German Apprenticeships (and why the USA needs them too)

Did you know that student loan debt is the second largest source of debt for Americans (mortgages are the #1)? Excuse my German, aber das ist für’n Arsch. I have student loans. In fact, I graduated with the average amount of student loan debt for someone with a Bachelor’s degree: $30,000. Luckily, this number is not increasing since college education is free in Germany. However, it is still waiting for me when I graduate and cannot keep it under deferral any longer. But what choice do Americans have? Due to the recent trend of “up-credentialing,” jobs that traditionally required only Continue Reading

On Paid Vacation

Unfortunately, my contract for the part-time job I have had for the past year came to an end. In fact, today was my very last day. I’m not too sad, though, because I will still be paid until the end of September. How? Germany! I have been working a part-time job at my university since October 2014. The job is great, the pay is great, everything is great. Learning that I had paid vacation days made it even more great. At just 15 hours per week, I never expected I would have any kind of benefits. Heck, I worked full-time Continue Reading

Germany’s Obsession with Titles

Recently, I saw a poster on campus for a lecture called Warum ich als Wissenschaftler der Bibel glaube (Why I believe the bible as a scientist). However, it was not topic that caught my attention. Rather, it was the man’s name. Here is a picture of the bottom half of the poster: The name of the man who is giving the lecture is “Dir. U. Prof. A. D. Dr. Werner Gitt.” His titles take up more space on the poster than his actual name! What the heck do these letters even mean?! Well, let’s take a look… Dir. = DirectorU. Continue Reading

German Dialects vs. American Dialects

Dialects are a controversial topic in Germany. When raising a child, many parents are confronted with the dilemma of whether or not they should raise their child with dialect or raise them speaking Hochdeutsch (standard or “high” German). Although Marco must speak Hochdeutsch daily (both at work and home), he is still a big proponent of keeping dialects alive. And I have to say that I am too. So, one weekend, Marco and I decided to test our German dialects by taking an online German dialect quiz from the German news outlet Spiegel. Here are our results: Marco Marco comes Continue Reading

An American’s Reaction to Holidays in Germany

In terms of public holidays, Germany and the U.S. are fairly similar with around 10 public holidays each (the actual number depends on the specific U.S. state or German Bundesland). However, Germany takes public holidays much more seriously than the U.S. So, on German public holidays like today (Christi Himmelfahrt – Ascension Day), the following situation is embarrassingly common: When the Germans have a holiday, that means everyone gets a holiday — even the cashier at the grocery store and the barista at the coffee shop. Considering that I have memories of shopping at Walgreen’s on Christmas Day and buying Continue Reading

Thanks, German Public Healthcare!

My American friends probably don’t feel like reading more about me gushing on about how German public healthcare is awesome. But as someone living with a chronic illness and has experienced the inefficient American healthcare system firsthand, I just can’t help it! Last week, I got this very exciting letter in the mail from my German health insurance provider: My German public healthcare is going to cover all the costs for my new insulin pump, which is worth over 3,000 Euro! Well, I do have to pay 10 Euro, but I can live with that. Especially since my current insulin Continue Reading

My First Experience with German Public Healthcare

Although I have been living in Germany for well over a year now, I had never actually gotten German health insurance. This all changed when I started my Master’s in Germany, however, as being enrolled in a German university made me eligible for public health insurance. Since I have Type 1 Diabetes, a chronic disease that could easily eat up a couple hundred dollars a month in medication and doctor’s visits while I was living in the U.S. (and that’s with private insurance), I was very excited about enrolling in German public health insurance. Although I signed up in October, Continue Reading

Toilet Paper Culture: Germans Fold, Americans Crumple

I have a question for you: when you go to wipe after using the toilet, do you fold or crumple the toilet paper? I know this is a strange question. Heck, you may have never even thought about it before. However, when watching TV with the German boyfriend recently, a show mentioned that different cultures have different methods for using toilet paper. In particular, they said that Germans fold and Americans crumple. After hearing this, Marco immediately turned to me and asked (with a grimace on his face), “You crumple the toilet paper?!” “Yeah…” I replied, “Wait, you fold it?” Continue Reading

Celebrating Oktoberfest in Germany

Since I already visited Munich in July this year, I knew I would not be making it down for Oktoberfest. Luckily, Lüneburg hosts an Oktoberfest of their own each year. After receiving a Dirndl last year from Marco’s father and his girlfriend for Christmas, I was excited to finally have a chance to wear it out for the first time. Unfortunately, Marco does not own any Lederhosen. However, he did wear a checkered collared shirt, which is what men traditionally wear with their Lederhosen. For one weekend each September, Lüneburg holds a proper Bavarian Oktoberfest on the city’s main fair Continue Reading

Why German Eggs Would Be Illegal to Sell in the U.S.

If you are grocery shopping in the U.S., here is something you would never see when opening up a dozen of store-bought eggs: I distinctly remember my first time grocery shopping in Germany. I spent quite a while looking for the eggs in the refrigerated section before a friend pointed out that they found them near the bread. As if that was not strange enough for my American brain to process (I mean, who doesn’t refrigerate their eggs?!), I opened the case to check for broken ones and found that they were all covered in feathers, dirt, and god-only-knows-what-else. Over Continue Reading