Cultural Differences: Comparing the USA and Germany

Both of my books about German culture and daily life in Germany contain detailed information about the various cultural differences that business people, expats or travelers should be aware of. The German Way (the inspiration for this website) and the more recent When in Germany, Do As the Germans Do go into some depth about everything from getting a visa to driving, from restaurants to banking, and much more.

But what if you just want an “executive summary” overview of those cultural differences? What if you’re a teacher who could use a simple handout for discussing German culture? What if you have a GAPP exchange group that needs to know how the German host families might approach things differently? What if you just like things plain and simple?

Well, here at our German Way website we now have five new web pages (and more coming) that present Germany/USA cultural comparisons in a straightforward, side-by-side chart format for a variety of topics. These web pages will also print in a full-page format without ads. However, for some of those pages we also offer nice crisp PDF versions that can be downloaded and printed out for classroom or personal use.

For example, in our latest comparison chart (for “House and Home”), you’ll find the following:

USA: American houses and apartments are sold with a kitchen that contains most of the common kitchen fixtures and appliances.
Germany: German houses and apartments are usually sold with a bare kitchen. Usually, the purchaser must buy and install a kitchen, including the kitchen sink!

In the comparison chart for “Miscellaneous” we have this entry:

USA: Drinking fountains are everywhere. Drinking tap water is very common, even in restaurants.
Germany: Drinking fountains are rare. Drinking tap water is frowned on, even though it is safe to drink.

Each cultural comparison chart also includes links to more detailed information from my books or web pages.

One more thing… If you have any good suggestions for new cultural comparisons that we have not already covered, please free to put it in a comment below.

You’ll find our cultural comparison charts here:

Germany and the USA: Cultural Differences
PDF Downloads – Cultural Comparisons

4 thoughts on “Cultural Differences: Comparing the USA and Germany

  1. I don’t think you mentioned that in the USA most cars are automatic, with a few manual transmissions. In Germany it is the opposite. Also, in Germany you change between winter and summer tires and in the USA you just usually get all season radials if you don’t live in an extreme climate.

  2. To blopper: I like those suggestions. After all the rental cars I’ve driven in Germany over the years, you’d think I would have remembered the stick-shift issue.

  3. Should you mention the Metric system vs. Imperial for measuring distances/weights/etc.?

Comments are closed.