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Every beginning is difficult - Take two

Language and clichés

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Read this article in: Català, Deutsch, English, Español

Estimated reading time:6minutes

Hello again! Our "immigrants" series continues. Today is primarily about German clichés and the language. What has all of this to do with Poles in spring, lack of humor and, of course, beer? Read it here!

Read the first part here!

When in Rome, do as the Romans do. So: 

“Cultural shock” - Yes? No? Why?

  • Felipe: I never would have thought that Germany is so multicultural. My idea of Germany was kind of different back then.
  • Kasia: I noticed a lot of differences, but I didn’t experience a culture shock. 
  • Wilgen: Not anymore! In the beginning, I was shocked when I heard that everyone goes into the sauna naked.  I know there’s nothing wrong with that, but I can’t imagine going into the sauna naked. In Brazil, we wear Bikinis - maybe they are tight but we are not naked. I asked my husband not to go anymore. That’s a reason for divorce!
  • Julia: I noticed that there are significant differences compared to Russia, but I wouldn’t call it a cultural shock. 
  • Michelle: Not really, I got that over with in Switzerland (at that time I found the cold hard to bear). The Germans seemed to be more open-minded than the Swiss, which was good, but apart from that, nothing really changed. 
  • Maria: Yes, a little bit hahah! Compared to Spain, the schedules in Germany are stricter and if you have a way of working, it is hard to change it. On the one hand, that’s good because the Germans are consistent and dutiful, but on the other hand, it’s better sometimes to leave the routine behind and be more creative. I think Spaniards need more discipline. The perfect way would be to find the balance between Germany and Spain ;)

Trick question! Do not mess with the Germans! ;-) 

German food is…?

  • Felipe: Pizza, potatoes, beer and sausage. 
  • Kasia: … delicious when it’s well made! Unfortunately like Polish food, it’s too hearty to eat every day.
  • Wilgen: I love Knödel with duck breast and red cabbage. At first, I wasn’t able to eat brown bread, the smell reminded me of dog food. Today, I like eating “dog food”. Everything is a matter of habit. I missed the food in Brazil: Rice, beans, steamed vegetables, meat. In Germany, you get everything, but in the beginning I couldn’t find the right kind of rice and afterwards, I couldn’t handle the electric stove. Every day, something burned was served.
  • Julia:  Sausage, beer, pretzel, schnitzel and kebab haha
  • Michelle: Maybe that’s the only thing I regularly miss about Mexico. Not that German food is bad, you just can’t compare it to tacos and so on … haha sorry Germany. 
  • Maria: Potatoes and sausage ;)

Sauerkraut, lederhosen and sandals with socks - bring out the clichés! 

“Typically German” - What comes to your mind?

  • Felipe: Never cross against the red light, planning everything in advance, being angry about everything, cutting in line at the supermarket when a new cash register opens. 
  • Kasia: Volkswagen, Goethe, Merkel, lederhosen.
  • Wilgen: Germany is technologically, scientifically and literarily highly developed. At first, the people are very reserved, but cordial and very helpful. In Brazil, you make new friends pretty fast, but you also lose them just as fast. The Germans have a plan for everything, everything has to be planned in advance. The Germans like flowers and gardens, doing sports, being in a club and travelling. 
  • Julia: Always having a plan for everything. Reserved and humorless. They think about everything here: Health, safety, culture, education ...
  • Michelle: Beer - sausages - potatoes - Angela Merkel - ICE train - taxes for everything - insurances for everything - socially committed people. 
  • Maria: Someone really angry haha.   

German language - difficult language? 

How did you learn German? What was the hardest part?

  • Felipe: I survived every level, from A1 to C2, and I have to say it’s not that hard to learn the language. I think it’s hard to understand the different dialects. Swabian and Kurpfälzisch are common here in Baden-Württemberg.
  • Kasia: I learned German in school, but sure, the fastest way to learn a language is being surrounded by it. I still mix up articles sometimes. 
  • Wilgen: I took a two-year German immersion course. Afterwards, I took a break and then I went to university. You never stop learning. Even today, I still blame the Poles for my pollen problems. “Spring comes, and with spring come the Poles”. My husband keeps saying: “Leave the poor Poles alone - they don’t have anything to do with that”. 
  • Julia: I started learning German back in school, then I studied linguistics in Russia for two years. German grammar is very logical and regular, but I still don’t get when you omit articles and when not. And of course, the pronunciation is hard for me. 
  • Michelle: I started learning it in Switzerland when I was eight. Back then and today, I think it’s difficult to find the right article for specific words and to distinguish when to use “den” or “dem”.
  • Maria: I started to learn German in October until December. It was my first time and it was so hard. I can say some words but I’m not able to maintain a good conversation yet. It’s difficult because it’s really different from Spanish, Catalan and English, but I want to learn this language!

Last but not least - an important subject: Time management. You often hear that the second hand governs time here. How did our immigrants experience this? 

German punctuality - How is it in your home country? What does scheduling look like in your home country? Are you planning in advance?

  • Felipe: You can’t paint everyone with the same brush, of course there are punctual and unpunctual people in every country. In Germany, people tend to be punctual. My motto is “Not everything should go according to plan”. Sometimes, spontaneity is better than a well-wrought plan. 
  • Kasia: Statistically speaking, Germans are more punctual and organized than Polish people. But there are exceptions on both sides ...
  • Wilgen: In Brazil, things are pretty spontaneous. You only plan marriages in advance. But we use the word “tomorrow”. If Brazilians say: I will do that tomorrow, it’s possible that they will. But it’s also possible that it will be postponed to the next day, and you don’t know, if and when it will be done. So tomorrow can mean yes, maybe and no at the same time. However, some things, I also plan in advance! 
  • Julia: Russians are very spontaneous, they don’t plan everything. In Russia, being 15 to 20 minutes late is normal. You can’t rely on public transportations like you can do it in Germany. 
  • Michelle: They always say Mexicans show up “fashionably late”. According to my parents, it is even rude to show up on time when you are invited to dinner for the first time. I think, people manage their time differently. I can also think of Germans who are neither especially  punctual nor plan a lot in advance. :D 
  • Maria: Haha good question! German punctuality surprises me. In Spain, such a thing doesn’t exist! In informal situations, people usually arrive late. We only mind when the event is formal or important. Maybe there is a relation between our way of living and punctuality ;)

The first weeks in Germany - emotions, thoughts and experiences. Now you know them. We thank our staff for sharing them with us! We unfortunately can’t tell you if the clichés can be confirmed - but we hope that’s not the case! Because we think we’re quite okay :-) 

Have a nice and sunny weekend. 

Your alugha team 




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