PLEASE NOTE:

MyNews24 is a user-generated section of News24.com. The stories here come from users.

 
Johan Schoeman
 
Comments: 36
Article views: 4
 
 
Latest Badges:
 
 

Making it work in Germany

19 November 2010, 11:58  - Johan Schoeman
I spent 10 years living and working in Germany. I lived in Hamburg in the north, Frankfurt in the centre, near Munchen in the south, as well as Dusseldorf in the west. I speak a passable German - and that is the key to a successful stay in Germany. If you do not speak the lingo you will be regarded as a foreigner, and you will perceive the Germans to be stuck up and unfriendly.

The average German is fairly hard working, friendly and helpful. They are mostly very law abiding and love to travel - even if only in Germany. The younger generation are mostly all able to speak English.

However, there is a new nationalist pride taking place with even government ministers insisting on foreign reporters asking questions in German. If you have been in the country for a year or more, they will expect you to be able to speak German.
 
There is a definitive anti-foreigner feeling prevalent in Germany. They are having serious issues with the Turkish population and this is fuelling this attitude. When applying for or renewing a work permit, I was treated fairly badly, unsympathetic and always made aware that I was not very welcome in the country. There are several reasons for this, and luckily I found it mostly when dealing with the relevant government institutions. Funnily enough, I was treated the worst by public servants with foreign surnames - Polish, Russian, etc.
 
Festival lovers

Children are taught the rules of the road at a very early age, and they even get a "licence" issued by the local traffic department when they pass the test on their tricycles. At high school they start having driving lessons (most schools have a car dedicated for that) and they need to study a really thick manual before writing the test. They even learn about the hydraulic systems etc in vehicles.

Once they are let loose on the roads, they have had a very good theoretical as well as practical experience. The low number of accidents in a country where you are allowed to drive as fast as you want on certain stretches of the Autobahn proves that. They do not take kindly to a nervous visitor hugging the wrong lane on the Autobahn - they will flash and were it possible to drive over you - they would.
 
They love a festival. There is at least one going on fairly close to where you are anywhere in Germany. Unfortunately they are all the same. If you visit them regularly you will even start recognising the same people selling the same rubbish.
 
The food and beer is excellent all over the country. Not once did I feel ripped off anywhere in any restaurant. You tend to spend a lot of time in restaurants as a visit to a German home is a rare one. Only when you have been accepted by the Germans as "one of them" will you be invited.
 
Once you start making friends (this takes a while though) and they open up to you, you learn some interesting unknown facts about the Germans. One issue I found quite strange is their total acceptance of nudity. They are very fond of a Bad. A lot of German towns are named after a hot spring eg Bad, Homburg.

Naked

The Germans have built spas at each and every hot spring and it is extremely popular. Inside the spa (or wellness centre) you have several pools, saunas, tanning tables, feet spas, Jacuzzi and of course a bar. But once you enter, each and every person is stark naked. It is quite common for families to go together, so you see Gramps and Grandma, followed by son and daughter-in-law, followed by the kids - all starkers! Imagine taking your mother-in-law to a spa, and spending the afternoon in her company - butt naked!

At the club where I played squash, there was one room with showers, and one sauna - all for everybody to enjoy together. So after playing a game with a female partner - you go and shower together, as well as sauna together. Very strange and very, very unnerving for Americans, who must be the biggest prudes on the planet.
 
Anyway, I miss Germany as well as the Germans with all their faults. I like a country where people tend to obey the law and are tidy, honest and mostly hard working. As in every country on this planet you will find criminals and drunken youths with no manners. But overall it is one of the better countries to live in.

- Are you a South African living abroad interested in sharing your views? What is it like for a South African living in a foreign country or how do you view South Africa from a distance? Send us your columns to feedback@news24.com and you might get published in our new Beyond Borders section.

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.


Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.

 

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
36 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Chad Lingard
Be careful what you wish for

In a country that was formed out of protest action, mobilised by great demonstrations and inspired by immense speeches, why are we so seemingly desperate to give it all up again? Read more...

0 comments 252 views
Submitted by
erneyb
The call for SA to unite is unful...

The frequent call from President Zuma and Deputy President Ramaphosa for South Africans to unite is commendable and morally just. Read more...

0 comments 186 views
Submitted by
Ken Davie
Is Zuma really to blame?

President Jacob Zuma’s efforts to avoid his day in court and avoid a state capture commission of enquiry, suggests that the accusations made are not without foundation. Is the responsibility for the situation solely that of Jacob Zuma? Read more...

0 comments 212 views
Submitted by
Daniel Sutherland
ZANC - A pyramid scheme

That Z stands for Zuma ANC. It's a gangster's paradise. Its a gold rush. But pyramid schemes normally collapse. Read more...

0 comments 358 views
Submitted by
Philip De Kock248
Commanding heights carry influenc...

Throughout the decades, and even in South Africa, this reference to the commanding heights became almost synonymous with the socialist and populist project. I think I have even heard Malema on occasion referring to the need to get control of the “heights”. Read more...

0 comments 102 views
Submitted by
Johann Cornelius
What world leaders say about Cast...

Although it is human nature to remember the good someone did after their death, you would expect world leaders to say something about Castro killing an estimated 100 000 of his citizens during his 60 year reign of terror.  Read more...

0 comments 1594 views
 

services

E-mail Alerts The latest headlines in your inbox

RSS feeds News delivered really simply.

Mobile News24 on your mobile or PDA

E-mail Newsletters You choose what you want

News24 on Android Get the latest from News24 on your Android device.

SMS Alerts Get breaking news stories via SMS.

TV Get us in your home, on your television.

 
Interactive Advertising Bureau
 
© 2016 24.com. All rights reserved.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.