5 things I learned about Germans after living in Germany for 2 years!
I moved to Germany with my family about two years ago.
And it was always stunning me this huge cultural differences between how people act in Germany and in my home country.
I come from Arab middle eastern country. Egypt!
Although it is not highly developed or economically strong, but I can say that the culture and people are remarkable and have their own unique way of living.
In the following sections i try to highlight the most remarkable cultural differences i was shocked by …
Germans can come to work and sit to their desks (which could be one meter away from my desk. so we are somehow neighbors!) for an entire day silently, without saying a word.
They just come to work, then sit to work, then leave work.
It can happen that they do not even say Good Morning or Goodbye.
This is so weird and unusual for me!. Colleagues at work i am used to, do not stop interrupting me each 30 minutes for whatever thing. OMG , I miss that so much.
I am used to people in work who would come to me and start talking about their lives for half an hour without being asked to.
Somebody would come and talk about the football match of yesterday, or about the outing he had last weekend with his friends, or the fight he had with his wife. Or complains about how life has become hard or bla bla …
This never happens in Germany …
Germans always tend to structurize anything and everything in their lives.
They add structure in nearly every life aspect. How are they gonna eat. How are they gonna play sports. How are they gonna spend the weekend.
They add structure to their next so far holidays. and how are going to spend the time in their.
This structure is normally driven by high level objectives that are already set for their lives and want to commit to it. Like for example ‘I should lose weight and be xx kg by the end of yy’ or something similar ...
This structure then leads automatically (or naturally!) to detailed planning of what is to be happening in the whole thing based on the structure they already set. And hence the whole day, week, month and even year is somehow planned and expected.
So needed actions to fulfill the structure are identified clearly as early as possible.
It is very normal in Germany seeing people in January planning and reserving their holiday trip in the Christmas season. nearly one year ahead!!!
Again! this normally never happens in the culture i come from. Where things in life are acted upon in a much more random way
People normally wake up in the morning and then start to think about what we want to do/eat/go. Most of life activities are happening randomly or unplanned.
Is this a good or bad thing. I really don’t know but both schemes have their taste I would say.
Randomness gives space to surprises. Which are sometimes enjoyable
Structuring gives control over life and leads to success in achieving life objectives.
I am an introvert. and i can know Introverts when meeting, talking or even seeing them.
Most of the German people i met have somehow similar behavior in terms of the lack of tendency to breaking their own comfort zone and trying to socially interact with people they do not know so well.
They normally like to stick and talk only with the people they already know. And would not look for making more extrovert actions.
Most of the Germans i know would prefer reading books and be silent than talking with a colleague that they don’t know so much for example.
That’s why it is really very hard to make a German friend.
But after doing the hard part and having a German friend, then they are really so friendly and like to spend time and go out with them.
In Egypt, people always combine what are they doing or saying with some religious words. This is applicable for Muslims and Christians as well.
For example, if somebody is planning to go to place tomorrow he will combine it with the phrase ‘God Willing’. Or always relating life situations whether if it is good or bad with the plans of God for us.
Most of people would visit the Mosque or the Church at least once a week.
I believe that this connection with religion and unforeseen drives a lot of actions and behaviors of the people in my country.
Most events, meetings, family talks, marriages, problems, accidents and lot more you can easily sense the connection with part of the religion.
This is also not noticed at all in my german circle. I had never had a talk with any spiritual topic with a german friend. Or nobody told me for example that they went to the church recently.
This made me believe that the life for Germans are more materialistic and care more only up to what is happening on Earth than on Heavens.
One summer afternoon, I was returning home. It was really hot weather at this day (something around 35 Celsius).
In front of our house, there is a small garden.
I was shocked by the kids of the neighbors who were completely naked and playing in the garden. They were around 8 to 10 years old.
I have never seen something like this in my life before. I mean letting kids openly naked is something very strange for me.
Also, in the gym, I was shocked by people who will walk by in the changing room totally naked.
I still do not understand the background behind this, but it is after 2 years very weird for me.