1. Learning German
It’s true that most Germans can speak English fluently and you can get by with it just fine doing day to day things like shopping, but if you are looking to build relationships with people, you need to work on conversing in their native language. While they can hold a conversation in English, people will of course prefer to speak in their own language as there are less limitations to their knowledge and therefore the conversation flows more freely. Also being a foreigner fluent in German will surely make a memorable impression!
2. Cash only
Going to your favourite stores or cafes in Germany and expecting to be able to pay everywhere with a credit card is just not realistic. Bundersbank, Germany’s central bank conducted a study where they found that 3 out of 4 payment transactions in Germany are settled with cash. So always keep a few euros in your pocket just to be safe.
3. Punctuality is extremely important
Germans are famous for their punctuality, so much in fact, that they say you can set your clocks by them! And if you want to make friends there and truly be a working part of their society you will have to follow the same example. The general rule of thumb is 5 minutes early is better than 1 minute late, so if being timely isn’t your strong suit better leave 10 minutes early or you might make some people very mad.
4. Valued employees
In Germany employees are highly valued, which shows in more and better worker’s rights than in America for example. Workers have a lot of organizations protecting their rights and making sure no abuse will ever be tolerated. There are a lot of benifits too, for instance German law requires that workers be paid 100% of their salary on their sick days.
5. Do NOT go into the office sick
While in some places it may be considered admirable to push through your pain and still go to work sick, the only thing your will get in a German office are side glances, passive agressive tone and people avoiding your for dear life trying not to catch your cold. So take a sick day and curl up in bed – everyone will be thankful, especially your body.
6. A love for rules
Rules are made to be followed! And in Germany they are followed religiously. In some countries light rulebreaking is widely accepted – for example jaywalk in Spain and nobody bats an eye, but do the same in Germany and you will get more dirty looks than you can count and even some scoldings (accompannied by a hefty ticket if the scoldings are done by the police).
7. Cities made for biking
Your cheapest means of thansport is your bike and you can really take advantage of that in Germany. Nearly all roads have a specially designed lane for bikes and thanks to that you will see cyclists everywhere. Getting around town has never been easier and it’s good for you!
8. Shops are closed on Sundays
Yes that’s right, most of all shops are closed on Sundays, in fact being open on the last day of the week used to be illegal from 1919 until 2006, when when the issue of opening hours was placed in the hands of the state rather than being managed at the federal level. Nowadays there are emerging small corner shops – known as ‘Spätkaufstellen’ or ‘Spätis’ that are open on Sundays but dont count on finding them everywhere.
9. International cuisine
If you ever get a craving for your home cooking youre in luck – there is a good change you can find a restaurant that serves it! Restaurants with international cooking are extremely popular, you can easily find Italian, Chinese or Turkish food and American burgers are all the rage right now. Even if you can’t find your favorite international cuisine, there are specialty food shops and international supermarkets where you can find all your heart desires.