Aside from personal struggles, roommate issues, cultural differences, and general ups and downs, I really am going to miss my time here in Germany. I had an amazing time, met amazing people and had experiences that I never could have gotten and learned things that I never would have learned. I would definitely recommend studying abroad to anyone considering it, even if they don’t speak the language. To people going to study in the U.S., enjoy, because it’s the best country in the world and we have a lot of great things to offer. And to people going to Germany, embrace your inner beer drinking, bratwurst eating self and all that Germany has to offer.
1. No one at the visa office in Jena speaks English (I guess they just assume that all foreigners that go there will speak perfect German)
2. The ungodly inconvenient business/office hours
- the doctors are only open early in the morning and in the evening because during the other times they do house visits
- professors tend to have only a few office hours a week (I have one professor who literally has 2 hours a week of scheduled office hours)
- businesses like to close between 4-8
- everything is closed on Sundays and things usually close early on Saturdays
3. Things closing for stupid reasons
- a grocery store closed at least two hours earlier today due to a need to do inventory
4. Red tape
- having to pay my last months rent in cash in order to get my deposit after having the landlord check my apartment twice and giving me a paper saying I passed
- having to do a lot of things by paper instead of electronically
There’s this amazing pastry shop behind the main Jena bus station that is absolutely delicious. This is the same pastry shop that has a stand outside of Goethe Galerie but the actual shop has a bigger selection. My favorite thing to get there is almond croissants. They are absolutely delicious and I could eat them all day.
Ja, ich moechte gerne mit dir sprechen oder schreiben. :)
Today I went to a bakery that I’ve been to before and I bought two things that came out to be 2.80 Euros. I only had a ten so I gave the woman my ten. Well Germans love exact change and as soon as I gave this woman my ten she immediately asked me if I had anything smaller. I said no. Then she immediately goes into this rant about how she needs people to give her small change. I was so pissed off by her little rant that I 1. didn’t even want the items anymore but decided to get them because I wasn’t going to be eating for a few hours and wanted breakfast and 2. wanted to tell her off even more than I usually want to make a nasty comment to people here. But I decided not to make my nasty comment because I honestly feel that I would get arrested in Germany for doing that, probably because I can’t help but associate the police officers with Nazi’s and do not feel comfortable around them.
This is one thing that I am absolutely not going to miss about Germany..the fact that a lot of Germans are so downright rude and unhelpful. In fact, I find it so off putting that if I did not like the German language so much, I would honestly not want to continue/pursue anything after college having to do with it. I am honestly surprised when I meet a German who is nice because I truly find that many people are rude here. It’s culture shock, I know. And I should be more accepting of other people’s cultures, I know. But on the other hand, why should I? Why should I come to another country for 10 months and miss a year of college at my school to then be around people that just annoy me and make me appreciate my culture and country that much more? Why should Germans get such better treatment when they come to the U.S. because we’re so much nicer, but when I come to Germany and ask someone for help they act like I’m burdening them, or when I give someone money they complain that it’s not exact change (IT IS MONEY ISN’T IT? YOU ARE A BUSINESS, AREN’T YOU?), or when I ask a professor for help (2 out of the 3 that I have asked) they tell me to figure it out/go over stuff again?
This is a rant. And I’m frustrated. Sure, the Germans might have a great economy and basically run Europe and can speak English very well, but who cares if the image that you are giving to people (it’s not just me who thinks this..it’s a lot of other people from at least the English speaking world) is that you’re rude and unhelpful and cold. There’s something to say about stereotypes. There are stereotypes because it’s true for the majority of that class, or race, or country or whatever. And when I say that the Germans are stereotypically cold, I mean it. So Germany, you just got a reality check and believe me, I will be telling people that although I had a great time abroad in Germany, it was because of the friends that I made and the experiences I had with them, not because of the German people.
In about a month, 32 days to be exact, I’ll be heading back to the U.S. I find myself feeling more excited to be going back than I thought I would be, but I have been here since October. I am going to miss my friends and the experiences I’ve had here though. I know that for sure. But I’m looking forward to being home with my friends and family and just being completely comfortable being in my own country with my own culture and at my own college.
I’ve certainly learned a lot about other cultures, but most importantly about myself. I now have a better idea, more than I already did, about what I want and what I can accomplish. It amazes me that I wasn’t more nervous and more afraid to just uproot my life and live in another country with a different language for 10 months. But I’m so glad I did. The friends, experiences and things that I’ve learned on this trip are priceless and I’m so glad that I took this opportunity and that I even had this opportunity. I only hope that I’ll keep in touch with all of my new friends..but I already intend to see a friend in NYC while she does a 6 month work program at Disney.
I don’t know if this is my last post or not, but if it is, I’d be fine with that-just like how I’m fine with leaving in a month. I know I’ll be sad, but I’m at peace with it and feel ready to come home. I just hope America’s ready to have me back. :)
Today a friend and I got on the tram along with one other person. My friend and I were talking English to each other and there was a man near us that kept looking at us and had his hand in his pocket. We both had the feeling that he was an undercover ticket checker and surely enough he soon asked us for our tickets. So we searched through our bags and got them out and he got off shortly after at the next stop. But we realized that he never asked the other guy who got on with us or anyone else on the tram. Maybe he had already asked people who were on the tram before us, but then why not ask the other guy who got on at the same stop as us?
One thing that I really like about German grocery stores is that they show how much every gram or liter or milagram costs on the shelfs price tag . I find this very helpful in comparing prices and figuring out when I’m getting a good deal or not. I wish that America did this..maybe they do now, but I haven’t seen them there before.
The Italian culture is very disorganized from what I’ve seen and it can actually be quite funny while at the same time sad. While I was in line at the Colosseum and the airport, the lines weren’t defined at all. It was a mass of people crowding around the counter basically. It never really turned into a line until you got 2-3 people behind the person at the counter. At the Colosseum we waited in a long line for an audio guide just to be told that they were out and to go back to the area where we had just gotten our tickets from and wait in the line over there for it (which was even longer).
At the airport we had to tell the attendant behind the counter that we only wanted our bags checked to Berlin and not our final destination. Well that took at least 15 minutes because the woman didn’t understand what we wanted and then when she did, she didn’t know how to do that so we had to wait for another woman to come over and help her.
Instead of boarding us by our boarding number, everyone just went through at the same time. We were then bussed to the plane and when we were let out, everyone had to suddenly board the plane in the back or the front and at the same time. People went to the opposite flight of stairs that they were closest to to get on the plane as soon as they got off the bus. This created a swarm of people going in opposite directions and crossing to get to the stairs closest to their seat instead of just getting on the plane by where they were. It created a very interesting and funny scene, but people still had to meet and cross in the aisle once they were on the plane.
I’ve realized while traveling to other countries where I don’t know the language, how much it really means to be able to communicate. When I’m in a country where I don’t know the language, I feel helpless and frustrated. I can still enjoy the country, but it just makes things more difficult. And it does help that my native language is English because I don’t need to learn that just to communicate to people in other countries. But it definitely makes a difference when you know the language or at least a little bit. When I’m in a country where I can’t speak the language, I find myself wanting to say things in German to get my meaning across. Which is kind of weird but cool at the same time. For example, I wanted to say “yes” to someone who was waiting on me today in Italy, but instead I said “ja.”