Great question! It's tough to answer because there are so many things, but...two big moments. Watching my host father grab two flies in his bare hands and kill them by throwing them to the ground. (does that count?) And one other thing is being told to slow down while eating. It was essentially a very blunt conversation about how "gross" Americans look while eating because they shovel and eat so fast. That was a big shock and blow to my level of comfort I had with eating in front of people. Germans take their time with things, and I have always rushed to eat, not really tasting anything and overeating at that. Now, I slow down and think about the food. It's refreshing.


  1. The fly-catching thing is not really that _typical_ for Germans, although quite a few do that.

    But yes, eating slowly is encouraged in Germany. It's healthier, too, and you get more of the flavor.

    Personally, my biggest moment of culture shock in the USA was when I tried to walk to a shop in a different part of Columbus, OH. Finding that there were no footpaths to my destination (or indeed, from one neighborhood to the next) was the first shock. But the main one was when I discovered that the bridge I wanted to use to cross a river had _no_ sidewalks at all. After one and a half hours of walking, I had to turn back...

  2. Now that is serious shock! That semi-occurred to me while with a host family in Southern Germany. I had decided to walk home after the first day of class, thinking my house wouldn't be that far. It took 45 minutes and one path led me to a carpath (no sidewalks)but I took the plunge and ran the whole thing. That night at dinner my host father told me it was dangerous and I should never do it after school again only mornings. But, like I was going to run by cars again? No way!