joannlee_culturalreport - PEOPLE The people I met in...

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PEOPLE The people I met in Hamburg were so open and welcoming that I could see and understand why the Germans are known for their hospitality. The first German student I met, Bernd, went out of his way to guide us around campus and provide us a place to stay when our dorms were not yet available. A new friend, Christianne, enthusiastically introduced me to different types of German food and beer. Another friend, Cibele, as well showed me around the city. The students I worked with in the lab were also eager to teach me about and share with me their customs and traditions. Through it I realized that German culture has many American influences. For instance, much of the music played in clubs and bars are mainstream popular songs that are streaming now on the radio in the U.S. They also never had a concept of prom, or having any type of dressy dance at the end of their high school senior year, until recently. However Germany has its own unique traditions that I found unusual, but interesting. In Hamburg, for a bachelor party, the festivity does involve drinking and celebration, but in addition there is also usually a group of friends that is selling small trinkets such as pens or key chains on the side to raise money for the party that is currently going on. There is also a custom for someone that is turning 30 and not married. On their birthday their friends scatter a pile of some sort of small objects around, like marbles or paper clips, and then make them sweep it all up. I don’t understand the tradition, but it’s intriguing and entertaining. In turn, the students in the lab were very eager to learn about U.S. as well. I find it interesting that they perceive New York City as an exciting, foreign place, in the same way that I perceive Europe as. For me, because I am a resident here, I find the city life more normal and I haven’t visited major tourist sites like the Statue of Liberty or the Empire State building because I can do it anytime. But for them it is new and a different type of environment to be in. In the same way, I traveled to many major cities in Europe that the European students had never visited. The students in the lab. First Row: Fabian, Justine, Francesca, Me, Professor Ernst Second Row: Dhongik, Claas, Mats, Petra
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LANGUAGE Surprisingly, I was able to utilize all the languages I knew in different parts of my travels. I used Chinese at the local Asian market to ask for an item I needed, Spanish with my friend Cibele who was natively from Brazil, and of course English to communicate with the students, most of which knew the language. However, I didn’t know German, which could have been helpful in Hamburg. Luckily I was able to communicate with the students I worked with in English, helping them practice the language. In turn they taught me a bit of German basic vocabulary, mostly related to food. I even learned from listening to the students talk in English. They used terminology I didn’t
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This note was uploaded on 10/04/2011 for the course CHE 131 taught by Professor Bove during the Spring '11 term at Cooper Union.

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joannlee_culturalreport - PEOPLE The people I met in...

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