Category Archives: Clashes

Un-understandable Misunderstandings

One of the most challenging aspects of living abroad, I believe, comes not from loneliness or the struggle to fit in, but from the many clash encounters that will leave you mystified, long after you have returned home. Such encounters are the ones you experience where, despite your best efforts to make them positive, they […]

Of Humor and Heart

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Unsafe at Any Speed

Everyone knows about the no-speed limit autobahn in Germany, a favorite place for sport car owners the world over. The promise of limitless speed is so great, that some auto manufacturers, like BMW, will offer perks to take advantage of it, such as free shipping from Germany to the United States after a period of […]

Critical and Complimenting

Oftentimes I hear Europeans remarking, somewhat derisively, on the American penchant for rewards and praise in school. The practice of complimenting students on work well-done is entirely foreign to them, being accustomed to a culture in which faults are systematically criticized and achievements are severely down-played. To a European, it is extremely important not to […]

Respect and Understanding

One of the more fascinating bits of German culture which I picked up in my language courses is the difference in certain kinds of interpersonal communication between Americans and Germans. We were told, in particular, that Germans never beat around the bush when asked a direct question, but will always give (and expect) an answer […]