While on my year abroad in Germany, I’ve taken it upon myself to discover just whether the (largely less-than-favourable) German stereotypes held by most Brits do in fact prevail.
However, I've also been discovering just exactly what the Germans this of us - well, I've asked the teenagers at school anyway - with, um, interesting results...
As I psyched myself up for six months of sausages (mmm), I wondered: would the Germans really be as blunt as I’d been warned? Would I be arrested if I crossed the road before the green man appeared? And was I about to embark on a new life devoid of humour?
All has been revealed, and it’s safe to say not every stereotype has proven true, thankfully. No-one’s been rude (bar one Bavarian waitress), I have witnessed crime scenes in the form of German pedestrians breaking the law (yes, really) and impatiently crossing the road too early *gasp*, and they do make jokes, even if sarcasm doesn’t always go down well.
So, let’s assess some of the common German stereotypes in a clear, organised list (German life seems to be rubbing off on me already):
1. Germans are efficient and punctual – true and true. A colleague was once a whopping five minutes late to meet me and I thought something awful had happened. Germans aren’t late! Ever! It turned out he just couldn’t find a car parking space. Phew. I know.
|Love my local bakery so much I made a photo collage. Should probably get a life.|
4. They drink a lot of beer – so much beer! You may think you’re pretty hardcore spending hours in the Corrie Tap (one for the Bristolians among you), but until you’ve been to Oktoberfest in Munich, you know nothing. It’s mental. But awesome.
6. They don’t queue – we Brits find it hard to get our heads round this, but it’s true. Germans tend to just mosh. I'm going to again return to Oktoberfest as my example (it seems to have demonstrated every point so perfectly), as waiting to get into a tent for that was unlike anything I've ever experienced. Everyone just squished each other like sardines! Considering Germans are so orderly in every other aspect of life, I find the lack of queuing a little bizarre.
|Friendly restaurant sign|
|A casual shot from my ice-cream eating spot in Bayreuth|
Interestingly, my German friend actually told me most German people hate being called typically German, which I think is a real shame. It would seem a lot of the aforementioned stereotypes actually apply to, well, me! I am efficient and punctual (most of the time), I do love Wurst and I'll also wear my Dirndl at any opportunity. (Well, wouldn't you?)
So, I hope I’ve convinced you that Germany is more awesome than you might think, and whilst some stereotypes are true, others are worth taking with a pinch of salt. Well, this is what I personally have found - to be fair I've only been here a month and obviously haven't met every single German person in the world. That would just be stupid, GAWD!
I’d better wrap this up though – don’t want to be late to meet my new German friend for Wurst and beer while wearing a Dirndl…
You can find another version of this blog post in my student paper, Epigram, or read it online here.