People and Culture in Germany

Prepare for a roller coaster of feasts, treats and temptations as you take in Germany’s soul-stirring scenery, spirit-lifting culture, big-city beauties, romantic palaces and half-timbered towns.

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Remember how your parents used to tell you to keep your elbows off the table during meals? Or that it’s rude to slurp your soup? Well there’s good news guys, these American cultures and customs don’t always translate to other countries! While the local people you meet won’t expect you to be fluent in their language, culture and customs, it is important to familiarize yourself with them.

Did you know? German’s are extremely punctual and you should always arrive on time to class, tours, appointments, etc. You can learn more about German etiquette here: Vayama


“Do your best to fully immerse yourself in the culture and take advantage of the opportunities abroad. This is your chance to experience many new things: new people, new food, new places, new traditions, new languages, new everything! Even if you feel physically or emotionally tired, get out there, leave your fear at home, and bring a positive attitude. Don’t take anything for granted. Even the most seemingly insignificant experience will become a highly valuable memory in the future.” – Debora C., Intern in Barcelona Alumna.

Non-verbal Communication:

-Smiling: Smiling is not used to express politeness the way it is in the United States, Germans tend to only smile at close friends and relatives.

-Eye Contact: Eye contact as important, if you do not make eye contact with someone when speaking with them they may see you as dishonest or untrustworthy.

-Formality: You should always greet someone with “Herr” or “Frau” (Ms. or Mr.) and their last name.

-German’s are straightforward and value clear and to the point communication, so don’t confuse their bluntness as them being rude and don’t take it personally!


Hello – Hallo

Guten Morgen/Guten Abend – Good morning/evening

Bye! – Auf Wiedersehen

How are you? – Wie geht es Ihnen?

Please – Bitte

Thank you – Danke


Check out these suggestions about tipping in Germany: Tripadvisor