Thinking back to last September when I first arrived here in Germany from Brazil, it hits me out of the blue – this is a completely different culture with its own odd rituals and activities and if I want it or not, I am already in the middle of it all.
Two things that were new to me but seemed strangely interesting were the German bike culture and their obsession with recycling.
When I look around Karlsruhe or other cities in Germany all I see is bikes.
Germans literally bike everywhere, and the social and economical infrastructure creates the perfect environment for that, which is really impressive to me. This was crazy to see at first because if you compare that to Rio, you realize that people only ride bikes by the shore, if they are sure it’s a safe area. So it was no wonder that I almost got hit by a bike multiple times in the beginning because I simply wasn’t aware of the meaning of bikes here in Germany. I would go as far as saying that bikes are a huge part of the Culture, and I am actually now really feeling the whole bike experience and enjoy riding my bike everywhere.
The other thing that was really strange and took some getting used to was recycling and trash separation.
Being able to get money back by doing a simple thing as returning plastic bottles to the store, is awesome to me. Also in the first weeks, separating my trash seemed odd to me, after all, it’s already waste, so why would I waste my time on it? Living together with other students, they’d try to explain the separation of trash to me but, I have to say that there was a lot of frustration and disagreement involved, after all it’s always challenging when two culture fuse together, even if it’s just about recycling. Therefore I’m really proud that I now understand the bigger meaning behind the separation of trash, which I wouldn’t even gotten the opportunity to in Brazil. After just 10 months here in Karlsruhe, German culture is still influencing me and recycling is a part of my day to day life now. There was even a situation where I found plastic in the Bio trash and felt that annoyment I could never understand in the beginning , after all maybe it’s more than just trash.
Those cultural differences may seem like a clash in the beginning, but certainly I learned from it and I‘ve become a better individuals. When am overwhelmed when I think about how my life has changed in such a short amount of time.
Even if there are more cultural differences, which I still have to face, I am really happy that I took on the first cultural clashes and made the best out of them.
Article by Mona Frühauf *MF and Lucas Neif *LN (Karls Storytellers)