Things that I will miss the most in Germany

It was my second time in Germany. The first time, I was in Berlin studying German, and this time I am in Vallendar, a very small city and completely different from Berlin, where I will participate in the Student Exchange Program for a semester in Koblenz, Germany.

Germans are reserved at first, but once you get to know them, you will stay friends forever. When you first arrived in a German city, no matter how big or small it is, no one would look at you differently. They don’t make eye contact with you, neither do they greet you. It seems like you have been living in that city for so long that your appearance is not surprising to them. At first I thought it was aloofness, but later I found it to be a bit sweet, because they don’t treat you like outsiders. They are not surprised by your visit and it feels like I am a resident. After you get to know them, they are really nice people. A lot of people are willing to help you, especially when you are trying to climb on a train with  luggage, 99% of people will offer to help carry it. When I have questions, not only they would they answer my question, but also provide more than what I need. I remember that once I was trying to donate my clothes, but could not find the station. One old lady walked 20 mins with me, so that I can donate my clothes at the right place. 

I will also miss seeing flowers everywhere on the street. Germans love flowers and almost everyone’s balcony or house are decorated with flowers. Flowers are also very cheap, most of them are around 2 euros, and you can buy them almost everywhere. 

I also fell in love with German potatoes. I was born in China, and have been eating Chinese potatoes for 15 years, and also been eating American potatoes for 7 years now, but German potatoes are on a different level. They are so good and soft, especially the smashed potatoes. I will for sure miss them.

Last but not the least, Germany is a very green country. At my host institution, there are always 5 different trash cans that separate all the trash. All the lights were automatic, so they turned off when no one was using them. Germans love drinking beer, most places offer recycle beer bottles in exchange for money. There are also different glass containers that guarantee that your bottles will end up in the right place.  

I would highly recommend people to go out of their comfort zone, especially the very first two weeks when you get to a new place. That is your golden time to meet people and actually know them, because they are also seeking new friends. After that period, people get to settle down and choose their friend groups. When talking to German students, I would also recommend you to be the first one to start the conversation. They are a little reserved the first time, but I promise you it will only get better. As for living, I chose to room with three other students, and I was lucky that they are very fun and easy to get along. I would also recommend to live as close to school as possible, because then you don't miss out on things that happen on campus. As for food, if you go to WHU, pretty much every restaurant is good around there. You can't go wrong with choosing a place, because they have been there for a long time.

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