Compare and Contrast Germany and America
Europeans and Americans have much more in common than most people think, making adjustments to life in a new country easier. Many customs are similar to practices in the United States. Germans have their own way of being German. Germany is a relatively small and densely populated country. Unlike the United States, which is a large, densely populated country.
The greatest shock to Americans is the speed at which Germans drive. The roads and freeways are quite narrow. Speed limits in cities are strictly enforced, but on much of the Autobahn there is no limit on how fast drivers can go. Although it is against the law, impatient Germans may also ...view middle of the document...
It's usual to greet others when walking into a waiting room, small business or train compartment. A simple Guten Tag or, in southern Germany, Gruess Gott, is in order. Germans are also avid hand-shakers. Not only do they shake hands when meeting someone for the first time, but at every meeting thereafter. Upon arrival at small parties and gatherings, it is not unusual to greet everyone individually, with a handshake - and then make the round again when you leave. Never have a hand in your pocket when shaking hands and always make eye contact.
Germans are quite reserved and usually won't take the initiative to meet someone unless it's necessary, especially if they notice you are American and their English is rusty or nonexistent. Germans expect Americans friendly, so it's a good idea for you to take the initiative and introduce yourself. Every little bit of German you learn helps. Germans and all Europeans appreciate Americans who are trying to learn their language.
When you're invited to a German home, it is customary to bring a gift. The safest tokens of appreciation are bottled, either wine or spirits. If you choose to bring flowers, don't pick red roses - unless you're in love with the host - and always unwrap the florist's paper before handing over the bouquet.
Even in inclimate weather, Germans love to take long walks and work in their gardens. They are firm believers in the benefits of breathing fresh air and staying active. Which is a good thing since the main ingredients in their diet are fat and alcohol. Germans have well-kept public swimming pools called schwimbads, that are reasonably priced and very popular. Germans also regularly air out their homes and bedding. It is not unusual to see open windows with blankets and feather comforters hanging out of them. Another familiar sight is men or women leaning out their windows watching the world go by. They're not being nosy - they're enjoying a bit of fresh air. In the summer, outdoor cafes and beer gardens are packed. Beer gardens are often located outside of town, in shady park-like areas or in the woods. Germans often take walks through town when all the stores are closed, or hike in the forest, stopping for a leisurely drink at an outdoor cafe or outdoor pub along the way.
In America we wait to be seated, even at pizza hut and we would never think of sharing a table with a stranger; in Germany the traditions on this are totally different. It isn't customary to be seated by a host in many eating establishments in Germany. Often guests sit down at any unoccupied table or, after asking permission of those seated there, at an occupied table. Sharing tables with total strangers is common, especially in the South. Watch out, though, for tables with a Reserviert sign or those labeled Stammtisch, which are reserved for regulars. You won't automatically get a glass of water when you sit down. In fact, you should order something to drink, because 10 percent of the charge for...