Time for going to school… in Germany!!

Today I present you some key facts about the German school characterization. The Grading system looks different to the US system. The German grading scale runs from 1 to 6, with one being the best grade and six the worst. Poor grades in several subjects can result in a student having to repeat an entire school year.

Grades

The German class schedule looks more like a college schedule because it is not the same every day. Some classes take place three times a week, while others are only two days a week. In comparison to the US having around 180 days school year, German students have to attend for 220 days in an academic year. Moreover German students only get a six week summer vacation, but they have more frequent vacation breaks during the school year. Also there are different school vacation dates across the country. In order to avoid massive traffic jams, German schools in the 16 states have a staggered vacation schedule that rotates each year. One year schools in Berlin may begin their summer vacation in June, while those in Bavaria begin in July. Another year it may be the reverse.

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Another difference to the US is the issue about school trips, that are often more ambitious and more extensive in Germany. A typical English class in Germany might have an annual trip by bus to London with their teachers for a week. Besides that having school busses in Germany is unusually. In most German cities and towns, pupils walk or use publich transportation to get to an from school.

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Time for enjoying sports… in the US… in Germany!!

Today I want to talk about differences in prefering sports. The popularity ranking of sports is very different between the USA and Germany. American Football is the most popular sport in America. Football is also the 9th Most Popular Sport all around the world. The biggest competition in the US is organized under National Football League(NFL).
Americans are not just watching the Football at their homes. Fans are coming by thousands to watch games on stadiums.In 2012 the NFL had an average attendance of 67,604 fans at each game, that is more than any other sport league in the world.

American-Football travel_nfl_dolphinstad_580

Baseball is the second most popular sport in the US. In America, there are two levels of Baseball Competition: minor league baseball and major league baseball (MLB)

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Basketball is the most popular sport in the US after Football & Baseball. The US Basketball’s Competitions are organized under National Basketball Association (NBA). In the NBA there is an average attendance of 14,000 fans per match.

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When looking to the German preference in sports, you have a completley different frame. With a total of 26,000 clubs and 178,000 teams the German soccer association (DFB) is the largest individual body in the German Olympic Sports Federation. The sport in Germany is financed by means of state funding and state contributions, voluntary service, private sponsors and membership fees. Soccer in Germany is the number one attended and practiced sport. Besides the national league, the Euro cup and the FIFA World Cup has much attention among its population. Germany’s top level soccer league, known as the Bundesliga, has the highest average attendance of any association soccer league in the world; among all professional sports leagues, its average attendance is second only to American Football’s NFL.

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Furthermore handball is a major team sport being played and watched in all of Germany. The German Handball Bundesliga is considered to be the most competitive professional league in the world. As a spectator sport it ranks popular in smaller cities around the country and draws attention comparable to other indoor sports such as ice hockey or basketball.

THW Kiel - Rhein-Neckar Löwen

Time for building friendship… in the US… in Germany!!

Today I’m talking about the differences of building friendships in the US and in Germany by focusing on formalities and informalities. Americans almost always address people they have just met or people they work with with their wirst name. They may not even know that person’s last name. That is completely different to Germany, because the Germans usually address people they have just met or people they work with with their last name. An American may be offended or at least surprised if addressed as “Mr. Smith” rather than “Jack”. In contrast the Germans may be offended if addressed as “Karl” rather than “Herr Schmidt”.

Moreover the English “you” is used for everyone, making no distinctions for social standing or levels of formality and informality. But the German language makes a distinction between the formal you (“Sie”) and the familiar you (“du”), which is very important to know for foreigners especially when doing business in Germany.

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Also the English word “friend” covers a much wider range of acquaintance levels than German word “Freund”, that implies a long, deep friendship, not a casual acquaintance. In German the words “friend” and “acquaintance” are never used interchangeably.

If someone asks an American what her/his name is, the reply will usually be the first name, Germans would reply with the last name. Concerning this case Americans are quick to use first names and develop friendships. They may feel uncomfortable if familiarity is slow in coming, but Germans want to take their time before using first names and developing a close friendship.

Enjoying “Oktoberfest time”

Today it’s time for a special post for my blog. I’m going to present you the world’s biggest beer festival, the “OKTOBERFEST”. In 2010 the event in Munich celebrated its 200th birthday that takes place on a historic fairgrounds called Theresienwiese in the middle of the Bavarian capital city. The original Fest was the celebration of a Bavarian royal wedding in 1810. The Oktoberfest now attracts from five to six million visitors every year, many of them from outside Germany. Although it is called Oktoberfest, the 16-day event always begins in September and ends on the first Sunday in October. Every Oktoberfest begins with a parade led by the Munich mayor and the “Münchner Kindl” (Munich child, the city’s mascot, usually portrayed by a girl). Then comes the ceremonial tapping of the first beer keg at 12 noon. That honor goes to the mayor, who shouts out the traditional cry of “O’zapft is!” (“It is tapped!”) Only then can the beer start flowing and the festivities begin. oktoberfest-münchen-2014-bierfest-attraktionen-zelten1      Oktoberfest-2013-Eroeffnung      das-hofbräu-festzelt

The main attraction of Oktoberfest is its 13 elaborate beer tents plus the Weinzelt for wine-lovers, which are set up only during the two-week event. Yes, beer is king, but Oktoberfest is really an oversized state fair, with a carnival atmosphere and carnival rides. Ferris wheels, roller coasters, and other fair rides are a big part of Oktoberfest. There are about 80 ride attractions alone. Only Munich beer breweries are allowed to sponsor beer tents that actually look more like buildings from the front. The more popular Oktoberfest tents are booked up long before the events begin. The Hofbräu- Festzelt is the largest tent and popular with Americans and other foreigners, running by the famous Hofbräuhaus Also in the US the Oktoberfest is a popular event maybe because of the fact that almost 20 percent of Americans have German ancestry. Oktoberfest in the USA roughly follows the same calendar as the one in Germany, and includes lots of beer drinking, oompah bands, and gobbling down German food like bratwurst and knockwurst. The most popular places to celebrate Oktoberfest across the USA are Cincinnati, where the largest Oktoberfest in the United States is hold, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Los Angeles or Washington DC.

