Would you like to live like a local in Germany? Keep reading to find out some tips and tricks that will put you on the express path to feeling like a local. For most people, when they think of German they will picture lederhosen, pretzels and beer. Unfortunately, this is only a small part of the country and for a short time every year – Oktoberfest. The good news is with the following tips I can help you become a local in one of the most amazing countries in the world.
It always helps to speak some of the local language. It offers so many more opportunities when you can speak a little bit of their own language. Although most Germans have extremely good English skills they do appreciate the effort you put in. Being able to communicate in German to the locals will make it easier for you to live like a local. The same goes for any other country, want to feel like a local in France? Learn some French. What about Spain? Learn Spanish.
This is something that catches me off guard regularly, the only things open on Sundays are restaurants and other important establishments such as a baker in the morning. Depending on the weather, feel free to take a picnic to your closest park or lake and relax with everyone else. More recently, every few months there seems to be one Sunday when everything is open but only in the bigger cities.
Open a beer bottle with anything
This is definitely a skill to be proud of, using a regular bottle opener is boring, why don’t you try using a lighter? Or a table? The key is to use any tool at your disposal to leverage the cap off the bottle. A goal for anyone wishing to integrate into German culture and feel like a local should be to learn 10+ alternative beer bottle opening methods.
While we’re on the topic of food and drinks- Apfelshorle is an extremely popular beverage in the land of beer. It’s just apple juice mixed with sparkling water, nothing special yet it has an amazing taste. Other popular drinks include Mezzo Mix, Coke and Fanta, and Radler, beer and lemonade. While you’re here feel free to try mixing different drinks and experiments but I’m sure that a German has tried it before.
Follow the rules.
A standard rule for just about anywhere but more so in Germany. Those red and green lights that tell you when you can cross the road are extremely important. It could be the middle of the night, no one around and yet you will see a German waiting patiently for the green man before crossing the road. It’s not the police you have to worry about when crossing the road illegally, it’s the other Germans who will think you’re crazy for risking your own life just to cross the road.
Recycling is a big thing in German culture. Look into any German apartment and you will find that they’ve even got their trash organised into paper, plastic and general trash, bottles are organised separately. Generally, it amazes people to find out that you can get money back by returning bottles to supermarkets or cafes for recycling. You will even see homeless people walking around parks on warm summer days with shopping trollies or huge bags full of bottles they’ve collected. The key to remember is bubbles or gas in your drink means you can get €0.08 (glass) and €0.25 (plastic). This does not apply to sparkling wine for some reason.
Ever hear the phrase “Breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a peasant”? Since I’ve been in Germany, I’ve had a huge breakfast consisting of different types of bread, cheese, meats and many other wonderful foods. The funny thing is that these breakfasts can seem endless, you might be thinking it’s a sort of race and the winner hast he shortest amount of time between breakfast and lunch. So if you want to feel like a local you better get used to having a long breakfast.
Make sure to have a pair of house shoes handy, these could be a simple pair of slippers. If you’re visiting friends you might want to leave your old sock with holes in them at home no matter how comfortable they are. Germans are notorious for the “no shoes in the house” rule and you should follow it.
Germans love their beer. Local beer or from other parts of Germany are always better than those from other countries. Honestly, if you’ve tried a few different beers in Germany, can you argue with them? It’s very hard to find a bad beer in this wonderful country. There are many different types such as wheat beer, pilsner, helles, dark and black beer … We haven’t even started to mention the craft breweries that have been popping up recently.
Watch the old English comedy “Dinner for One” every New Years Eve. This show has been running on New Years Eve for over 40 years. So if you happen to be in Germany on this special day make sure you watch it at least once. I honestly have no idea why this show has been running for so long (neither does anyone I’ve asked about it, German or not). It’s like a running gag that no one understands but goes along with anyway. Save yourself the hassle and watch it with your new German friends on New Years Eve before you nearly blow your hands off with fireworks.
Talking about fireworks! New years in Germany is completely different to any New Years celebration I’ve ever experienced. My first New Years in the country I went with my friends to a supermarket to buy beer, wine, food and fireworks. It’s that easy. Nearly midnight, we made our way to the river following the crowd of people while dodging fireworks which were being thrown in every direction to watch the cities firework display and create our own with the other locals.
Following these tips will help you make friends and live like a local in Germany. How would you help people feel like a local in your home country? Have you ever tried to feel like a local? Did it work? Share your experiences in the comment section below.