Culture shock is often discussed when people consider moving abroad. Differences between home and destination country cultures can be confusing and difficult to navigate and the radical change in lifestyle can be harder than you might have imagined. Yet one of the best ways of preparing for ‘culture shock’ is by working on your cultural awareness – something which is less debated but in reality much more important for the success of your expat life long term.
Cultural awareness can be prepared for in advance but it is, above all else, something which is actively practised. Reading about your destination country before you go, especially advice from other expats, can give you a really good understanding of where you’re moving to, but once you’re there, remember to observe, ask questions politely and avoid making assumptions about the way people should or will behave.
This is a preview of The Everyday Expat: Understanding Cultural Awareness.
Our last day in Berlin, we took my husband’s mom to the Eastside Gallery. She’s an artist, so we figured she’d love the murals painted on old sections of the Berlin Wall. It’s another way Berliners have turned ugly history into something positive.
Photo courtesy Beginnings in Bayern
During the Cold War, people in West Berlin drew graffiti on their side of the wall, and when the wall came down, artists joined together to create an international memorial for freedom by painting murals on remaining parts of the wall. The Eastside Gallery is one of the world’s largest open air galleries, but it’s had its share of problems. Just this year a developer for luxury apartments destroyed part of the wall to begin construction despite protests, and every year the wall is further damaged by weather and vandalism.
This is a preview of Take a Look: Berlin’s Eastside Gallery.
Well, today is the big day. Germany is in the World Cup Final. I have to say that the general games have been very irritating for me. So to watch Brazil get thrashed felt wonderful. The South American teams “football” attempts have been full of “falls”, “stumbles” and “injuries”. Their exit of the World Cup showed that actually playing as a team and by the rules is the way to victory and it made me want to support Germany. I know, I know, I never thought I’d say it. I feel like my British passport will be revoked or I won’t be let back in at customs, but Germany played amazingly and it was a pleasure to watch the match.
This is a preview of World Cup Blog: Germany in the World Cup Final.
Blick auf Corvey von der Weser aus (c) Kulturkreis Höxter-Corvey gGmbH Sigurd Elert
Corvey has been added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site list and to celebrate we have some lovely pictures of the castle and Westwerk to share with you. As we reported last week, “The committee stated that the Carolingian westwork and the Civitas Corvey from the Early Middle Ages stood testimony to the abbey’s extraordinary universal value. The westwork in Höxter, in North Rhine-Westphalia, is the only surviving example from Carolingian days and combines quite exceptionally Carolingian architecture with models from Classical Antiquity to create a veritable artwork, the committee found. Moreover, the imperial abbey was an intellectual, religious and political centre in France at the time, and played a decisive role in Europe. The Benedictine monastery was founded in 822 by the ruling Carolingian dynasty. The monastery, along with its school and library, was one of the key institutions teaching Christian culture in the Middle Ages. The westwork was built between 873 and 885 and decisively shaped Occidental architecture. To this day, the mythological figures that reference Classical Antiquity remain a special feature–the fathers of the Church integrated the images into the Christian world view.”
This is a preview of Words on Wednesday (And Pictures): Corvey.
Today is Indepence Day in America. But meh, we’re in Germany, so we’ve got other things to think about. Particularly the World Cup. We cover the World Cup enough during the week, so you can be assured that this week’s Week in Germany post will be a soccer-free zone for now. So what’s been up in Germany around the blogosphere this week?
Autobahn survival tips from Lehrerwerkstatt
This is a preview of The Week in Germany: Food, Fun, and Absolutely No Football.
German culture meets Brazilian culture. Photo copyright dpa
Living in Germany, I’ve been observing how German football fans here in Tübingen are collectively responding to the World Cup. Here follow some fieldnotes:
1) Football inspires a passion in Germans that you would never foresee, if you have etched in your mind a stereotype of German sensibility and level-headedness. They are mad for it – but most interesting to note is that more of them are mad for it than you might ever have guessed previously. All this time, some of the Germans you know have been hiding behind a calm façade a frenzied fan. This is the central truth which gives rise to a few more:
This is a preview of World Cup Blog: Watching the Cup From Germany.