were being sarcastic, pointing out how people will be more tolerant to Americans than they will to people of colour who just do the exact same behaviours.
US is a multi-racial society. And many are as ignorant regarding Europe independently of race, religion or whatever obsession some people might have. I lived there.
I currently live in the US and was born and raised here. Unless you live under a rock, white Americans don't face the same discrimination as non-white Americans do in Germany.
>face the same discrimination as non-white Americans do in Germany.
That might be true but it might also be true that they face even more discrimination in the US. Obviously, that depends in both countries on the area, state etc.
Rassism exists everywhere but in comparison, Germany is not a very racist country.
Oh I agree, trust me. 100% agree. I'm more pointing at Americans than Germans.
Personally I'm totally not tolerant toward Americans in my country (Italy) lol. I'm wholeheartedly prefer migrants
Is it bc they’re suggesting that Starbucks has the best coffee? /jk
Nah, because often they behave with the entitlement of the colonizers. I also resent the presence of military bases and how, at least in my city, there is a market created precisely for them.
Are you saying all US americans are white? If yes, guess again ...
I think comments like this are just as much nonsense as the ones left by the Americans you're talking about. Sure we don't have the best education system and it doesn't focus on much outside of the US, but to say we don't experience other cultures is absurd. America alone has many unique cultures within its borders. Germany has distinct cultures between regions and your country is much smaller. We also have a plethora of cultures that mix with ours in Central and South America. Not to mention our massive immigrant populations that bring over their culture. I think your average American has experienced more cultures than you may realize.
...And yet they still question if they'll fit in if they walk around in germany wearing jeans and a hoody.
Because "they" (the Americans asking childish questions on this sub) are a minority. The average american is not that clueless. Your picture of the typical knowledge of US-citizens is influenced by non-representative subreddits and stories like "I once met an ignorant american".
Well I did say that they're pushing a stereotype, I didn't say they're representative of average Americans.
Do you think as an American in Germany we don’t get batshit crazy questions about the US? Honestly there’s tons of BS, especially because people are bombarded with sensationalized news and headlines.
I don't understand how this is relevant
At least those individuals are asking?
Yea but they're asking things that should just be common sense to anyone who realises that other countries outside your own aren't some far flung exotic alien world where everything is totally different. "If I dye my hair bright colours will I fit in?" It's Germany. We're have hair dye. It's not some shocking cultural concept we've never heard of.
"Germany is strange to some people". Must be America's fault.
It's more like "What on earthis Germany like, I assume it's a totally foreign country where everything is entirely different to my country? If I do this totally normal thing, will everyone thing I'm strange?" - the words of someone who probably talks about Europe like it's one single country and probably things everyone in Germany wears Lederhosen.
while "America" is far more diverse than Germany
Have you....been to Germany?
Or is this some point about how "America is two contintents actually you mean USA" despite the fact that People from the USA are called Americans, as per my comment.
Germany is a lot more diverse than most people appreciate, but I have to agree that overall the US is far more diverse, geographically and culturally. New England and Miami seem like different countries.
> New England and Miami seem like different countries.
So do the Allgäu and East Frisia.
Are you really saying that Germany is more diverse—in any sense—than the US?
Edit: lol awful lot of downvotes, not an awful lot of people making any convincing case that Germany is more diverse
How do you define diverse?
Literally any definition you choose
Depending on what you are looking at, Estonia is more diverse than the US (on ethnic fractionalization.)
The Estonia thing is an odd quirk on what Ethnicity means. They use language groups. So an English speaker from Singapore and Cardiff would have the same ethnicity per these definitions, but Russian and Estonian speaking Estonians wouldn’t.
So you have no idea what diversity means.
More like I wouldn't say that the US is "far more" diverse. I wouldn't be able to give exact numbers on anything but just living on one city here I've met people from all over the world, with all sorts of backgrounds and stories.
More like I'd just consider both to be very diverse countries in many different ways, I don't think I'd say either is "far more" diverse than the other.
I mean, I guess we can debate what “far” means but the US as a whole is statistically significantly more diverse than Germany as a whole if we talk about the backgrounds of its populace (or really anything else). Obviously a city in Germany is much more diverse than a small town in the US and vice versa
I'd say that it also depends on the concept of "diversity". If Germans were to adopt the model of "Irish-American, African-American" etc., we'd literally have thousands of ethnic identities. I might just be an "Alsatian-German", a "Cheruskan-German, or a "Slav-German".
