Wednesday 2 January 2008

Cultural Shock

At the beginning it was very difficult for me to live in Germany. I could not speak German. I had to learn German intensively. Although most of the Germans can speak English, they wanted to communicate with me in German. Their argument was that I live in Germany and I have to learn and try to speak German. It was not easy for me at the beginning. My idea was so; I need to communicate with the language that I can understand.. In this way I can learn their culture and I can build up understanding among people. At the beginning English is more easy for me to communicate. With my very little German skill, there can be misunderstanding. But they like such a kind of integration. So I have to follow. At that time when I met somebody who could speak English, I was very happy and talkative.

Germans are not easy to make a friendship. I have not many German friends. In Myanmar we are happy to help the stranger, easy to go out together, easy to come and visit each other. Here I miss such a kind of warm welcome. To visit to somebody you need an appointment or invitation. Here most of my friends are foreigners.

Thomas helps and supports me a lot. He brought me to many Asian meetings. Now I have contact with Indonesian Group in Freiburg. They are nice and I can join their meetings and festivals. I have also a closed friend. She came from Philippine. Her name is Lynn.

Here in Germany there are about 30 Television Channels (what I can get in my house). Among them I can listen in English only from CNN. Other channels are all in German. I have to watch whether I understand or not. Two weeks after I arrived in Germany, We went to Holland, where Thomas's mother came from. In Holland I felt more happy than in Germany. The reason was that in Holland people are ready to communicate with the Foreigner in English, for example; in Cafe or Supermarket. Their T.V. Program could change my loneliness. They broadcast with original language with Dutch text. So I could understand more. At that time I told Thomas that I wanted to stay in Holland. Here in Germany I feel that I live on the German Island.

Myanmar and German are different eating habit. We like to eat at least four times a day. We are always busy with cooking. They cook only for one meal. They can live on bread. At the beginning I felt hungry and thought that they are stingy. I had to remain Thomas that I am hungry and need to eat something. I like to eat Monhingar or Htaminkyaw for breakfast. They like to eat bread or Müsli. I like Ngapi and garlic. They like cheese and sausage. I like fish. They like meat........

German people are curious. They are eager to find out details. At the beginning I felt that I was sitting in the interview-room. They asked me many things about me, about my country, about everything. For some topic I did not even know in details. They like discussion.

They are easy to talk about themselves. They want to show how good they are, how skilful they are, like this. Myanmar people are not like this. We do not want to talk about ourselves. We want to show it by doing. They want to be perfect. When somebody points out their fault, they are angry and they will give a lot of reason.

They are proud for themselves as a German. They do not respect to the foreigner. They asked me even that "Did you come here because of hungry?"They asked me often "Do you have work?". When I say "Yes", they asked me again "Are you working as a cleaner?".

In the television, they show about other countries, where people are poor and problems.

Now I stay in Germany for 9 years. In between I have learned many things and I know how to deal with the German. But I still have problems.

Above mentioned facts are only from my experience. If you are not agreeable with me, just leave it.

If you have something more to add, please add it. Thanks....