Different countries, different customs

How to avoid missunderstandings

In our recent posts you can often read about misunderstandings that can happen on both sides during an exchange project. But how can you avoid those misunderstandings and why do they happen so often?

An mathematical example

It shouldn’t take you too long to get the result for an easy calculation like 8 – 2. But how long will it take you, when the well known rules of calculation do not apply any more. Imagine the symbol plus is now representing a division and when you see a division you must multiply. Try to solve the following equations as fast as possible. Use the following new rules:

+ turns to /, / turns to  *, * turns to and turns into +

8-2 =
12+4 =
4*3 =
6/2 =
12*2 =
20+10 =

Was it more difficult than ususal? It gets better when you practice more often. But you still have to stay concentrated all the time. Otherwise you fall back into old patterns.

Different countries, different rules

When you enter a foreign country you also have to apply to new rules. But contrary to the example above nobody tells you these rules, you have to figure out the norms and conventions all by yourself. And when you finaly get to know the right rules you have to apply to them accordingly all the time.

Can you imagine how exhausting it is when you try not to make any mistakes and you  ponder all the time how to interpret certain customs the right way?

If you make a small mistake only once, you create one of our so called small misunderstandings!

How to avoid misunderstandings

But you can get rid of those misunderstandings. First you have to show tolerance when somebody doesn’t act like you expected. Second, you have to to project your self into the other’s perspective. What could be the real purpose that you guest acted like he did?

At the Johannes-Turmair-Gymnasium we do a lot of role plays during our intercultural training. The students act and diskuss different scenarios. In all those stories somebody behaves different and therefore doesn’t answer your expectation. With the help of an experienced teacher the students talk about the situation and consider the actual reason for the strange behaviour.

My guest stays in his room all day! Why doesn’t he/she eat our food? Doesn’t he like what we cook? Why doesn’t he want to attend my training  with the football club?

Just read our worksheet about this problem (in German language only). Or tell us your story! Could you solve a misunderstanding with the guest you hosted? Or did you even cause a small misunderstanding? We are looking forward to reading your comments!

Meet the Germans – a video analysis

The German students are still preparing themselves for the arrival of their Indian guests. Because of this weekly intercultural training they are now aware of small culturall differences that can result in big misunderstandings and can also lead to a so called culture shock.

But what are these differences? What is typical for Germany and how do Germans handle things diffent?

The students combed the internet for a collection of dos and don’ts in Germany.

The following videos are just a small example of the huge amount of Videos you can find on youtube. Dozens of travellers and exchange students talk about their impressions of Germany and about the small things in average life they fount quite different to their own culture. 

Please leave a comment, if you know another good clip about German issues that give you the culture shock!


And here are two more links to some more great videos:

Rewboss, a British, who lives in Germany for years tells us some things he would miss if he had to leave Germany: Ten things about Germany

SamWaltonMan is taking part in an one year exchange in Germany. In his videos about Germany he talks about the cultural differences that you should be aware of when coming to Germany: Life in Germany – Ep. 54: Cultural differences

 

 

Ask a parent – Thoughts about the exchange project

An exchange project is always a whole family project. The siblings often have to give away a room and the parents have to host the foreigner, have to share their apartment or house and have to pay for tickets or field trips with the guest.

So why should they allow their child to participate in our exchange project with Germany and India?

We interviewed Aaditya’s mother and another father of an Indian exchange student to get the answers:

Aaditya asks his mother about the exchange project
Interview of an Indian father about the German-Indian exchange project

 

Before the exchange – Bhavya’s first impressions

In the column “before the exchange” the German and Indian students explain why they participate in the exchange project. They write about their first preparations and their first contact with their partner.

Today Bhavya, a student of Lotus Valley International School, tells us how he was chosen for the exchange project, what he is looking forward to and why he is participating in our students exchange.

Speeking the German language quite fluently, he wrote his full statement in German:

Der deutsche Austausch ist eines der interessantesten Ereignisse, die in unserer Schule und allen anderen PASCH-Schulen stattfindet. Ich wollte immer daran teilnehmen, als ich mit der deutschen Sprache in der 6. Stufe begann.

