How to Prepare for an Exchange in Germany

How can I meet people abroad?
What do Germans think about Americans?
What is it like living in Germany?
Three of many questions addressed in this post about studying abroad in Germany for American students!

Dear readers,

Germany is a popular place for international students (from all over) to study because of the almost free university education. Many Masters programs are offered in English. Furthermore, Germany is known for its reliability, high-quality products and technological innovation. Therefore, many international students want to take up their studies here and make use of the prestigious and diverse programs offered at German universities. There may also be Erasmus students from other European countries or American students, who aren’t interested in completing their degree here but want to do an exchange. Germany is a popular tourist destination for Americans and is celebrated for its different but not too foreign culture.  I have collected some YouTube channels that have many videos about German people, culture, lifestyle, language and how things are in Germany. They should help you get to know Germany and the Germans better.

administration architecture berlin building
Photo by Ingo Joseph on Pexels.com

Getting to know Germany better before you decide to study here or before you take off on your journey will not only help to develop your intrapersonal perception of coming to Germany but it will also make you closer to being well-versed when it comes to dealing with differences between America and Germany. But before we begin by discussing some resources to aid your preparation, I want to emphasize the following:  “Preparing” allows you to burn off some stress before your trip  and maybe feel a little more confident and ready, but there are of course going to be some challenges that you simply can’t prepare for and some things may sound way more scary reading about them than how they will actually be when you are abroad and doing them yourself. So take a few ideas from here and there, try to prepare based on ideas from multiple people but ultimately, you just need to trust yourself and remain calm. I’ve already written three other posts on the topic. Check them out:

Getting started with studying abroad

Let’s Talk Money ~Studying Abroad in Germany~

What to Pack for a Study Abroad in Germany

For this post, let’s start with some resources to help with your mental/emotional preparation! Here are some insightful articles I read before coming to Germany:

  1. Culture Shock
  2. Study Abroad
  3. Tips for Living Abroad (with a focus on meeting people)
  • While on the topic of meeting people abroad, I want to mention a few websites you could use to meet new people: Tandem language exchange app (as well as HelloTalk language exchange app), Meetup.com, Facebook groups as well as local events and events posted by businesses shared on Facebook. Instagram is also a good way to follow local businesses/events. Also take advantage of university events (read your emails and check out flyers), activities, meet-ups and clubs as well as the events and clubs happening in your dorm. Work, doing an internship, volunteering and taking classes outside the university are also easy ways to meet new people.

And as mentioned, a list of YouTubers who will teach you about Germany and the Germans (not in any specific order):

  1. Kate Müser
  2. DontTrustTheRabbit
  3. Hayley Alexis
  4. Germany vs USA
  5. Wanted Adventure
  6. Antoinette Emily

While in Germany, look to prove stereotypes wrong rather than looking for confirmation. Allow your views to develop and get to know yourself better.  Be prepared to face many negative stereotypes about Americans, but don’t take it too personally. I’m not saying most Germans dislike Americans, but American culture has been spread across the globe and some not-so-favorable stereotypes accompany it. Some American tourists do set bad examples for us all.  The bad comes with the good. Just be yourself with a bit of awareness. If the person believes in the stereotype so strongly, then you can’t convince them otherwise. You can be proud to be American, miss your native culture, want to explore the world and expand your cultural knowledge all at the same time.

That’s it for this post!

Hope you found it useful,

Stephanie

Author: Stephanie F.

My name is Stephanie Ford and I am a big fan of language and culture. This blog started as a project for my online coursework while I was studying abroad as a German language major in Erlangen, Germany. It has grown into something much bigger. I have articles on German culture, sightseeing in Germany, learning foreign languages, travelling Europe, tips for studying abroad in Germany as well as several articles about self-development and my personal journey.

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