On the night the arrival, we had arrived late and I hadn’t expected to get anything to eat. But upon the arrival I found out that my partners parents had made a very lip smacking typical Bavarian food which had Leberkäse (literally translated to cheesy liver, in spite of not containing any of these ingredients), cheese and many other great food items.
The food was really tasty and had a completely different flavour as to what I have tasted in my home county. The food was a complex mixture of fun, adventure and excitement. It was really tasty!
I am Samanvi J. and am hosted by the Stoffels. I am currently in Straubing, Germany I never expected the German exchange to be such an amazing experience.
All over Europe, the beauty of the nature and the culture is maintained. Development goes hand in hand with the maintainance of culture and tradition. I was a little apprehensive about living with complete strangers for two whole weeks but to my surprise, the Stoffels were very kind and treated me as their own family member.
My partner’s parents treat me as their own daughter and give me love and take care of me . On the other hand, Johannes Turmair Gymnasium is fantastic. The school has a beautiful campus and provides students with knowledge and exposure. After tasting Bavarian food and witnessing their dance, language and many more things , I feel that the exquisite Bavarian culture has become part of me. Samanvi J.
India is widely famous for the delicious food, the bright colours, the vivid music and the absolute kindness of its people. Before my first trip to India I read a lot about these and I was eager to witness everything. But I was still unfamiliar with the real Indian culture and was therefore unknowingly making many mistakes during my first stay.
Let me tell you about some of my first “culture shock” experiences.
Everything can be finger food: Of course I use my finger to eat fries, a burger or a sandwich in Germany, too. But I was quite astonished by the way most of the Indians use their fingers to eat all the curries and most of the other dishes.
Ripping apart my roti just with the fingers of the right hand was a skill I had to practice a lot and during my first trip I put more food on my face and my clothes than into my stomach. Once I managed it, it became quite natural and most of the time I don’t use cutlery. But I am looking forward to seeing my students struggle with their first dishes and to watching them handling the Indian food better from day to day.
The direct way is not always the shortest: “Being German means to be pragmatic, direct and therefore to be efficient.” How wrong I was! I learned this lesson the hard way, that in India it is seldom the best to say frankly what you want or to expect a short “Yes” or “No” as response to a simple question. It is not only incredible rude to shout out your wishes and demands straight from the shoulder, it can also lead to awkward and embarrassing It was hard for me to understand this and I am thankful I had so patient hosts. In the meantime I learned to relax more and to accept an indirect answer. Only when again I insist to have everything done my way I slowly notice I still have to learn a lot about the Indian way of communication.
Half an hour can be quite a long time: Time zones in Germany and in India are different. In India there is the IST. For a long time I thought ITS stands for Indian Standard Time. It took me a while to realize it’s just an abbreviation for Indian Stretchable Time! In my first exchange year my host told me that we will leave the house in half an hour.
You can’t belief how fast I took a shower, got dressed, had breakfast and packed my rucksack for school only to sit in front of the house for an extra half an hour. Time is relative – Einstein knew that and the Indians do definitely trust him. Nowadays I often leave my watch at home when I explore an Indian city. What is it good for anyway? Things happen, when they are supposed to happen. An understanding I am happy to have learned in India.
Of course there were many more situations that left me puzzled when I experienced them the first time. And I can easily imagine how strange it must have been for my Indian friends to deal with that German teacher who was obviously making a habit of putting his foot in it. I still have to thank them for all their patience!