My name is Dominique Jeanpierre and I am a rising fourth-year public relations major! Currently, I am interning abroad in Berlin, Germany.
From the beginning of freshman year, I had always dreamed of studying across the pond! The adventure, the self-exploration and necessary cultural immersion allure was an experience that I felt was essential to my undergrad years. Of course, as time went by and life ran its course, I began to question if I could still take the opportunity to study abroad. My junior year was coming to an end and I felt that I needed to solidify an internship for the summer, although every part of me itched and yearned to look into studying abroad programs. Fast-forward five months, and I listened to my intuition and luckily, found the internship abroad program at UT!
It has been a full week since arriving in Berlin, and I have come across quite fascinating cultural differences, that were unexpected to say the least, although they might come across as small to some.
If you are ever in Berlin, you may come across a child on the U-Bahn/S-Bahn (train) who is by their self. No worry, it is common here to teach kids self-reliance. I was told that teachers send out notices to parents to instruct them not to take them to school because they need to learn self-reliance. This notable difference to me took me by surprise because I had expected to experience no cultural shock (apart from the language barrier) prior to arriving to Berlin. This philosophy of teaching kids self-reliance at an early age is said to create a more responsible adult.
- No AC
As someone who has grown up in Texas for her entire life, I didn’t think that any hot weather could be too much for me. However, I couldn’t have been more wrong. On one end, the weather in Berlin, quite eerily, parallels Texas. One day it could be sweltering hot, then in the next hour it could be pouring rain and overcast. I am afraid that I might have brought the Texas weather with me to Berlin. And to make things worse, air conditioning units are not common in Germany. Just imagine, Texas heat with no AC (I can’t, but let’s pretend). Now, take that same heat from Texas and couple that with no AC. It has taken some getting used to and I will now never take my ice cold water for granted! That being said, I admire the “Berliners” that continue to be active, despite the scorching heat!
3. Dress Attire
Before coming to Berlin, I made sure to pack business casual outfits for my internship. Upon arrival and observation, I noticed that the dress attire here is casual all the time. Whether riding the train or simply walking around town, expect to see women (and those who identify as women) wearing long, mid-length skirts, and lots of black or grunge/punk/new wave style. And then expect to see men (and those who identify as men) wearing long baggy/ oversized pants with long t-shirts. But for the most part, Berlin style is to wear whatever you want at any time of the day. When waiting for the train one day, I saw someone get off the train wearing a robe. The dress attire here really inspires anyone to be comfortable in their own skin and to also show off lots of art anywhere on their body (tattoos are very, very common even for the older crowd).
Now, those are just a few observations from my first week that I thought would be interesting to share! I can’t wait to follow-up with you all later in the summer and I hope you all enjoyed my first blog post! Until next time 😊
This post was contributed by Dominique Jeanpierre, a 2019 Global Ambassador.
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