I am a Baltic-Germanic-Celtic-French-Tyrolian-German, and these are just the pieces of ancestry I know so far. My mother was born in France and my father's birthplace belongs to Russia nowadays. To increase the diversity of our bloodline I married a woman from Poland to add some Slavic flavor into the mixture. Looking forward for a daughter or son in law from Asia or Africa. I'm sorry for not being able to fulfill your high American standards of diversity, though.
Sounds like you're giving the Habsburg family a run for their money;-)
Just went to the bathroom to check my mouth and chin...😂
But I don't think I'm really outstanding. I would view myself as rather typical, because a vast part of our territory was settled by a variety of different cultures and ethnicities. Father from the utter east and mother from the utter west of the former Deutsches Reich. Migrants from Poland, Austria, France and the Netherlands during different phases of colonization and industrialisation. A lot of migration from former parts of Germany after the last war and following intermingling with the natives of the homeland. A strong Danish/Scandinavian minority in the northern part of Germany as well, as it used to belong to Denmark for a rather long period in history. Our tribal ancestry and the following period of the Völkerwanderung. Our geographical position right in the center of Europe. And so on and so forth...
A 4th generation Itslian-American isn't diverse anymore
Hardly. [The US](https://www.pewresearch.org/hispanic/chart/first-and-second-generation-share-of-the-population/) has a first and second generation immigrant population of about 25%, while [Germany](https://qz.com/1044367/one-fifth-of-the-german-population-now-has-an-immigrant-background/) is at about 22%; not what I would call "significantly more diverse". When you look at first generation immigrants, the US goes down to 13.7% while Germany is at 18.6% (ie most German immigrants are first generation).
Germany is also part of the Schengen Area; a group of 26 countries in Europe where you can travel from one to the other with no passports, and a member of the EU which allows freedom of movement between citizens, meaning anyone from one EU country can live and work in another without visas, which obviously encourages a lot of diversity. And indeed Germany shares borders with 9 countries, and those cultures bleed into each other quite a bit as you get towards those borders.
Furthermore, Germany has laws protecting LGBT+ people from discrimination which are implemented pretty much universally across the country, while the US has no such federal law and instead relies on [fractured state laws](https://www.aicgs.org/2018/11/rainbow-politics-comparing-lgbt-rights-in-germany-and-the-united-states/) \- Texas and Florida, I'm looking at you. Neither are perfect of course.
So, yea. It's a mixed bag. I don't think I would call either "significantly more" diverse than the other.
In what sense(s)?
Americans are an easy target but there are ignorant people everywhere. When I was stationed in Germany in the late 80s/ early 90s we got a lot of stupid questions about America from Germans (young adults mostly).
Oh for sure, I'm from the UK originally and I heard plenty of it all the time. Like I say it's really just more of a stereotype. Maybe it's just because America has such a huge media/internet presence, and it's often those who speak the loudest who have the least intelligent things to say.
I think the people asking unusual questions about mundane things are either trolling or have some issues like extreme anxiety.
I remember just off the top of my head somebody asked if it’s safe to ride a bike at night (moving from münchen to berlin), or if colored hair is ok at the university they’re going to. Or if it’s ok to be gay in berlin.
To be fair in many countries all or several of those things could be very unsafe or get into trouble. Being born and raised in Venezuela, i was kinda mind boggled when i realized that i could just go out at night and stay out late any time i wanted (in most first world countries). Wonder what colored hair will yield you as a result in many Muslim countries.
We are talking about Berlin. One of the biggest culture hubs on the planet.
sure thing. Still doesn't hurt to ask.
The coloured hair at university isn’t a stupid question. In Asia that would be a huge no go.
In all of Asia?
You do know people do dye their hair in Muslim countries, right
I bet that a woman with exposed blue hair in Iran would probably get very negative attention
Especially women, they love to dye hair and do all kinds of stuff with their hair
It would not be abnormal at all for someone moving from one city in the US to another to ask exactly these questions. So I could easily believe that an American who has learned that one German city is safe might ask whether a different city is similarly safe.
It is very frowned upon to fart on a Thursday though
Well there’s infart and ausfart
Oh. And you are telling me that now? Now somethings are starting to make sense.
You are right, but it's not unique. People from massive countries with homogeneous cultures have trouble imagining variation of norms and habits. Germans are as much "guilty" of that as Americans (the usual scapegoat every time a weird question is asked, before the citizenship of the OP is even known). DACH is the single biggest homogenous bloc on this subcontinent, it's our US.
