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Main » Articles » ISSUE #3

Germany
   A country where I have lived for almost four years is Germany. I’ve been there before for a short period of time as a guest. But then I was a schoolgirl with a different world perception, and the time spent there was not enough to have a keen eye for all the peculiarities of people’s lives, their specific attitude to some things, and some social aspects. Now I’m part of this country and I can see many things in a different light.
   I’ll share my impressions about 5 things which I love about Germany and things which vary from my home country (Russia).

Five things which I love in Germany

Social protection
   There exist different kinds of insurance. If something happens in your family, e.g. the window/door is broken, or your kids spot or break someone’s property, in that case your insurance covers expenses.
   The insurance that protects my rights is the second one. As an example, if you’re cheated or accused, if your neighbours abuse you, or you have problems at work, and it comes to trial, then you have the right to counsel covered by insurance.
   The third one is extremely important. If a person takes out a big loan and something happens to him (he dies or becomes disabled), his insurance pays the loan partly or completely.
   Certainly, insurance costs money, but if you get average wages you can allow it and in such a way protect your family and yourself.
   Everyone should have health insurance. It costs money, too. But if you don’t have it and something happens with you, you have to pay a lot to be cured; otherwise you can be denied in being explored. Having health insurance is much cheaper. We pay €200 for insurance and €10 a quarter (if we see a doctor), and you don’t pay anything more except for a dentist’s checkup.


Financial solidity
   If you lose your job and you are unemployed for a long time, the government accommodates you, pays you a minimum wage (€400) and partly pays for your flat. It also forces you to look for a job or offers you some simple variants of work.

Vacation and leisure time
   All employees get 30 days’ vacation a year. Most of Germans together with their families try to go on a trip to the mountains or sea, or neighbouring countries at least twice a year.
   As for us (my husband and me), we can afford to go out somewhere every week (to Austria, Switzerland, the Alps) if we are doing all right with the money. :)))
   Germans extremely love attending lectures (not only o  professional matters), visiting various exhibitions, museums, going to the theatres, cinemas and discos (16 to 60-70 years old people), walking, cycling (irrespective of age), etc.

Learning languages
   As Germany lies in the centre of Europe and borders on different countries, it’s necessary for Germans to know several languages. Since childhood they travel to different countries and that’s why they know (well or not that well) three-four languages.
   From the very early age children learn English at first, then at school they learn 2-3 more languages (French, Italian, Portuguese and Japanese are more common). For many universities fluent English is compulsory  as a lot of lectures are given in English only.

Customs
   Germany is a very religious country. Many families go to church on Sundays. There is a church in each city or town, even in a very small one. Every hour you can hear a ding-dong – I love that sound, I can hear it at home when the windows are open… All holidays are connected with religious ones: Easter, Christmas and many others. These days you don’t work but enjoy your holidays for several days.=)))

Five things which vary from Russia greatly

Mentality
Germans and Russians are quite different, no wonder. Germans are very reserved; they would hardly tell you about their private or family life. Germans always smile at you and greet you (in shops, drugstores, getting into any place, and even in an elevator…); they are always well-wishing. But in the meantime they always keep you at arm's length. It’s so hard to understand what they really think about you.
One more thing – it’s unacceptable to ask and talk about how much money they get (speaking about their salary).

Education

By the 4th form a child and his parents have to decide what profession their child is going to get. And this is what would be difficult in Russia! There are professions which are mastered in universities (from 3.5 to 5-6 years of studying), e.g. doctors, teachers, psychologists, etc. And there are ones which you can acquire in magnet schools (3 years), for example, hairdressers, nurses, kindergartners, shop assistants…
If you want to be accepted to the university, you have to study not at a general secondary school, but high school. So you have to study well. The point system in Germany is 6-point, and mark 1 means "very good”, mark 6 is the lowest. On finishing school you get qualifications with your own Grade Point Average. After that you can submit documents to the university you’ve chosen and where your G.P.A. is eligible. There are no entrance examinations, but in most universities you may have interviews and even some preparatory practical training in your future profession (from several weeks to several months).

Cleanness and order
Streets are not washed with soap, however, there are no big puddles or dust on the roads, because they are cleaned by special sweeping vehicles. Also escape channels on the roads of the country are well-developed and maintained. To keep those clean it’s forbidden to throw litter there and cigarette stubs; you should throw them into the ash-bins.
In spite of the outside cleanness, many flats and houses are rather messy inside... German people don’t fuss over about things like making the beds or doing vacuum cleaning; children are not made to clean their rooms (it’s their place and they clean it when they want to). But what is really good about sorting out the mess is that any man in Germany can cook, do the ironing and washing! He never refuses to clean the house, and spends time with his children with pleasure.

Clothes
Actually Germans don't care much about the way they look at work. They deem that feeling comfortable while working is a key thing. That's why women do not usually wear tight skirts and high heels to work. Make-up is also not for work but for special occasions.

Driving license
Almost all teenagers over 17 learn how to drive and have driving license as it is essential in the country. Germany is made up of small towns and villages. Schools, shops, hospitals and many other organizations are in big cities, and it’s a need to get there somehow… Getting buses is not always handy, because their time schedule is fixed according to school time-table, and getting a taxi is rather expensive. Many people work at night, while buses and the underground don’t work at that time… That’s why it’s so necessary to have a car!
In addition, applying for a job the first question you will be asked is "Have you got a driving license?”


In conclusion, I’d like to tell you that there are lots of interesting and exciting places in the world. All the countries are different and unique in themselves! Remember, our world is amazing and always surprising. If you have the opportunity to travel, go ahead and make it! If don’t, just don’t lose your heart and explore everything you are interested in through reading different articles and books.
Good luck, dear reader!=)


                                                     written by Valeria Kolomijtseva
Category: ISSUE #3 | Added by: Guzeliya (12-May-2011) | Author: Valeria Kolomijtseva
Views: 4010 | Comments: 12 | Tags: life in Germany | Rating: 5.0/6
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