I student taught abroad at Frankfurt International School In Oberursel, Germany. I lived with a host family, a mom, a dad, a 25-year-old sister and a 16-year-old sister. My younger host sister did one year of high school in the US the year before I came. Through this experience, I was able to understand the social cues, norms and significance that history still plays in lives of Germans. After my host sister came back from the states, her main frustration was that she didn’t feel like her American classmates knew any current events or current issues in Germany or Europe in general. She had studied so much about the United States and other countries, yet her classmates didn’t know much about her country.
While I was in Germany, I found it so much easier to hear about what was going on in other countries. The news stations covered events all around the world. It was also interesting to watch President Trump give speeches from the other side of the world. My host parents were patient yet diligent in teaching me different norms about Germany. Still, I know that these are generalizations and that not every person thinks the same way. This is what I learned from my host family and how they see their German culture play out. One thing that I learned is that Germans aren’t typically proud to be German. However, Germans are typically patriotic, are quick to join in singing their national anthem, and cheer loudly for sporting events. However, not all Germans are proud of their nationality. I see how the world is still punishing Germany for the choices that German leaders made during World War II.
Germany still pays other countries whose people were greatly hurt in concentration camps, as if to repay them for the people who were lost. Major misconceptions about the politics and leadership of modern Germany continue to persist. There were American students who asked my host sister if Hitler was still in power. This leaves me wondering: how can I be a better global citizen? I want to be someone who is always trying to learn about what is going on in the world and happening to the people in it.
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