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Student News of Liberty High School


Student News of Liberty High School


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Biggest Differences Between Germany and the US From an Exchange Student’s Perspective

What I have noticed so far in my first month in the United States
Patrick Rose
The first photo with my host family at the airport on my arrival day.

As an exchange student in the United States, I have noticed quite some big differences so far. People often ask me the question, “What’s the biggest difference you noticed so far?” I never really have an answer to this question, but in my everyday life I noticed some differences now, or you could also say culture shocks I noticed. Personally, I like all the changes and to live in a new environment. 


  • The shops and food 

The amount of fast food restaurants is huge here. In Germany there are also some companies and more to come, but on every corner here are fast food restaurants with their drive-thrus. I was really surprised that it’s so much. 

The opening times are way longer and at some places you can shop or eat at any time. In Bavaria (southern Germany), some small markets close as early as 6pm on weekdays. In comparison in northern Germany it’s not quite so strict anymore, but on Sundays shops are completely closed on Sundays in all of Germany.  It’s because of the “Shop Closing Law”, since 1956 and it’s a public holiday and rest from work for most people. 

  • Public Transportation 

People drive literally everywhere. I only saw public transportation in New York City. But around my town, it’s not even existing. In Germany people can only drive at 18, that means you mostly have to use public transportation to go outside. For example, in Berlin the trains come every 5 minutes and it’s faster than driving sometimes, because of the traffic. Getting your driver’s license in Germany can take you up to a year and may cost you up to $3,000. About one third of applicants fail the test the first time around. You drive around for hours at a time with someone in the backseat trying to distract you. You also learn to drive without a speed limit on the Autobahn. 

  • No Cash 

The society in America is almost cashless. Normally I like to pay with cash in Germany, because I just have an overview about my amount of money. But when I was in New York City, I couldn’t pay with cash at the airport or in general a lot of places were cashless.

  • The People 

Germans are direct when giving criticism. There is no description around or something like that, they would just say it. Not trying to be rude, just honesty and transparency. 

What I noticed, Americans are more talkative and you develop friendships easier. Everyone makes no distinctions for social standing or levels of formality and informality. In German you make a difference between the formal and informal you. So Germany is very formal and if you learn German it’s important to know about this rule, because otherwise someone could be offended.

The school system:

The entrance of my school in Germany on a sunny day. (Karolina Fris)
  • School days

Germans attend school for around 190 days a year (different between the states) and the school year in the US lasts 180 days. The summer break is only six weeks but they are more breaks over the year. For example, in my state I have two weeks of Easter break, Christmas break, fall break and so on. In recent years, the US has adopted some of those holidays. 

  • Grading 

The German grading system is from 1 to 6, that means one (A) is the best and six is the worst grade (F). 

  • No hall pass and study hall
    A empty classroom from the inside (Karolina Fris )

In a free period the students can do whatever they want during this free time. So they are responsible for what they do. The schools are way smaller than American schools. At my school home are only 600 students and we don’t need a hall pass for anything.

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About the Contributor
Charlize Rossow, Reporter
Charlize Rossow is a junior and this is her first year in publications. She is an exchange student from Germany. Spending time with friends and family is a thing she loves and also playing tennis at Liberty and going to the gym. She likes to travel and to see new places around the world. In the future she would like to do something with traveling or solving crimes. 

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