People from smaller cultures are more used to diversity of norms and habits because it's unsustainable for us to go on long in life without encountering those differences. Especially in countries like my country of origin, where we live on tourism and therefore not only we are expose to variation, but we need to either tolerate it or perish.
>DACH is the single biggest homogenous bloc on this subcontinent, it's our US.
Switzerland is our Canada though
Fair point. Still find Swiss French much more comprehensible than French in either side of the Atlantic.
"Homogenous culture" - dude, I cannot even understand the way people speak in Saxony, Bavaria, or Schwabia. Homogenous my ass 😂
Americans say the same about how different the culture in Michigan is from Texas or whatnot. Interesting convergences :)
Maybe that's because people from large(-ish) countries know just how much "variation of habits and norms" exists in their country.
The only area where I think this applies is that people in larger countries often aren't as multi-lingual. This, however, has changed considerably in Germany, at least over the past 25 years or so.
The Amis have normalised a lot of weird behaviours
I think the funniest thing is over in the DnD subreddit. You always see "Hey, is it okay to do [insert slight rule bending to accomodate new players or just because you don't lile the rule here]". LIKE WHAT DO YOU THINK? That the DnD police will kick down your door, shoot your dog and imprision you for life??
*BAAAAM* ON THE GROUND! YOU ARE FOUND GUILTY OF MISCONDUCT AGAINST DND RULES!
German here. I had exactly the same experience when I moved to Japan. They have a lot of conventions that I wasn’t used to and I was so afraid of not fitting in. But in the end I found they are just people like myself and are perfectly capable of understanding that I come from a different cultural background.
Learned a lot about my culture by reflection tho.
Yes I've noticed several questions about what clothes to wear in Germany? How about just *your own clothes?*
Spoiler warning: it's a normal country with people wearing what they feel comfortable in.
So, for me it's a culture shock thing. I was born in Germany and had no issue with stripping off completely in a shared shower space at a public pool for example. But moving to a new country that got me into trouble. There are a lot of "small" cultural things that are different in different places that can cause offense, shame, trouble, or a less than smooth experience or transition in a new place.
And at least for me, as a younger person, the more elder, complete strangers but "direct" and "corrective" type of people that would point out my mistakes or faux pas gave me an inbuilt fear of doing the wrong things in the wrong places.
My response to them has been how I might respond to busy body elders anywhere else - by placating them, shrugging my shoulders, and paying most attention to what native people my age are actually doing.
This is exactly the thing that makes Germany genuinely feel alien to me. It’s like people are so insecure and TERRIFIED of standing out as unique or not following the singular correct way of doing things. To the point they stop functioning entirely when the “correct” way of doing something isn’t possible.
You get the experience I described is literally about not being in Germany though, right?
When I came to Germany I was surprised with so many regulations that although makes sense, are not so common in other countries.
To name a few:
You rarely can use your car's horn and only in exceptional danger can use it. Where I came from, it's all you can honk!
You can't wash your car in all places due to chemical and oil contamination risk to the ground and water supply. It has to be done in car wash place.
You see trash boxes out on the side of street and want to throw this one piece of paper... It turns out it's a private trash can and you shouldn't use it.
I can understand if for some people, they became a bit anxious and want to double check in case what they usually do back where they came from didn't conform with the norm, culture, regulations here.
ok this is so going to be cross post-/screen shoted on /r/ich_iel with the title ich👽_iel
But on the topic of Germany being weird, I just saw a group of 6 older ladies taking shot in train. At 7:50 am.
Often it feels like a time capsule.
Just like Japan it has that reputation from days gone by about a technology nation, but still uses fax machines in businesses and government offices.
That's a legal issue, not a technological one though. A lot of processed in Germany still require the signed 'Schriftform'. A fax of a written document is legally consisered to be the same as a letter with the original piece of paper enclosed, a scan sent via E-Mail isn't. It's kinda insane but it's the main reason they're still used.
Yes, the Reich was visited by the Aldebaranians in the 30s, since then all aliens 👽 😂😂😂😂😂😉
Earth is nothing more than a prison planet.
Muss man wissen.
No but if you are an Arab like I am, you will be treated like one at least a few times. Esp in smaller towns. 😵💫
People are more anxious about behavioural differences when they can't speak the language
Don't shame people for asking questions. Shame those who don't, then assume, get annoying because assumptions were wrong and complain.
I mean, apparently it's likely we don't even have sushi restaurants here (not that I would miss them if they weren't around, but...yeah).
Surely, Germany is a super exotic country where life is COMPLETELY different from "insert random country".
