More than a year in Deutschland, it has been an amazing experience both personally and academically.
While I miss and remember a lot of things back home, there are lot of things here that pleases and surprises me as well.
Note that, these are the descriptions of my personal experiences and observations which are obviously subject to different opinions. So here it goes….
- Taking Public Transport
Accepted the fact that public transport is pretty costly when compared to India, but the facilities such as train speeding at 150 mph and mostly on time are quite rewarding. Always be patient and maintain a descent distance while getting in or out of trains or buses. These are the general etiquette followed in Deutschland. Also if you are a student, in most cases you are given a semester ticket to travel with public transport.
- Obey Traffic Rules While Crossing Roads
This is known globally to STOP when the traffic light turns red but in Germany even if there is no car in the vicinity, it still means STOP. If you do not obey it, you will be yelled at. This seems too strict but sometimes a few do oversee red lights and cross the roads. Notably, in most traffic signals, you would need to press the yellow button in order to make the signal turn green.
- No Honking!
For initial days you will feel that German Automobile companies just forgot to mount a horn in the vehicles. Stand by the roads and you can only admire how Germans drive. The cars ought to stop three feet behind the preceding vehicle. A close German acquaintance of mine said, honking unless too necessary is an offence. It is just amazing and surprising how they drive at very fast speed and still do it without honking.
- Noble Gestures at Zebra Crossings
If you happen to stand at one end of street waiting to cross at zebra crossing, the passing by vehicle would stop way behind the zebra crossing and give a smiling nod to pass. For a moment you feel proud and happy for the kind gesture and treatment. Similarly, avoid crossing roads unless on zebra crossing. Note to avoid walking on lanes marked with bicycle symbol.
- When You are asked to be at 12, be There at 5 Minutes to 12
For Germans, punctuality is top priority. To be in their good books, one thing you must do is to be always punctual. Not only with Germans, but anyone and everyone here in Germany tries to be punctual. If you are expected to arrive at 12, it is advice to be there by 5 minutes to 12. As everyone say, this is German definition of PUNCTUALITY!
- Try to Keep Your Voice Low
You got it Right! As Indians, it is quite unusual to think about it at all but here if you talk too loud over phone in public areas, people will give awkward stares and even can ask you to shut up. Usually everywhere in Germany, it is less crowded and you should try to speak gently. You do have an exception, maybe on a late night weekend party you drank and start shouting which could be taken in a wicked humor and is subject to ignorance but again it is advised to avoid such situations.
- Winter Never Ends in Germany. Be Prepared for Rains at Anytime!
The moment you land in Germany and walk out of the airport, you will feel like someone has turned on Air Conditioning and it is set at horribly low temperature, for those travelling internationally for the first time it’s thrilling moment. The summers sometimes warm up to 25 degrees midday, but come the night, it is 13 again. The sun shines, the sun shines not, the next moment it’s raining, ten minutes on its not. Keep a spare jacket in your bag pack. Climate is unpredictable most times. Advisable to check weather forecast before you leave home.
- Practice Paying Change, If not Wear Pants with Big Pockets
Every currency in Germany lesser than 5 Euros comes in coin form only. The denominations come in 1, 2, 5, 10, 20 & 50 cents and 1 & 2 Euros. If you run a bill of 1.58 Euros, you will end up getting three coins. Eventually the coins pile up. It is advised to keep a piggy bank and you will be amazed to see how much you save by the end of a month. There is a 200 euro note too unlike India.
- Do not Freak Out at Prices!
Stop multiplying every Euro you spend with 70! You’ll freak out paying €1.5 for a burger that would cost Rs. 35 in India or pay 50 cents to use restroom at stations. Take a chill! Soon you’ll get used to it. While cost of living is still way higher than it is in India, you can’t help but get along with it.
- The Working Hours are Quite Less!
If it is a Saturday, buy all the stuff you will need for Sunday. Sunday is a curfew. Except for restaurants and overly priced gas stations, don’t expect anything to be open. Even frequency of public transport like buses is very limited. Check the schedule before you leave home on holidays, chances are you may not get ride back home if you hangout late. Even though Germans work for less number of hours than any other countries, the productivity is way higher.
So that is it! Please leave behind any of the points that you feel are important and I have missed out on! I would make sure to address them. I would love to listen from you what you feel about this blog.
Read out some more interesting things about Germany Here.