What it’s like to be a German (international student) in the US

Things Americans say to you:

  1. “You’re my favorite German!” – Me: “Really? How many do you know?” – “Uhm…, one?”
  2. Me: “I’m from Germany.” – “Really me, too! My great-grandfather and his cousin were born there!” No bitch, I mean I was born and raised there.
  3. “So, like, do you guys still have Nazis in Germany? And uh… What do you think about Hitler?”
  4. “You can’t be cold! You’re from Germany!” So? Can you blame my body for adjusting to these nice California temperatures after 6 years?
  5. “Your accent is cute.”
  6. “Really? From Germany? You barely have an accent!”
  7. “Your accent doesn’t sound German at all.” Lucky me.
  8. “I can hear your accent now when you say XY.”
  9. “I think you have a strong accent.”
  10. “What????!!!! You don’t know cartoon / TV show / celebrity / etc.?” Nah, didn’t grow up here. “Oh, that’s right.”
  11. My all-time favorite: “Do you have leaves in Germany?”
  12. “So, where’s Oktoberfest at? I wanna go!” 99% percent of the Americans who tell me that, will most likely never go.
  13. “What’s Germany’s capital?” Paris. Obviously.
  14. “Are Prague / Amsterdam,etc. in Germany?” As much as Sydney is in the U.S.
  15. “Germany is in Europe, right?” Again, apparently no Geography lessons here, apparently. But why am I bothered. America is the best country in the world and has EVERYTHING there is to offer. Until you finally make your first trip abroad…
  16. “I know a German word: Das Boot – wait, is that German?”
  17. “Shaizaaa.” Almost. It’s Scheisse.
  18. “Whaaaaaat? You can drink when you’re 16?” Me: “Yup, but drive only once you turn 18.” – “Whaaaaaat?”
  19. “I wanna get on the Autobahn.”
  20. “What, you don’t like beer? What kind of German are you?”
  21. “You’re my cool foreign friend.” – “Cool, you’re my cool American friend.” Wait, I have a few cooler ones.
  22. “I’ve always wanted to go to Germany!” Really? So why don’t you?
  23. “I love Germany!” – Me: “Really, what about it?” – “Mmmh let me think…”
  24. “Do you guys really walk around in Lederhosen?” Absolutely. All the time.

Things I miss:

Food, family, friends. In that order.

Other mentionable things:

  1. I bond easily with other international students / people from different ethnic backgrounds, and I love it! There are always funny stereotypes about Americans to share.
  2. I learned about the different stereotypes Americans have about themselves and others. I didn’t know that black people love chicken and watermelon, that Asians are bad drivers and good in Math, and not even that the French (Germany’s neighbors, in case you’re bad at Geography) don’t shave their armpits.
  3. Whenever Germany is mentioned by teachers, friends, or others, I feel an excitement and am proud to be from there.
  4. I have paid probably ten times more that a resident’s tuition for my education that I could have had for almost free in Germany. However, I don’t regret it.
  5. I had to learn flip cup, beer pong, and Skadoosh.
  6. There’s come a point where I ask Americans for words of which they don’t even know the meaning.
  7. I have surpassed quite a lot of Americans’ English skills.
  8. I had to learn about American holidays. And had to find friends to take me in during Thanksgiving or Christmas, for example.
  9. I feel awkward when everyone but me is saying the Pledge of Allegiance or singing the national anthem; therefore I pretend to say/sing it.
  10. My fellow Germans now tell me that I have such a strong American accent (speaking both English and German)
  11. The longer I’m here, the more German friends I seem to lose.
  12. German food here does NOT taste like mom’s / grandma’s food!
  13. Germans my age do not waste as much time on social media as I do.


Featured image off Flickr by 5chw4r7z.

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  • That’s awesome! I’m an American, and I want to go to college over in Germany. Yes, our country seems to be to into social media and we are very lacking in geography skills(I’m a geography nerd btw). College tuition is awesome over there, it’s ridiculous here in the states and besides that I’d much rather be in Germany. Anyways, I feel like I’d fit in better over there and I really enjoy the language, culture, and ofcourse the food! Just wanted to say hello and glad you enjoy it so much over here.

    • Jennifer Schlueter


      Hi Caleb,
      Thank you for reading and sharing!
      I’m hoping it’ll all work out for you with your studies abroad 🙂 (studying abroad is THE BEST thing in the world that I’d recommend to EVERYONE no matter where they’re from!). If you ever have any questions about Germany, feel free to reach out or find out more on this blog.
      All best with your travel blog too!