This week I moved to stay with my host family for the rest of my time in Germany. After spending more than four months in my student dorm near my university, I am excited to be able to get a better feel for regular life in Germany. While staying in the student dorm is convenient, many of the students there only speak English (or another language) and are often busy with classes and exams. Now that I will be staying with a German family for the next two weeks, I already feel more at home!
The family I am staying with lives around one-hour north of Bochum. I’m still going to campus everyday since I am in the process of preparing for finals which take place a few weeks after lectures are finished. Even though the commute is significantly longer, I have the opportunity most mornings to have breakfast with the family. When possible, I will travel with the father and he will drop me off at one of the subway stations nearby his workplace.
I’ve only been with this family for a few days now, and I can already say that unsurprisingly some stereotypes relating to Germans are true and some are outright wrong. For example, Germans are known to be straight to the point when they talk, almost to the point of appearing rude in certain cases. This is certainly true with this family, as evidenced by our attempt yesterday to decide what we should do after dinner. They were decisive enough to quickly decide on a card game.
Another common stereotype is that Germans are not friendly or are downright cold. While this may be true for strangers, I have found that once I get to know anyone here on a slightly more personal level (which entails having spoken to them more than a few sentences) they are willing to answer everything to their best knowledge. In fact, I have found that they are very thorough in answering any questions I have for them. For example, I asked the father of the family yesterday about his video game collection and what he thought about his games, and he said something about every single game on his shelf! I feel like most Americans would simply make general comments or only comment on a few games.
Even though I have been busy the last few days wrapping up a few things and moving from my student dorm to my host family, I am immensely grateful for the change of environment. I think it has allowed me to clear my mind in order to prepare for my upcoming finals here in Germany. More importantly, I am excited to finally be fully immersed with the language around me now that I also can always speak German at home!