Time for having dinner… in the US… in Germany!!

Today, I give you some inside facts about the differences in having dinner in the US and in Germany. The first difference occurs when you enter a restaurant. In the US it is common to wait to be seated by host/hostess. In contrast in Germany you can choose a seat yourself. Getting an automatic glass of water, which is common in the US, is unusually in Germany. Besides all of soft drinks are served with lots of ice in the US. Most of Germans do not like having ice in soft drink, which is the reason why soft drinks usually served without ice in Germany.

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Another difference is the way of giving the tip. In the US the tip is left on the table or added to credit card bill, in comparison to Germany where the Tip is given directly to food- server and credit cards are not always accepted. In the US there are many kinds of international cuisine and restaurant available in contrast to Germany where can be found more limited selection of world cuisine, especially Asian, Indian, Greek and Italian restaurants are very widespread. Furthermore a food- server in an US restaurant will gladly put leftovers in a box to take home, which is less common in Germany. Concerning the fast food, Germans like to eat “Turkish Doner Kabap” a sort of shish kebab in pita bread, which is one of the widespread fast foods in Germany along McDonald’s, Burger King and Subway. In the US there can be found a vast choice of fast foods, such as Tacobell, Wendys, Dunkin Donuts, Denny’s as well as McDonald’s and Burger King. In general for a German it would be an experience having dinner in an US restaurant. The same applies for an American having a dinner in a German restaurant.

Time for enjoying a beer… in the US… in Germany!!

Especially during this time the Germans enjoy a lot of beer because of the Oktoberfest, but in general they like to drink their German branded beer. There are several kinds of beer brewed in Germany. In northern parts of Germany the beerbrand “Beck’s” brewed in Bremen is very popular. Particularly the different offered types of “Beck’s” such as “Beck’s Green Lemon” or “Beck’s Ice” are very popular with young Germans for going out.

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Besides the “Paulaner” beer brewed in Munich, the “Erdinger” beer brewed in Erdingen near to Munich or the “Krombacher” beer brewed in Krombach near to Cologne are the most favorite brands of beer for watching soccer games or having a BBQ in Germany. Especially the taste of “Paulaner” weiss beer is nonreversible for the Germans.

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Unfortunately, I just have found the normal type of “Beck’s” in the USA, and it was very hard to find a “Paulaner”, “Erdinger” or “Krombacher” in a grocery store. I noticed that different kinds of beer of the brand “Budweiser” brewed by Anheuser Busch in St. Louis, IL are drunk by especially younger Americans while staying together with friends or just enjoying the evening. When trying some types of “Budweiser” beer, I noticed many differences in the taste comparison to German brands. I’m convinced Americans would like to drink “Paulaner” or “Krombacher” beer when having more possibilities to find it in grocery stores.

Time for driving… in the US… in Germany!!

Hello everybody,

today I will focus on the differences in driving between the USA and Germany. First of all there are a couple of reasons which make me feeling well living in Germany. In Germany, people are allowed to drive without a speed limit on some autobahn stretches. In contrast speed limits in the USA are posted everywhere on streets and highways, which sometimes makes people feeling boring while driving. Many Germans like to be allowed to drive their car as fast as they want.

       Germany                                                               USA

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Another difference exists concerning the visibility of highway patrol or “Autobahnpolizei”. In the USA, the highway patrol is highly visible and uses radar to catch speeders. Automatic radar cameras are not that common. The German “Autobahnpolizei” is less visible, but many automatic radar cameras also help catch speeders.

                        USA                                                           Germany

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Furthermore, the gasoline is relatively cheap in the USA including a low tax rate. The Germans are confronted with gasoline cost twice the US rate. Besides in the US, most cars have an automatic transmission. “Stick-shift”, manual- transmission cars are rare, which is completely different to Germany where most cars have a “stick-shift”, manual transmission. Automatic- shift cars are rare.

  USA                                                  Germany

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Finally the US citizen are allowed to start driving when becoming 16 years, but the license must be renewed periodically. In contrast the German driver license could be very expensive, probably up to 3,000 USD, but is good for whole life. A German guy is allowed to drive with 18 years but also has the possibility to drive with 17 years if parents join him.

All in all I ask myself very often why Americans especially in the Palm Beach area spent much money for getting cars such as Porsche or Mercedes, because of the strict speed limit regulation in the USA. Probably it is just useful for having a status symbol. Besides during my first time in the USA I was very surprised about the number of street lines. In Germany the “Autobahn” consists usually of three lines, in contrast to the USA where I noticed sometimes four or five lines but also in cities. By finding a reason for this issue, I thought about the size of cars, which will be the topic for my next post in some days…