Giddy Up Europe

Germany, Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Greece, Italy, Vatican, Monaco, Spain...

Friday, June 03, 2005

Cross-Cultural Competence

So I have been taking intro German and a cross-cultural competence class, whose attempt is to focus on differences in cultures and what the fundamental necessities or similarities are. It's been interesting and we've gone on some tours and we participate in a real German class that is taught in English every Tuesday. In my class there are about 15 summer students and 15 German students. The German students are generally international and come from all over the world. I am in a group to analyze Spain and we have to do a presentation. My group includes a guy from Cyprus and a girl from Turkey and they're both pretty cool. We went on an excursion to the Altes Schloss or Old Castle in Stuttgart where some of the royals hit it up back in the day.

This is a picture at the Altes Schloss from a balcony. If you loook up, you see two bulls that ram horns on the hour. Pretty sweet.

Here's a statue of Eberhard, who was the first duke of W├╝ttemburg (the state that Stuttgart is the capital of, and which is now Baden-W├╝ttemburg as two smaller states united). That's me, Canan from Turkey, and Laura.

I went walking around town by myself and here is a self-taken picture of Stuttgart's television transmission tower, which was the first of its kind in the world (built in 1954 - 1956). It's super hard to see, I know, and it was so hot out that day. If you look closely, you can make it out in the background.

Well, we are hiking around Esslingen today and then going to Strasbourg, France tomorrow, which should be tight. More updates after the weekend, but here is a list of things that our coordinator gave to us when we arrived. Experiencing German culture for 16 days and living with a host family, they generally hold true.

The ABC's of Staying in Germany
  • Building floors are numbered differently (there is a ground floor and the second floor is labeled the first, third the second, etc.)

  • Dogs and cats are important (and may be taken into restaurants and stores

  • Door knobs are often different (they are like latches)

  • Flowers are often taken on an "official" social visit (I saw some children bring their mother flowers when she got off the plane at the Stuttgart airport.)

  • Germans close room doors

  • Germans like to have flower and vegetable gardens (My host father has a small gardening business, so there are plants everywhere.)

  • Germans love Americans who try to speak German

  • Germans love mineral water (Water is not free at restaurants and there are different levels of mineral bottled water. You have to specifically ask for still water as most Germans enjoy the taste of mineral water, which is rather bitter.)

  • Germans pull shades (One of the first things my host mother told me about was how I could pull down the shades at night.)

  • Meals are social events (My host family sits around the table and waits for everyone to begin and the meal will last at least an hour or two, where the family talks and jokes.)

  • Hot meal at noontime - cold cuts and bread in the evening (Bread, cheese, and cold cuts are important to German diets.)

  • Meeting people means shaking hands

  • No free water or water fountains (Though there are a few plaza fountains which are safe to drink from as water quality in Stuttgart is excellent.)

  • No ice in soft drinks (But who needs it when you have beer.)

  • No refills for pops or coffe in restaurants

  • Not every bathroom has a toilet as well (Toilets are generally separate from the wash room and shower.)

  • Shopping hours on Saturdays (There are reduced hours on Saturdays and stores do not open on Sundays, sorry girls.)

  • Strangers can share a table in a restaurant

  • Students have political opinions and voice them (There is a sit in at the university because of a proposed 500 euro (about $625) tuition fee per term. Until now, the university is free for all students.)

  • Sunday is a family day (It is not uncommon for families to go for a walk in the forest after lunch on Sunday, as Stuttgart is beautifully carved into the landscape and is surrounded by rolling hills on three sides.)

  • You may encounter a different level of hygiene (Germans used to only shower once a week, but its getting better.)

  • They have small refrigerators

  • Women may not shave (This mostly applies to the older generation. Younger girls are not all about the fluff.)

  • You often have to pay in public restrooms (This is semi-legal and semi-illegal.)

  • Restroom attendants

  • Young people seem more mature for their age (Definitely true, my host family children, ranging in age from 12 to 18 have fairly adult conversations with me.)

  • I am spending about 12 - 14 euros per day on food, drinks, and sightseeing. Peaces.


    Post a Comment

    << Home