Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Ethnographic Research

So, we've been doing a little research as we prepare to move overseas. I majored in Intercultural Studies in college, so once I hopped on the Internet and did a little fancy googling, I proclaimed that I would be an awesome ethnographer; Carson confirmed.

Obviously all it takes is the right search engine, right?

Most of my research efforts have been fruitful, and I feel like we are a few steps closer to fitting in a little more and not making cultural gaffes. I'm excited to be there and experience actually living overseas for an extended period of time and I'm really curious about what we will take away from this whole experience. 

Here are some things we learned that we found interesting. These aren't necessarily the most important things, but it's fun to read up and learn about a culture we will get to experience in a few short months! 

Germans don't celebrate birthdays until the day - never early. Also the birthday individual brings the cake. 

M√ľnster in particular is very very bike friendly and there are more bikes than people.

There tends to be a lot of sock-with-sandal, and it's sort of strange to wear so less sandals (helpful as we pack because I'm not going to do it. I can't!).
The German work week is about 31 hours and most people leave work in the early afternoon on Fridays. 

Small talk is less common - chatting about the weather at the checkout line is considered a little strange. In that vein, smiling at people on the street isn't normal either. My southern-ness is a little sad about this, but my introverted side is not sad at all. 

As we've looked for a place to live, we have been so surprised to find that some places listed as "unfurnished" don't even come with toilets, sinks or appliances. I guess people tend to live in places for a longer time period and so they are okay purchasing all those things and then taking them along when they move? 
The crime rate is really low! 

There were lots of other things we gleaned from lists and websites and I intend to do a lot more research. It's fun to look up these things knowing its for real and not for my ethnography class! 

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