2. It is important that you are aware of any travel warnings and restrictions that may apply to the countries you are travelling to and from.
3. Health insurance should also be made a high priority as healthcare in Germany is relatively expensive.
4. Unless you are travelling from Southern Europe you will need an adaptor if you plan to bring appliances with you, most airports sell these adaptors fairly cheaply. The electricity in Germany is 220V, 50 Hz.
5. German weather is often unpredictable even throughout the summer months, it is best to come prepared.
6. Germany uses the metric system, please refer to the Metric-system
7. The currency in Germany is the Euro.
Do's and Don'ts in Germany:
There are some important guidelines to remember when dealing with and meeting people in Germany.
· Shaking hands
This is the usual way to greet somebody, whether it is for the first time, as you introduce yourself, or for the first time that day, shake hands whenever possible as this is the polite thing to do.
There is great emphasis put on punctuality throughout Germany and it is considered rude if you are not on time for a meeting, make sure you apologise if this happens.
- Take a bottle of wine or a small present with you for the hosts and make sure you compliment the cooking.
· Table manners
- It is common to say 'Guten Appetit' to people as you start eating, or in Swabian sometimes just 'Gute'. Also keep your elbows off the table.
· Formal and informal language
('du' and 'Sie') - This is something that is fairly alien to the native english speaker, with there being almost always two different ways to say everything depending on who you are talking to and in which context, with there also being about six different versions of the word 'you'. It is a bit tricky at the beginning but you will find that you will soon pick it up and can adapt easily depending on the situation. It is usual to use the formal "Sie" with people older than you, especially in the work place, however younger people and people at university use "du". Good friends also, regardless of age will speak informally to each other as well as family members. If you are not sure whether to speak informally of formally, start with formal, if the people you speak to say "du" to you, you know you can speak informally to them from now on. Always observe how the people speak to you and it is always best to use the formal language if you are unsure.
· Title and Surname
- If you are speaking formally to people, you will need to use their title and their surname. First names are only used when speaking informally to each other, so make sure you listen when they introduce themselves. If they introduce themselves with their first name it generally means you are free to use it. However, with their surname make sure you keep to the formal language. Using someones title and surname is especially important in business communication.
- Do not be surprised if you are spoken to in a very direct way. The people are not meaning to be rude, directness is very common in Germany, people say what they think, so do not be offended by this.
- Shops are nearly always closed on a Sunday and also usually on Saturday afternoons except for the supermarkets. In the smaller towns, shops may also be closed during lunchtime. Shops are also closed during German national or regional holidays. Therefore plan when the best time for you to go is to avoid disappointment.
- If you are driving in Germany make sure you always drive on the RIGHT hand side of the road. Also go the RIGHT way around roundabouts and remember to give way to the left when using roundabouts. When using minor roads inside towns or villages make sure you give way to the right if there are no markings on the road - so keep to the speed limits. Also when crossing the road always look left before right. If in doubt give way.
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