Swathi Shekharan, 11
James River was lucky to hear the insight of two foreign exchange students from Germany. They were both studying at VCU and came through the Fullbright Germany’s Meet a German initiative.
They started by answering some prepared questions comparing Germany to America. A popular topic of discussion was food, and one main difference was that the food in Europe is much fresher, while fast food and fried food is a big part of American culture. To elaborate on this, one student explained how most people just went to the market everyday just to buy the groceries that they needed for the day rather than going to a huge grocery store every few weeks.
When asked about their favorite experiences in the US, they said that they really enjoyed going to concerts, since more artists play in America than Germany, as well as exploring cities such as New York city. One of the student’s college major is finance while on a pre-law track, and the other’s is urban planning.
A very interesting question was asked about what kinds of American stereotypes they had heard to be true, to which they responded: the big SUV cars and using a lot of plastic. According to the exchange students, some must-do activities in Germany include watching a soccer match, hiking, as well as the exciting, historical cities.
The questions were then turned to the audience members, who were very fascinated about the culture in Germany. One of these questions was about the architectural differences. The students responded by saying that there is much more modernism and sprawling cities in America, whereas cities are much older and compact in Germany.
The main thing that they are proud of Germany for is embracing other cultures: because Europe is made up of so many different countries so close together, it is very easy for people to intermingle and intertwine. In fact, they believe that it is something America could do more of. It was such a great opportunity to hear about German culture and receive some personal insight about the differences between the two nations!