This past weekend has been another busy one for me. Today is a banking holiday, so me and few of my friends took the opportunity to go to Prague for the weekend. It was about a four and a half hour bus ride and we left Friday night. Prague was very easy to navigate and was also very walkable. We spent Saturday walking around Prague 1, which is where Old Town is. It was so beautiful. The architecture and all the history was amazing to see. Yesterday we went to the Prague Castle, which was just massive. I was expecting just a normal castle, but it was more like a compound with a large Cathedral in the middle. The views of the city from the castle were just stunning since the castle sits on top of a hill overlooking the city. The only thing I wasn’t expecting was the amount of other tourists there as well. It was a festival weekend in Prague and also a long weekend for people in Germany, so it was very crowded. Prague 1 is also a very touristy place to see just because of its sheer beauty and history.
What I’ve noticed traveling outside of Germany is how difficult it can be assimilating and experiencing other places, especially when I don’t know the language. In Germany I don’t have that much of an issue since I can speak and communicate with them, but when I visited France and the Czech Republic I truly felt lost at times. The languages were so foreign, and while I read up on the cultures, I’m so used to German culture that experiencing anything else is very overwhelming. It can be overwhelming at times because I have to really stop and try to work on figuring out how to communicate, but it is also a really important lesson in tolerance and working on looking past biases.
As far as noticing differences between US and German culture, there are not as many as I had anticipated in my work space. My company is a very stereotypical startup where there’s only a few of us working in one room of we shared co working space. All of my coworkers speak English fluently and it hasn’t been too difficult to communicate with them, and they’ve been very helpful and kind towards me. One of the things that I enjoy about my job is how important the work-life balance is for them. My bosses always take time for breaks and lunch and just general interaction. They’re not so incredibly focused on profits or numbers, but on the relationships and how we the company treats people. This could also be because of the company’s mission to match employers and employees based more on interests and passions rather than just skills.
As far as differences go one of the hardest things for me to get used to is the language. Even though I know it, keeping up can be difficult. I am obviously trying to learn it trying to work on understanding, but it can be difficult. I often times don’t want to ask about specific words I don’t know and try to pick up based on context clues. Another thing I have a difficult time with is the amount of smoking. Not many people in my company smoke, but the amount of breaks they take to smoke is something I’m not used. The amount of smoking in public places, restaurants and clubs can be overwhelming because I then come home smelling like smoke. The pace of the work is something I also slower than I expected it to be. This could just be my company, but the amount of time it takes me to finish tasks is pretty quick and sometimes my boss doesn’t always have another project for me right away. If this is the case, I have been using my time to take Google courses and get certified in programs such as Google Ads and Google Analytics. Another thing that I wasn’t expecting is the amount of feedback I get. I came anticipating to not get a lot of feedback, but my supervisor has been very good at giving me feedback pretty frequently. This has been super helpful since my job isn’t outlined very strictly.
As far as German work culture goes, I am much more comfortable and used to it at this point. Personally, I think I thrive in a work environment that focuses more on the actual people than just the results. While they are pretty similar, I think that the way that people value other workers here is a much better way.