Five Culture Shocks

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Since arriving home Dec. 9th, I’ve begun the process of readjusting myself to American culture. Obviously, it is much easier than adjusting to German culture because I was born and raised here, but still! Below I’ve listed a few funny differences I’ve noticed, all things I probably never would have thought twice about three months ago.

1. Electrical Outlets– I find myself hesitating before plugging anything in now, asking where is the converter? Oh yeah, I don’t need one, I can plug it straight into the wall with out fear of electrocuting myself!
2. More Free Stuff- I will never take little things like free Ketchup, whipped cream, refills and public bathrooms for granted again! It seems like everything is free in America- something I now see as a privilege, not a right.
3. Table Etiquette– If you are at a restaurant in Germany and your meal arrives before everyone else’s, you can dig in! Where as in America, it is polite to wait unit everyone has been served to start eating. To be honest, I prefer the German way because then your food doesn’t get cold, and you don’t have to sit there salivating in front of your friends.
4. Facial Expression- Germans maintain a neutral face when they go out in public, and do not feel the need to smile at strangers as they pass. I keep forgetting it is polite to smile when you make eye contact with people in America, so people probably think I am grumpy!
5. Small talk– The other day I went to the grocery store, and I was taken aback when the cashier asked how my day was going! German cashiers are all about efficiency, so they would never engage in small talk. I missed the slower pace and exchange of pleasantries while I was gone! However, my small talk skills are a little rusty and need a bit of brushing up.

All things considered, I’ve learned to adore both cultures and all the little quirks that make them so unique. Even though it can be a bit jarring to travel between them sometimes, I am so thankful for the chance to fully experience both. There’s nothing like leaving home to make you appreciate it a million times over!


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