Culture shock for Germans when visiting Australia

192 posts in this topic

 

But, by the time we had placed out orders our friends had begun voicing anger and frustration about being asked 'How are you?' when ever they entered a store, and absolute disgust and fury at total strangers wanting to make conversation (whether it be by the person serving them in a store or someone sitting next to them on a park bench).

I'm neither Australian nor German, but that kind of attitude is just unacceptable from anyone, regardless of their nationality. Some cultures are superficial, some are not. But those people asking them "How are you?" don't mean any harm, and how the Germans reacted angrily to that is just childish and xenophobic. Fortunately, there are also Germans who have respect for other cultures. You don't have to defend Australian culture or people, just like those Germans don't have to defend theirs. Some gratitude, especially since you have been nothing less but a gracious host and tried hard to make them feel welcome.

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but it became a situation in which he felt torn and in the middle. ..., and they went back to talking bavarian without me,...kind of like being in Munich really

you felt bad about him being 'torn' :huh: I think he should have 'stuck up for you' more - doesn't matter whether he agreed with the sentiment or not - he shouldnt let them be so rude to you and then have the nerve to chat in Bavarian with them. I guess though, with respect, that you're a bit too submissive to kick up a fuss about that. Didn't you get to know his friends before marrying?

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Hey mebel!

i hope you didn´t waste good money on taking them to waterfront (is it still there? man i gotta get home more often!)

but it is really like Neandertaler and other posters have said, some people just can´t appreciate or accept the differences in other cultures or countries!

 

just curious, have you seen them since? i bet their the types who winge and complain about even single thing whilst travelling

but when they get home tell all their friends (wanted to say mates but obviously they don´t have any cos that is just insincere!)

that they had the time of their life and will imply that they now know more than you about oz!!

 

can´t stand people like that!!

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Their reaction sounds a bit off the wall, especially for people who have travelled abroad, let alone if they consider you a friend and you are their host. If they appreciate directness and honesty, you could always ask them whether they have found you personally to be insincere in your dealings with them. Maybe they honestly haven't, didn't mean to offend you personally and were just letting off steam about strangers they met.*

 

Why do Germans shake hands so often? It may come across to other nationalities as excessively formal and stand-offish but that in itself doesn't make the individual German formal and stand-offish, it's just another social convention like chatting to strangers to pass the time of day. Most foreigners will recognise that, especially if they count that German as a friend.

 

[*If they were being personal, you could always pare the extraneous niceties out of their next visit: unsoftened towels, scratchy toilet paper, lumpy porridge, saltless food, water instead of wine, etc... ;)]

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Hey Boomtown rat,

 

I did kick up a fuss about that,..but on the next day when we had a moment alone. It was hell couple of hours actually. But, in the end he realised that he hadn't really been standing by my side,...he hadn't really been standing by us. I love the fact that he's proud of his culture and his heritage - I am of mine too,... but not at a cost to us. He won't stand up to these guys - not in the way that I would like because he consideres that conflict. I consider that bullshit. The 'conflict / assertion' topic will always be a topic of differnece between us I think. He did talk with our guests a few times about that evening (in his own diplomatic way),...also when they were alone. He tried to explain another side of things to them. It seemed to help 2 out of the three of this travel group.

 

And yeah,...I had met them before I married my husband. The whole group (not all were on this trip) aren't like this. There are only a select few that are tough to understand.

 

Hey Barny,

 

Yep the Waterfront is still there, and no we didn't eat there with them. But I did go on another night. It still rocks.

 

Yes, we have met up again. And things were ok between two of the travelers and myself. But there is one,...the one who said 'That is superficial, it's not real, you're not real. No you're not!' and who also told me that I wouldn't, and couldn't possibly understand true and real sincerity in the form that they were talking about - yep,...this person walked into a birthday celebration at a Spanish restaurant last week, sat 2 seats away from me and didn't speak to me all night. She didn't even look at me. That sort of bullshit isn't worth it.

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omg!!! your right that type of bs isn´t worth it!

 

sounds like you´ve got a good hubbie tho! if he respects you that is all that matters right, petty people aren´t worth it!

sounds like the other 2 are over it tho!?!

 

i´ve had german friends visit oz before and they loved the friendly nature of the people, the only thing they complained about was the lack of salt in the food and the small heads on the beer!!

(just like we complain the food here is often too salty and the beer a bad pour!!)

 

i didn´t get to southbank last year when i was home, it was winter and wasn´t the right weather to be sitting beside the river enjoying the atmosphere!! waterfront was one of my favourite places to go eat with friends in the summer!!! ahhh real seafood!!! i miss it!!

i can understand your disappointment tho because it is one of the prettiest sides of melb and sounds like it was wasted on inflexiable, unappreciative people!

