These are the top ten random differences that I’ve noticed in Germany from America (the northeast). I’ve chosen mostly small non-serious things because these were just the first things I noticed that struck me as strange on the first couple of days.
- Faucets and locks turn the opposite way. (I don’t know why this struck me but it took me over a week to get used to the change)
- Wifi can be hard to find. If you want it in your apartment most likely you’ll have to buy it.
- Sheets are not always sold as a set. When I went to the store I could only find a bottom sheet (for the mattress) but I haven’t been able to find a top sheet anywhere.
- You have to obsessively sort your trash (into many different categories not just two like in the US or people may scold you).
- You have to pay for the bags you need at stores (like plastic bags for groceries are not free).
- You have to pay for water and condiments (at restaurants and at the Mensa –cafeteria/dining hall).
- Everything closes exactly on time and that time is early. The latest most places (aside from bars and gas stations) will be open is around 8-9 at night. Nothing is open on Sundays either (aside from said gas station and the train station).
- There are cigarette vending machines everywhere but I have yet to see a regular food or drink vending machine.
- The city is literally littered with bikes. They’re everywhere and in massive amounts.
- Drinking in public is completely okay. It’s socially acceptable at any given time of day too, which really surprised me (since someone had already told me that it was legal to drink in public before I came — I was more surprised by people drinking on the streets at like noon and it not being weird or frowned upon).