Cultural Differences – Germany

This week we have come up with a special Bavarian Brotzeit for you all after Dubai’s delight couple of weeks ago. Yes, it’s time to explore Germany! India and Germany could possibly be standing on the opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to differences in their culture. But if people from either of the nationalities visit the other, they are in for a shock, if not sheer amazement.

Traffic Rules

It would come as a surprise to Indians traveling to west to see people following traffic rules religiously. Even the traffic rules seem peculiar but make complete sense if you have lived in India for too long, for example, it is illegal to pass a vehicle on the right. Also, you must move into a left lane in order to pass. The only exception is when traffic is moving at a very slow rate of speed, such as during a traffic jam.

Work Culture

People visiting Germany for business should be prepared to experience a significant difference in the way they conduct business. Right from the government to high profile businesses, there’s discipline and dedicated action plans with stringent deadlines which they are reluctant to change. Indians are more flexible, and would agree to last minute changes which might not settle too well with the Germans. While Indians tend to beat around the bush, or approach critical matter slowly, Germans are more direct in their approach.

Dining

Don’t expect a glass of water to suddenly appear on your table when you are eating out, most eateries don’t serve regular water for drinking, you’d have to specifically ask for bottled water. But hey why drink water when you have so many drinks to choose from?

You don’t have to worry about food, there are lot of Indian and Asian restaurants if you have conservative food habits. But make sure you leave a tip for a decent to good service (15%), when we say leave a tip we mean that it should be given directly to the food-server and not be left on the table.

Fun fact: McDonald’s in Germany charges extra for ketchup packs!

Drinking

We all have heard about German beers, but did you know McDonald’s in Germany serve beer as well? Don’t be surprised to see teens drinking beer with their parents in a pub. Legal drinking age is 18 but beer is considered as a light alcohol and anyone above 16 can consume it. Beer is such an important part of the culture that the right to drink beer is even written into some labor contracts, and a beer with lunch in the factory cafeteria is taken for granted. Apart from good beer, you have a chance to explore your wine list at reasonable prices.

This is just a small attempt to understand the cultures and be more adaptable without giving in to the perceptions. Knowing about a new and unique culture is a way to make it less bizarre when you are struggling to process new things once you have set foot in a foreign nation. It also opens a path of cultural dialogue which is more than required in this growing global economy.

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