People are always asking me about some of the major differences between Germany and the US. Economics is a big one.

Posted on 01.02.2012


People always want to know what the major differences are between my motherland and where I live now. I could take all day to tell you about the differences, ranging from small to large, that make this place much different from where I grew up.

For me the most noticeable differences are the following:

~ sausage as the national meat choice
~ the educational system
~ the COST of post-secondary education
~ guns are pretty much illegal
~ the social system (as in welfare)
~ the social actions (as in, interactions between people)
~ common sense in politics (no one denies global warming over here and everything gets recycled)
~ castles exist over here. I haven’t seen any dragons yet, though
~ buying your own kitchen (wtf)
~ pfand (deposit) culture
~ bi-, tri- and quad-lingual learning/students
~ treatment of new parents
~ economics

It’s hard for me to explain all of the economic differences, because I’m actually still learning. I can tell you that we pay much higher taxes, the roads are always under construction but are then ALWAYS good to drive on, and thanks to all of those taxes, we’ve all got health care. GOOD health care. But since I’m never going to be a German voter (unless someone insane like Sarah Palin becomes the president in the US), it’s things like these that I am taking my time to learn, since I can’t exactly change them and they’re agreed to let me stay. I’ll learn these things in time, but it’s more important for me to grow my functioning vocabulary first.

All of that being said, something that has continued to amaze me is HOW GOOD the German people are with their money. I don’t mean to say that everyone over here is rolling in it, because they’re not… but they don’t abuse credit cards as we’re used to seeing in the US, there is no buying a car or a house without saving up for it first, and the children here don’t grow up understanding that to go to college, you need to take out loans and will be in debt for your entire working lifetime. Because they don’t. And they won’t.

And everyone uses cash all the time. Or their bank card (like the check-card in the US). Most stores over here don’t even accept credit cards. Which I think is awesome.

But there are many more things, finer points, to share… and I read an article in the Week Magazine a while ago that gives you a nice primer. So I’m sharing that here, for any of you who might be interested.

This country continually amazes me. The differences are small and large, and usually historically caused. We can talk about that later.

Posted in: German Lessons, life