For those expats planning to go to Germany soon, we recommend you to read the list of dos and don’ts we have in this blog. As an expat, it’s essential that you know about the basic standards of Germany. You don’t need to memorize all the laws in the country. You don’t need to be aware of all the rules and regulations as well. You just need to know the basics so that by the time you get to Germany, you will know how to socialize with the locals without getting uncomfortable about your actions.
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In this blog, we shared the dos and don’ts that you will normally observe in Germany. You may use this blog as a guide and share this with your family and friends who are in Germany as well.
How to Behave in Germany
To behave in Germany, you need to know what kind of environment the country has. Remember that you are going to a new place. You might need to adapt to the new surrounding and be familiar with the norms locals are used to. You can start with the dos and don’ts.
Also Read: Philippine Embassy in Berlin, Germany
Do’s in Germany
If you want to know more about the acceptable gestures and behavior in Germany, here are the dos:
- Do be punctual. Germans are known to be always on time, whether it’s about business or personal matters. You should always follow your appointment and leave a good impression to your German counterpart.
- Do shake hands when greeting everyone, including children. Learn the word “Guten Tag,” which means “Good day.” You will use this word frequently when you are in Germany. Also, shaking hands is a form of greetings in Germany. You should get comfortable by doing this.
- Do use the title plus the last name of your German counterpart when addressing him or her. You should say “Herr” for mister or “Frau” for Mrs. You should also use “du” when talking to an older person.
- Do be formal depending on the occasion. If you are going to attend to business events, make sure to dress formally. You can wear casual clothing when attending other types of occasion. For women, avoid wearing flashy jewelry as you might attract robbers.
- Do learn a few German words before you actually go to Germany. It helps a lot if you know some popular German words so you can connect with the locals when you are there.
- Do avail of your own medical insurance if you are intending to stay longer in Germany. Medical bills can be expensive in the country. You might need insurance to cover your bills and to save money as well.
- Do take off your shoes when you are visiting a German house. It’s part of their tradition and also to pay respect to the locals who invited you.
- Do give flowers when you are going to visit a German home. However, avoid giving carnations or lilies or chrysanthemums as they are used for mourning and funerals. You can give yellow or tea roses.
- Do use the word “Guten Appetit” before eating and “Prost” before drinking your wine or beer. They mean “good appetite” and “cheers.”
- Do be comfortable talking about politics and philosophy. Germans appreciate it better when you talk about things with a sense rather than non-sense conversations.
- Do take cash with you when you are shopping or eating around Germany. Many shops don’t take credit cards.
- Do leave a tip. It’s customary to leave tips in Germany. It’s usually 5-10% but you can give more than this percentage if you think the service is outstanding.
Don’ts in Germany
You also need to consider the don’ts in Germany. These are the things that you should avoid doing once you get in the country. Here are the don’ts that you need to take into account together with the dos above.
- Don’t be late. Germans are punctual people and they don’t like someone to be late especially during business meetings.
- Don’t wait to be seated whenever you are dining in at a German restaurant. It’s normal for strangers to share tables. Be comfortable.
- Don’t do the “Nazi Salute,” shout “Heil Hitler,” and use symbols of the Third Reich. These are considered criminal offenses in the country.
- Don’t get drunk in a public place. Being drunk is frowned upon in public places.
- Don’t put your elbows on the table when eating. You should only place your hands on the table. Putting your elbows above is not a good sign of proper table manners.
- Don’t jaywalk. If you get caught, you will be fined for jaywalking.
- Don’t eat using your fingers. It’s not a proper table manner as well in Germany.
- Don’t drink tap water when you are at a restaurant.
- Don’t just bring credit cards as most restaurants in the country don’t accept credit cards. Bring cash with you.
Tips when going to Germany
A helpful tip when going to Germany is to equip yourself with essential information that might contribute to your peaceful stay in the country. Remember that you are in a different place. You will meet different kinds of people. If you are planning to stay in Germany for a long period of time, you need more information about the country’s culture, tradition, and norms. You should not be confident to fly to Germany until you have the knowledge of the basic things you need to remember. Germany is a different country than the Philippines. If you will come from Asian countries, there will be big adjustments for sure.
Don’t forget that you also need to study the laws after you get a good grasp of the basic dos and don’ts. You may search on the internet or ask a friend or relative who has been to Germany. You may get information from them. You may also ask advice on how they were able to live in Germany despite cultural differences. You can do a lot of preparations when going to Germany. Start with the basics and you will be able to adjust accordingly.