The trip to Germany is quickly approaching and I am beyond excited! I am looking forward to traveling to the country and exploring the sites, culture, and meeting our client manroland Goss. While there is a lot to anticipate, I have some preparations to do before I am all set to go.
The cultural norms that I need to adjust to while abroad are the language, method of payment, and fashion. There are only a few short weeks left until we arrive in Augsburg, and I am still very unfamiliar with the language. Though, others reassure me that English is commonly understood, I think it is crucial to have some basic knowledge of the language native to the country you are visiting. This is important to me in the event that I get separated or stuck in a situation where it would be beneficial to be aware of some common German words and phrases. It is also a sign of respect in my opinion to take the time to familiarize yourself with the foreign language because it shows that you value the culture of the country you are traveling to. In order to help tackle this, I am preparing myself to take about a half hour each day until we leave to learn some words and phrases that I believe may aide me on my future endeavor.
Another cultural norm that concerns me is the method of payment while abroad. I have never traveled to Europe nor have I ever had to convert currency, so I am rather worried about doing so. I am still uneasy about which method I should use (cash or credit), but I am settling on cash because I read that accepting credit is not common throughout Germany. I have been researching the exchange rate between the dollar and the euro and the best means to convert money. However, another obstacle I face is that my bank is not popular in Pittsburgh, so I will need to go through my roommate to complete the cash exchange. I am hoping this is fully situated a week prior to my departure, so I am not stressing over it.
While not as pressing as the challenges listed above, I am cautious about the fashion situation abroad. It is custom for women to be dressed nicely and rather fashionable when they go out in public, which is something I too would like to do. I believe not doing so may make me stick out, which is not what I want to happen. My current attire would be considered very dressed down there, and I want to keep up with the cultural norms as best I can. This may also be my one and only trip to Germany, so I want to be able to reflect on my experience and photographs positively without regretting my appearance. I have been researching typical outfits for women, so I am planning according to those. This also involves a pre-departure shopping trip, which will hopefully be fun and budget friendly.
I plan to gain more knowledge of the country and our client while abroad. I am looking forward to experiencing new sites, restaurants, architecture, landscape etc. while in Germany to provide a better perspective of how other people live. I believe it also gives insight into another country’s history in more than one aspect, which is something that needs to be learned first-hand. Also, I hope to gain a better understanding of our client’s wishes and satisfaction with the progress we have made on our project thus far. This time in Germany will allow us to have in-person meetings to discuss expectations and any questions that arise from the work we have completed. Hopefully by the end of the week, we will all be on the same page and all set to complete the remainder of the project and present ourdeliverables during our final presentation in April. Overall, I am looking to grow my professional skillset while working with the client in country as well as my personal development through experiencing a new culture!