Let’s say you go to Germany. Here are the things you shouldn’t do.
Break the rules or look for shortcuts: Germans are known to be very fond of rules and children. In Germany, there are rules for everything and they like to follow them in a way that we are not used to. (Did I mention that they have different rules for folding different sizes of paper? ) They believe that there is a reason for every rule and they don’t like people who break the rules and go around the back, which we like to do ☺. In an exam paper review (Klausureinsicht), even if your answer is correct (if the method is wrong), it will be discussed whether the method used to arrive at this truth is in accordance with the rules. Remember! There is a protocol for everything. Follow the protocol.
Expect good food: It is a well-known fact that Germany is not famous for its cuisine. This may have something to do with the fact that Germans don’t really want variety in their dining experience. Although cheap, the food you will find in the university cafeterias (Mensa) may not be to your taste (are they so bad? Never! On the contrary, I think they make very good food, but tastes may differ) Off campus, depending on which city you live in, your town or city may have an abundance or limited choice of food from all over the world. When I say choice, don’t overestimate it, your typical choices are Doner Kebabs, Arabic cuisine, Vietnamese restaurants, some fusion Asian food and some good Italian restaurants. Other options are not very common and therefore a luxury to find. My son told me that during orientation week in Hanover, when he asked the German upperclassmen what do you eat when you go out, he got the answer “usually döner and occasionally falafel”.
I have to say that the portions are 2 or 2.5 times bigger than what you are used to. By the way, there is a widespread belief in Germany that döner actually originated in Berlin. In other words, it is considered a national food for Germans and is very popular. However, despite this common belief, “Döner” is actually a traditional Turkish delicacy. Another indication of this is that almost all of the restaurants where you can eat Doner Kebab in Germany are Turkish businesses. If you have never tasted Doner Kebab before, I can guarantee that you will love it.
Fear of speaking German: This is probably the most important one. German is “like Satan’s gift to mankind”, because there are many inexplicable rules, as I mentioned in the first point, and you have to accept them as they are. It takes time and hard work to master it, but the most important thing is the courage to speak.
However, Germans are completely civilized people and realize that their language is actually extremely difficult. Therefore, you won’t be ridiculed for not speaking it perfectly. If you make any mistakes, they will kindly offer to correct it for you (“only if you wish” They don’t want to offend or embarrass you). You can only learn to speak German gradually by trying it this way. “Übung macht den Meister”. Even if your language of instruction is English and “most Germans already speak English”, if you cannot speak German at least at B2 level, you are likely to have difficulties finding a job after graduatio
Waiting to graduate on time: Don’t get me wrong, graduating on time is a great thing, I know a lot of people who do it, but for German students it has become a minor factor for two reasons: 1) there are no tuition fees anyway, so you have nothing to lose and 2) the system is not designed to do that. German students are expected to take the time to really understand what they want, where they want to specialize and what they have to offer before they enter the job market after graduation. While in other countries and in Turkey, not graduating on time often means failure or shame, in Germany it can even be seen as a plus point as long as you have a good reason for it. For example: getting involved in more university projects, having an exchange period (erasmus) or an internship.
In most cases, these three points are the ones that set you apart from other applicants when applying for a job. I am told that German companies prefer to hire students with practical experience or involvement in projects rather than students who finish their studies on time but never engage in distinctive activities and have nothing more to offer than a good GPA.
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