Als ich am Ende der Klasse 9 vor den Abschlussprüfungen war, wurde unsere Klasse dem Konzept der deutschen Börse vorgestellt. Alle Schüler, die an der Börse teilnehmen wollten, mussten den jeweiligen deutschen Lehrern ihre Namen geben. Ich habe auch gern meinen Namen gegeben, aber ich wusste nicht, dass die Gelegenheit so schnell meine Tür schlagen würde!!! In der nächsten Zeit kam nun Radhika Maam zu unserer Klasse und rief mich und zwei meiner anderen Freunde. Sie brachte uns in eine andere leere Klasse und sagte uns, dass wir auf der Grundlage unserer deutschen Fähigkeiten, Verhaltensweisen und anderen wichtigen Aspekten für die Deutsche Börse ausgewählt wurden. Ich konnte mein Glück nicht glauben.

Alle drei von uns waren ihr dafür dankbar.

Continue reading “Before the exchange – Bhavya’s first impressions”

Before the exchange – Rohan’s first impressions

In the column “before the exchange” the German and Indian students explain why they participate in the exchange project. They write about their first preparations and their first contact with their partner.

Today Rohan, a student of Lotus Valley International School, tells us how he was chosen for the exchange project, what he is looking forward to and why he is participating in our students exchange.

Please tell us in the comments what you would like to visit in Germany and what question you would ask a student of the Johannes-Turmair-Gymnasium.

Speeking the German language quite fluently, Rohan wrote his full statement in German.

Die Teilnahme an dem deutschen Austausch wird eine wunderbare Erfahrung für mich. Ich glaube, dass es mir helfen wird, meine Zuversicht aufzubauen. Diese Reise wird mir zu verstehen geben, wie ich ohne meine Familie leben werde. Das wird mir in Zukunft helfen, wenn ich im Ausland studieren möchte.

Sobald ich Deutschland erreiche, werde ich mehr über die Kultur und das Leben der Menschen in Deutschland erfahren. Folglich wird es mein Wissen verbessern. Sobald mein Austauschpartner nach Indien kommt, habe ich mich entschlossen, ihn gut zu behandeln und werde versuchen, die meisten seiner Bedürfnisse zu erfüllen.

Ich habe bereits begonnen, mit meinem Partner zu kommunizieren und ich weiß sehr viel über ihn. Er scheint ein toller Mensch zu sein! Continue reading “Before the exchange – Rohan’s first impressions”

Before the Exchange – Satvik’s first impressions

In the column “before the exchange” the German and Indian students explain why they participate in the exchange project. They write about their first preparations and their first contact with their partner.

Today Satvik, a student of Lotus Valley International School, tells us how he was chosen for the exchange project, what he is looking forward to and why he is participating in our students exchange.

Please tell us in the comments what you would like to visit in Germany and what question you would ask a student of the Johannes-Turmair-Gymnasium.

Speeking the German language quite fluently, Satvik wrote his full statement in German.

Das deutsche Austauschprogramm ist eine großartige Gelegenheit, um Deutschland kennenzulernen. Dieses Programm wird mir helfen, mehr über die Kultur und die Traditionen der Menschen dort zu erfahren. Ich möchte auch die Infrastruktur, den Transport und das Bildungssystem in Deutschland erkunden. Es verbessert mein Wissen. Deutschland ist außerdem für Fußball berühmt, was einer meiner Lieblingssportarten ist.

Wenn man ein fremdes Land besuchst, lernt man eine völlig neue und unbekannte Welt kennen, und das gefällt mir am meisten an diesem Programm. Durch dieses Programm werde ich mehr Leute kennen lernen und neue Freunde machen. Ich habe die Unterhaltung mit meinem deutschen Austauschpartner begonnen und finde ihn sehr freundlich und einladend.

Ich hoffe, dass das deutsche Austauschprogramm Spaß macht und eine wirklich gute Erfahrung sein wird.

Ich denke, dass es eine Lebenszeit-Gelegenheit für mich ist und ich freue mich einfach sehr darauf.