Gregory Dechant: Please Stop Yelling At Me
My Uncle likes to quip that there is “friendly” and then there is “German friendly” and you’ll KNOW when they are being rude. This is very true. People want to get stuff done. There is no small talk, they just want to get stuff done and move on. If you ask someone in a store if they speak English, they will either say “a little” which really means yes they can, or just say no, point at a coworker and walk away. They got shit to do and holding your hand while you both puzzle the exchange out is not in their job description. And don’t bring your half learned German into their life either, they don’t have time to teach you German, either speak at a quality and speed they are comfortable at, or talk to someone who knows English. A stark contrast from my first person in Madrid: little English but with a big smile he was happy to give a game of charades with massive arm gestures in a tiny store where I am surprised nothing got knocked over. I’m pretty sure he had more English than claimed and was just having fun. I Germany Fun is not in the job description.
The abrupt and direct behavior requires some getting used to. Having been to Germany once before I was prepared, but after 3 months of the exchanges it can be exhausting and like I said they have no patients to help you learn. There are people who have lived in Berlin for years with basically no German skills. The only way to do it is take the classes, find a tandem partner and practice. Something I did not have the time for and the course schedules did not meet up with my program (private courses were around 200 euros which was out of my budget).
Gregory Dechant is a business student at Capilano University. Greg studied abroad at SRH Hochschule Berlin in Germany.