One thing that people often forget when doing business with someone from another country is that each country has a different set of cultural norms and standards. As Americans, we love to ask lots of questions, mix our personal and professional lives, and use lots of gestures and expressions when talking. But, other countries, Germany included, do not do the same. Now these norms will also vary from person to person, but it is important to get the general idea of what to do/not to do while abroad.
For Germans, they like to keep their personal and professional lives separate. They also do not like being hounded with a million questions all the time and are a bit more tame while speaking. So, when my group and I are abroad and giving our presentation to the client, we need to keep these things in mind so we do not offend or annoy the client with the way we do business. This means keeping everything professional and straight forward (even though that may seem a little boring in our book). This will definitely be a challenge and take some getting used to as we have been living in the American cultural norms our whole lives, and it will take some constant reminders and active attention to make sure we get it right.
Since there are going to be different ways of life in Germany, I hope and expect to pick up a new cultural perspective. Since I am obtaining my international business certificate, I am excited to get to experience what the business world is like in a different country and be able to apply the different tools I have learned from my classes in real life scenarios. I expect to learn how Germans conduct business, address different topics and issues, and how they feel about the different ideas we are researching and building for our presentation. I also hope to learn more casual things about German culture through the consumption of media and observing personal day-to-day life while going to the stores and restaurants.
Overall, I am very very excited to have the opportunity to visit Germany during spring break. It will definitely be a healthy mix of work and play! I love travelling, so they fact that I am given the chance to study abroad a second time during my college career is a dream come true.
Until next time, Auf Wiedersehen !