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Bizarre, only a Bavarian could travel to the other side of the planet and complain about friendliness.

It certainly seems that way. :blink: Way to overreact. They are in Australia so they should get used to people not being the same way as people in Germany. I have never been to Australia (unfortunately) but I have lived in the south of the US, which I dare say is probably at least as friendly insincere as Australia. Maybe it takes some getting used to but when in Rome, do as the Romans do and play the fuck along. And when dealing with random people I prefer friendliness over grumpiness any day. It's not like I wanna be friends with the waiters or employees of a store so what does it matter whether they really want to know how you are. It's the custom. I hate saying "Good morning" in German (Guten Morgen) because that expression is an oxymoron for me (much like black milk) but guess what, I do it anyway. They need to get over themselves.

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I hate saying "Good morning" in German (Guten Morgen)...

Oh mann...I'm already so much used to saying "morgen/Moin , Mahlzeit (donno why they use this), and Schönen Abend". At times, its boring! Specially, the 'mahlzeit' dingsbumps. :(

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Oh yeah, I'm used to it too, saying it at work, but any day that I have to get up to work at 8.30am is inevitably a bad morning, so "good morning" is a lie and oh so insincere. And you could say "Guten Appetit" instead of Mahlzeit, that's what I always say. Mix it up a little. ;)

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Come to think of it, there are plenty of superficial things about German society, and there are plenty of Germans who love the laid-back casualness of Australia. So I think you probably just lucked out with that woman. If you want to have some fun, do over-the-top superficial next time you're sitting near her - "Oh Darling, so good to see you again, how ARE you?"

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Personally I think friendliness is ALWAYS a posiive characteristic. I like it and am very disappointed with the lack of it in Germany. After 3 years in Germany I am moving because I have noticed that whatever directon you travel from Germany, the people get nicer/more insincere (even the swiss). I am emigrating, to Oz actually, after coming here 3 years ago thinking I might make Germany my home. I guess to stay here I would have to become just like the Bavarians in the story in the original post.

 

This German "sincerity" actually translates into being cold and unfriendly.

 

I think the Bavarian couple in the original post have to react with this old "insincerity" complaint, because the alternative is the horrible realisation that you come from a society that is often, although not always, self-centres, cold, inhospitable and unfriendly. And who wants that?

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I guess to stay here I would have to become just like the Bavarians in the story in the original post.

 

This German "sincerity" actually translates into being cold and unfriendly.

Neither true in my experience but each to their own eh?

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Are these Bavarian friends the kind who wear those funny hats with bits of rope round them?

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As an Australian it is nice to hear that generally "our" friendliness is viewed as genuine. I'd like to think that I have maintained the home level of warmth and friendliness but I reckon overtime, living in Germany you learn to tone it down a bit.

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Your guests deserve pity. They know no better. What a life they must have had. Don't expect them to change... try to remain compassionate.

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I don't miss hardly anything about Australia, but service and casual friendliness is definitely something I would like more of over here. More positive attitudes wouldn't go astray either.

 

The crazy thing is that on the whole, I think Germans are pretty friendly. However, the one time they are not friendly, is when they are getting paid TO BE friendly. Service is something I really didn't care about before I came here, but it's so appallingly bad here, I actually value it now.

 

Like others say, sometimes you'll go into the shop, and it seems like the shopkeeper is doing you a favour by letting you come in. The other crazy thing is that the Germans know the country has appalling service (Servicewüste is a term you hear a lot) but nothing gets done about it.

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Neandertaler said what I think to be the most important thing here: "One of the things I always pointed out to them was that in Australia, when someone asks "How are you?", they don't (as a general rule) want to know."

 

I had similar experiences with germans in canada complaining about the whole superficial thing. I explained to them that in Canada, if the cashier at Loblaws asks how I am, I could be on fire and I'd still say "Good thanks." That's because to me it means "hi" and "hi" respectively. I imagine that germans find it intrusive or uncomfortable because they feel that they should answer the letter of the question, rather than the concept. Whether it's due to a literal interpretation of language, or based on a cultural thing I dunno. The germans I know eventually came around though so maybe that's hope for you Melbel.

 

In an attempt to feel less formal with my greetings, I once said hi to someone in Germany with a "what's up" and got a 2 minute response about everything that was up, when all I really expected/wanted was a "nix." So it goes both ways.

 

It's like when my canadian friends complain about germans being rude and budding in line in front of you. I try to explain that it's not that the Germans are thinking "i'm german and thus deserve to purchase my ticket first," it's just that you probably weren't standing in line properly.

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It's like when my canadian friends complain about germans being rude and budding in line in front of you. I try to explain that it's not that the Germans are thinking "i'm german and thus deserve to purchase my ticket first," it's just that you probably weren't standing in line properly.

You're not serious, are you?

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