This month we kick off the first in a series where we will feature a different expat blog interview each month.
Each interview will be either a German blogger living abroad and looking in on what makes their home country tick, and reflecting on what they have gained from their expat experience. Or we will talk to foreigners living as expats here in Germany and sharing what they have learned from living here, and giving any advice or tips they have picked up to help others on their journey.
So, without any further ado, let’s introduce our first expat blog interview guest:
Katharina, originally from Munich, who moved to Chicago just over a year ago.
Expat Blog Interview: Katharina, From Munich To Chicago
So, Katharina, what were the biggest culture shocks for you as a German living in the States?
I was very surprised that our cultures are so different from each other. I was living in Taiwan, for example, and I expected to have a culture crisis there. I mean, I can’t speak the language, the food and culture are different, so I prepared for that. But when we decided to move to the States I thought “Oh, this will be easy”, I can speak English. I was raised by American television, movies, songs, I was already doing negotiations with some Americans, so I wasn’t expecting to have that culture shock.
But when I came here I was really surprised to find out that there is a huge difference in culture. For me, somehow even more of a difference than in Asia, because in Asia the differences were obvious, but here we are so much more different than I thought at the beginning.
In what regard?
In the end, for me, it comes down to how the society communicates. It’s kind of superficial but of course also really friendly. When you talk to people you have the best time ever, you ask each other “how are you?” and “do you need help, do you want a cup of coffee?”. They’re so welcoming in embracing you into their friendship. But then a week later you find out that wasn’t a promise, it was just chit chat, friendly small talk. With Germans when you say “let’s go for a cup of coffee”, then you say that because you want to. I’m not being friendly, I just want to meet. But here it’s more about appearing friendly and wanting to seem helpful.