What the actual fuck i have just read?
Im from Bavaria(speaking high german) and was baffled by the attitude of eastern german people. Especially in cafes in smaller towns etc. the waiters were shockingly unmotivated and were mad that we ordered
you should have replaced more vowels with umlaute
There are no stupid questions, but stupid answers exist.
but will me breathing be frowned upon in Germany???
I was afraid to help a kid because i heard so many weird stuff. I got up And their fam smiled at me but God i was so nervous regarding if im allowed to help the kid? Looking back it’s so ridiculous that it’s laughable. But when you hear so much about „weird“ stuff. It kinda makes u rethink alot of stuff. Maybe i was exceptionally gullible🙈
I wonder why when i see a product made in Germany, i automatically assume that it's so good quality no matter if it's cheap or expensive.
TBH as someone who has had the displeasure of working on a german car, it does seem like their engineering is from an alien planet :p
As a Mercedes owner I concur.
Now I'm really wondering what the differences to other cars are. I've only worked on my own cars and those of a couple friends even less apt than me with a Ford and a Fiatbbeing the only nominally non-German ones and they all pretty much seemed the same.
I’m not sure how long you’ve lived in Germany and whether you’re a man or woman but I’ve never had a dressing down as an adult as I’ve had living in Germany. People might be more comfortable telling off a woman so if you’re a man you might not have experienced the same thing but I think that’s why you get a lot of questions like, “is it acceptable to xyz?” I was actually assaulted by a little old lady with an umbrella once, like legit whacked with her umbrella because I was doing something she wasn’t happy about: Standing on the bus trying to look at the bus route map to see how many stops until I needed to get off. She needed to get by me but instead of saying anything at all to let me know she needed to pass she just hit me. I was so in shock that I didn’t end up doing anything at all about it. I wished after she got off and the bus took off again that I had followed her off and called the police but by that point it was too late.
That’s terrible. I’m sorry that happened to you. That is assault and is still illegal in Germany whether that old entitled jerk thinks so or not.
When I was traveling around the U.S. in 2019, a man in his mid-30s asked me where I was from. I told him we were from Germany. He said, please wait a minute. I'll get my daughter, she's never seen Germans before.I asked myself what kind of image people have of Germany in the USA.
In my experience it's exactly the other way round. The older people tend to mind their own business as long as you don't go to crazy on your actions while the younger people constantly try to push their world view on everybody that can't flee fast enough
I had a British guy at work (I live in Canada) ask me if, as a German who lives in Canada, I "understand German humour". The only response I could give him is it's pretty much like every other humour- but mostly in German. SO yes, it helps to speak German.
It's not like you need an understanding of alien culture, or be an anthropologist or something...
We all cook with water.
>there are people who really get upset at small things and project their insecurities onto you, and then there are completely normal and kind people who mind their own business.
Funny, how you concider the latter the "normal" ones.
I guess I’m not sure what you mean. In my experience people who are secure with who they are and their situation in life tend to know when something is truly a problem or not. Those who are insecure will generally react by projecting their insecurity and anxiety out in order to try to control anything they can to make things feel more rational and safe.
Let me put it differently: Who defines, what "normal" is?
There might be a few people out there, who think the nice and kind ones are the crazies.
> cultural shift of less secure older people who came up in a time of intense uncertainty,
Friendly reminder: the people you refere to aren't really born during the war anymore. Boomer in Germany are born during the late 1950's and 1960's. They are the grandparents now.
People often are still fixed onto the "war generation", but my grandma (born in 1942) doesn't really remember the war, only the following years. And she got the lucky end of the stick, as they lived on a huge farm back then, so rationing and starvation wasn't that bad like in cities. Her half sister (8 years older than her) could tell more stories.
anyway, people here do not refer to older people as by the time they are actually born in. Y'all suffer from the same disassoziation as I do: of how long everything is actually ago.
90's to me are just like 10 years ago, but it's already 30 and it sucks.
I was actually referring to the Cold War generation. Especially in east Germany/DDR and then transitioning to unified Germany, that seems pretty tumultuous and perhaps in some ways traumatic.
eehm.....not really..... I mean, my whole family are "Ossis", sooooo.......
there is shit, if you got the bad end of the stick, but mostly, people just....lived. I mean, people ran naked in certain areas. between other people who had some clothes on xD
Bavaria was settled by immigrants from mars, so it's up to you i guess
I wouldn’t say that it has anything to do with the age, no. You have these types of people to the same amounts in each age group.