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.