Without any doubt, one of the happiest day of my life was the day I received an e-mail from ISWI. I had been accepted as a participant at a festival for students in Ilmenau in 2011 – near Frankfurt. It meant a 10 day holiday in the country I had always wanted to visit. My expectations were high and, fortunately, I came back even more excited. And in 2012 I was accepted to another festival – GrIStuF, in the north of Germany. The excitement was even greater.
First of all, visiting Germany was a delight for my eyes, as I am a big fan of its architectural style and paved streets. It’s amazing how Germans managed to reconstruct the old buildings destroyed in WWII and preserve their cultural values. The Soviet buildings in the north impressed me the most. These buildings, so common in every former-Soviet country, no longer look depressing and ugly. The facades are coloured and have flowers at windows. It’s amazing how they fight for creativity and try to transform everything into something beautiful. Young people are also involved, taking part in different projects. The most visible results are the extraordinary paintings on walls. I’m not talking about amateur vandalism, but artistic graffiti that adds something special to the city’s atmosphere.
Of course, people hold a lot of stereotypes about any country. The most common stereotype about Germans concerns their punctuality. From my experience, I can say that their trains and buses can be late by up to 30 minutes. But this doesn’t happen all the time. As a rule, the transport is always on time and follows the schedule.
Another stereotype is based upon their cold behavior toward foreigners. I didn’t talk much to elder people, but young people are receptive and welcome cultural diversity.
When going to a party in Germany, don’t forget to buy the snacks, as the host isn’t supposed to provide you with food or drinks. Always have some 50 cent or one euro coins to slot into the supermarket trolley. Remember that on Sunday the shops are closed and on Saturday, in general, they are only open till 4.00PM. Expect to buy delicious ice cream on the streets at special machines or kiosks. And be aware that a bottle of water can be more expensive than a beer. Be prepared to recycle and sort the rubbish. Unlike in Moldova, they don’t always have free Wi-Fi in parks or cafés. Transport tickets are very expensive, but it’s worth the money. Also, when travelling, the landscape outside the window will include lots of wind turbines, roofs covered with solar panels and beautiful rolls of hay in the fields. And, unarguably, the bike is one of the most important mean of transport.
Travelling and living for 20 days in Germany, proved to me that Germans are responsible about their life and care about the future. Each small thing in Germany is living proof that this nation has strong values, follows traditions and can serve as a model for other countries. I can't wait to visit Germany again.