Let me introduce myself

My name is Sabrina and I was born in the United States, California.  In 1981 I met my husband Klaus, a German, and became what he likes to call his “American souvenir”.  After his 18 month stint in the US, Klaus brought me to Germany where I have lived since.

Living in any new country means learning the language and adjusting to the culture. I can tell you from experience that no one is truly prepared for culture shock. In the meantime I have learned that most people first realize having lived through this shock once they are relatively assimilated to life in the new culture. For some people culture shock can be so upsetting that they return home shortly after. Sometimes I wanted to return to the US too. But now after 30 years I feel quite comfortable living in Europe and “doing as the Germans do”.  

 If someone had been able to explain to me then, the differences between Germans and Americans, I probably would have had an easier time in my early years. Instead I had to learn so many things on my own: an exercise that took many years of research, asking questions, and reflection.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but my adjustment was preparation for my current profession: today I am an intercultural communication specialist. This means I share my knowledge and life experience with working professionals who find working with people from other parts of the world confusing and upsetting. In this function I help others to learn that we live and think differently as a result of our up-bringing, education, and social context. 

 This blog should reflect my work and share with you, dear reader, the interesting world of cross-cultural interaction, with a special focus on German-American relations.

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Let me introduce myself

  1. Mary Georgiou

    Very interesting from someone who knows these cultural differences from the inside. It is amazing how despite good intentions, misunderstandings can easily occur even between cultures considered very similar. I am thinking of Greeks and Cypriots where turn taking and silence are different, speaking very fast and simultaneously vs waiting for interlocutor to finish and feeling less anxious by silence.

  2. Fascinating. It is interesting that there is such a difference between Greeks and Cypriots. I believe that some of the greatest potential for misunderstanding is when people perceive similarity when there are many differences.

  3. So, what to say. It’s about time this blog was up here, Sabrina! Ha! Delighted to find this and welcome to the blogoshere.

  4. You said map I thought GPS that keeps me self-reliant.

    Interesting, I’ve always been one to study people and take my cues from them.

    Will continue to read your blog.

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