Culture, Customs and Traditions by Savanna King

With my time abroad, I experienced many incredible events. In Berlin, Germany, there was the weekly festival at Mauer Park every Sunday where they have local vendors that are selling art and clothing, and food trucks that sell all kinds of international cuisines. There is also a large grass space that is filled with people playing instruments, singing and dancing. It is a great atmosphere and I enjoyed attending this Sunday festival during my time in Berlin. I got gifts for my family and friends and it is the perfect place to buy unique, handmade items and
speak to a lot of cool people. We also attended the Kunst festival in Berlin (Kunst is art in German), and the art pieces we admired there were incredible. They only had it there for a
couple of days, so we were happy that we stumbled upon this festival. Before coming to Germany, I was learning the local language but when I got to the country, there was an expedited learning time as I picked up on dialect, slang and other phrases as I met more people my age that spoke German as their first language. Although, my first culture shock wasn’t with the language but instead with the public transportation system. As soon as I got off the plane and had to travel 35 minutes by train, I quickly realized that I didn’t fully understand how the system works, even with the app that we were recommended to use. I finally found the U-Bahn, which is one of the public transportation systems in Germany, butwhen I got on I didn’t know how to download a ticket. I was very worried but managed to buy the ticket as the conductor was checking for tickets. Whew! After about a week, I became a pro at using public transport with the help of my other friends that were in Germany with me. Other cultural differences is that most people in Germany walk, ride bikes or use public transport instead of driving. Also, there are 4 different bins for waste instead of just the one or two that we use in America. These cultural differences have changed my perception of America as I really have noticed how important it is to recycle and pay attention to how we as individuals and as a community as a whole are affecting the environment. As a biology major at Cofc, I would like to
make more of a difference on campus and in the Charleston community when we travel back to the states. At first, adjusting to the different culture was very challenging, but once I got the hang of it, I found myself appreciating the culture so much more and respecting the differences.

Train Station in Berlin

Mauer Park

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