Culture shock in Germany

Here’s a story from a Korean college student who went to Germany as an exchange student.

My first culture shock came on my way from the airport in Frankfurt to the train station. I saw so many people riding bicycles. There was a road only for bicycles and they even had their own traffic lights. In my country, bicycles were ignores. Bikes were just for sport but here they were transportation. Later on I even found out there were rules for bikes – like they had to have lights when it was dark.

When I reached Leipzig, everything was beautiful. My second cultural shock was my first Sunday in Leipzig when I wanted to buy the stuff I needed to get settled, starting with a bottle of water. The first shop was closed. I thought it was strange. The second shop was closed. Everything was closed. I couldn’t buy a bottle of water in this rich country. In Korea, most shops are open Sunday and do most of their business on weekends.

I had to take a long ride to the train station to shop for water. I stopped at McDonald’s for a burger and my third cultural shock. I asked them why they didn’t give me ketchup and they said it had to be ordered separately. No free ketchup? I couldn’t believe it. It’s like being forced to buy a cube of sugar after you order an espresso.

But those cultural shocks really helped me understand German culture, which helped me learn German language much faster.

Filed Under: Cultural differences

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