Life in Germany. Settling into life in Germany can be difficult but we are trying to make this transition easier for Africans in Germany. Here are 10 things Africans in Germany can do to feel like locals:
1. Make sure you are on time
In Germany being punctual is very highly rated and lateness is considered rude.
For one to fit in thy must be on time, this is to meetings, appointments or casual dates being earlier could the best option. Should you however be late, make sure to call or text the person to let them know in advance.
2.Understanding how Germans tell time
While being on time is a very crucial matter, it is also very important to be able to express time in German language.
Germans express the half hour: where the “half” refers to the hour that is approaching rather than the hour that has begun. 14:30, for example, is expressed as halb drei (half three) instead of halb zwei (half two) as in English. But things can get even more complicated when it comes to speaking about quarter hours.
While many Germans will express the quarter hours as in English – with 14:15 as viertel nach zwei (quarter past two) and 14:45 as viertel vor drei (quarter to three) many Germans – particularly in the east of the country – refer to the approaching hour instead of the hour that has already begun.
So 14:15 would be viertel drei (quarter three) and 14:45 would be drei viertel drei (three quarters three).
3.Do not cross the road at a red light
In many European countries and even most African countries, it is okay to cross the road at the red light that indicates STOP for vehicles if the road is clear.
In Germany many wait until the pedestrian light turns green – this means even if you have to wait by the side of a clear road without any cars whizzing past. This is entirely because jaywalking is illegal in Germany and also because most people in Germany follow the rules.
4. ‘Prost’ or cheering properly
Prost is the German version for ‘cheers’. This is mean tto beckon you to clink your glass with everyone’s and also make eye contact with each person.
It is impolite not to lock eyes with someone and it can also result in bad luck. At least to some people. This is also a common culture in many places too.
5. Join or start a Verein (associations)
An official Verein can be recognised by the two letters added to its name: e.V. which stands for eingetragener Verein (registered association).
Starting your own Verein can be very beneficial, as it enables access to public tax funds, is less bureaucracy than other legal entities and there is no personal liability of members.
6.Keep records for one’s important documents with a filing system
Since a lot of important documents are sent to people via mail, it is important for you to have a file or a filing system that makes sure that you do not lose important documents.
There are certain documents that you are reunited to have a hold on for a number of years before discarding them. If you’re self-employed, for example, you are obliged to keep your tax documents for ten years.
7. Be ready to check out items at counter
In Germany, most shop assistants will not assist you with your bags and are more likely to check through your own items at lighting speed and expect you to keep up!
While you’re waiting in the queue, put your groceries in a strategic order, i.e. heavy items like bottles and potatoes first and lighter items such as eggs near the end.
Also, have your bags out, open and ready to load.
While not compulsory, private liability insurance is widely seen as essential protection against the risk of harming another person or their material things.
9. Cash culture
People in Germany have a love for cash and rarely does one person pay with a card.
Even though card payments and digital banking are gaining in popularity in Germany, there are many places that will still only accept cash. Or the staff will grudgingly dust off the card reader so someone can pay by card. So, to avoid feeling like a tourist that is inconveniencing someone, always carry cash.