to an entertaining and informative website about a German family in the USA learning the American way of life.
30 years ago I started travelling to the USA – for business and pleasure alike. Since 15 years I live in South Carolina with my family, 5 years part-time, since 10 years permanently.
Viewed through the eyes of a typical German – born, raised and worked in Germany for most of his life – living in America is so fundamentally different from the German way of life that it feels hard to even begin describing what exactly the differences are. Many years ago, I coined the sentence: Only the people look alike, everything else is different – EVERYTHING. It’s a little exaggerated, I know, but not by much.
I created this website to tell about my journey on the American way of life seen through the eyes of a German, in an enjoyable (hopefully) and informative way. Although it is my personal journey, with all experiences, points of views and opinions being subjective, I believe there is a lot in here that might help other foreigners in making their first steps in the New World, be it on a business trip, a 2-year business assignment, as freshly baked permanent residents, or simply as tourists who want to see more than Old Faithful geyser.
I’ve met many Germans who, often unconsciously, imply that, at their core, Americans behave like Europeans, give or take a few minor differences. After all, most Americans trace their origins back to Europe, so they can’t be that different. Or can they?
I am convinced this is the root cause why so many Germans fail to feel well or welcomed when they come to the USA for more than a vacation trip to one of the National Parks. Somehow, they unconsciously expect business and social etiquette and other aspects of daily life be similar to what they know from Germany, and so they sometimes step in it without even knowing, because one aspect of American etiquette is to avoid mentioning anything negative about you – even though it would help you.
I know what I am talking about; I dropped too many bricks to keep counting. When we settled permanently in South Carolina 10 years ago, my wife was unhappy for over 2 years until she finally understood that, over centuries, Americans have developed peculiarities and mentalities that are fundamentally different from their European origins.
Most of the website’s content is in the form of blog posts under several categories, to invite other people’s comments. There is also a forum where subscribers can share their experience, ask questions, or make suggestions for a better website! Feel free to use the German language if you want – I will answer in German as well.