GW Expat Forum Archive 2

German Way Expat Forum Highlights (2)

Forum Topic Threads
The German Way Expat Forum is a discussion group for expats concerned with daily life and the cultural and language aspects of the German-speaking world. Here in the archives we have selected various topic threads that have been discussed recently in the forum.

NOTE: Although we think these excerpts from forum discussions offer useful information, the opinions expressed are those of the persons who posted the original messages. Not all of the statements and information given are necessarily factual. Although in most cases the information is true and based on personal experience, no one should simply accept all of the statements without checking other sources for a second opinion and more current information. None of the statements below should be construed as legal advice.

The Archives
The posts found below were written mostly by English-speaking people living in a German-speaking country. We have organized them into topics of interest to expats in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, or expats-to-be who will soon be there. Can’t find what you’re looking for? Ask in the Forum!

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German Way Forum Topic 3

TOPIC: Shipping to USA

Anyone have any tips on shipping things to the U.S.? I am looking for the cheapest possible method, and it can be as slow as necessary. trying to ship some boxes of clothes if possible. any advice would be appreciated! thanks!

Re: Shipping to USA

Try They offer air freight for boxes from Europe to USA and there is an online calculator so you can see the exact cost. I had some boxes shipped from Ireland through I don’t know if they offer services from Germany to US or not. They do a good job and I got all my boxes delivered by UPS to my door in the US without a hassle.

Re: Shipping to USA

I’m also looking into this. DHL (Deutsche Post) has its DHL Paket (max 20 kg, 120x60x60 cm) for 62 EUR to USA (32 EUR for up to 5 kg, 42 EUR for up to 10 kg). Smaller packages – up to 2 kg – cost 12.90 to the US. Price includes insur. and tracking. So far I haven’t found anything cheaper. If anyone else has, I’d like to know.

Re: Shipping to USA

<< Smaller packages – up to 2 kg – cost 12.90 to the US. Price includes insur. and tracking. >>

The small packages up to 2 kg (“Päckchen”) don’t include insurance and tracking.

For the others, insurance is based on weight (a certain base amount + so much per kg); if you send them via Air Mail they’re insured up to €500.

Re: Shipping to USA

Here is a great shipping calculator and can handle international inquiries:

Just put in the weight and measurements of your package and the destination and it will calculate for you the rates for each carrier.

German Way Forum Topic 4

TOPIC: Anti-Americanism in Germany

Hi, I am a half Austrian that has lived my entire life in the USA where I was born. Because of citizenship laws am eligible to apply for Austrian citizenship. I love Berlin and really have been considering moving there.

One thing I noticed however was a bit of anti-American sentiment in my summer in Berlin and especially outside in the rest of Germany. Frankly I 100% understand and myself am more unhappy with the USA than most anyone I know. Nevertheless I felt a fair bit of critical negativity when people found out I was American.

Is this common or am I overly sensitive?

Re: Anti-Americanism in Germany

I am sorry to hear you went through this! And it is OK to not be OK with it, and it’s also OK to TELL the person that you are offended!

A lot of Americans seem to experience this; I myself never have, apart from one acquaintance who seems to think that insulting the USA every time he sees me is a nice way to make conversation – but he is a macho idiot, largely disregarded by the people we know in common as aggressive and full of hot air.

Most people I encounter know that I moved here out of choice (economic and political) and respect that I am not responsible for slavery, manifest destiny, the Vietnam war, or any other “crimes” the US has committed around the world.

Knowing what I do about the German school system (my partner is a teacher of history, math and science) I know that most Germans leave school with a more nuanced and critical understanding of history and politics than the average American. While you might hear a less-educated American make a comment that “all Germans are Nazis”, you are (in my opinion and experience) less likely to run into a German who thinks you are in the KKK.

That said, I am pretty obviously “alternative” and open and loud about my opinions, including my own critique of American foreign policy, for example. This often preempts any comment on others’ parts, as I am obviously well-informed. The people I tend to associate with also tend to be more critically thinking than the average, but even those “conservatives” I know here
(my partner’s family, who are farmers) have a far better understanding of US politics, culture, and geography than the average American has of Germany, and therefore have a more nuanced approach to critiquing the USA.

Again, I am sorry whenever I hear about anti-Americanism, and must say that it is something I have almost never encountered here. Perhaps because I have made an effort to speak only German since moving here? Don’t know…

One positive thing that I notice is how much support and admiration Germans seemto have for Obama.

Re: Anti-Americanism in Germany

> One positive thing that I notice is how much support and
> admiration Germans seem to have for Obama.

Yes. On several occasions now I’ve had Germans randomly say to me: “Yes We Can!”

Re: Anti-Americanism in Germany

> Yes. On several occasions now I’ve had Germans randomly say to
> me: “Yes We Can!”

and many people called or texted me to congratulate me, or congratulated me in
person, when he was elected. I found that very sweet.

Re: Anti-Americanism in Germany

We have lived in Bavaria for almost 2 years, and I have never experienced any negative comments, behavior, etc toward the US. All the Germans we know, however, we THRILLED at Obama’s victory.

I wonder if feelings toward Americans could be related to the presence of the US military after WWII.

Re: Anti-Americanism in Germany

> I wonder if feelings toward Americans could be related

> to the presence of the US military after WWII.

Certainly not in (West) Berlin, where the presence of the Western Allies, the 1948-49 Berlin Airlift which quickly turned former enemies into friends, Lyndon B Johnson’s visit soon after the Wall was built in 1961 and Kennedy’s rousing “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech in 1963, made West Berlin (and the Federal Republic) firmly pro-Western. If it came to a competition between Americanism and Soviet-style “Real, Existing Socialism” in the DDR, there was a clear winner. And it certainly wasn’t Walter Ulbricht.

Even the Vietnam War (which provoked many anti-American demonstrations) was more about seeing a friend going off the rails than despising the US – its forces in W. Germany were still regarded as a protecting power. People might have railed against US neo-imperialism, but they’d still go home and listen to Jefferson Airplane and The Grateful Dead. 🙂

I’d hazard an informed guess that things deteriorated during the Reagan era, where Reaganomics (and Thatcherism – I’m a Brit) destroyed real jobs, destroyed standards of living, made the rich richer, made the middle class stand still and the poor become poorer. I think that Germans regarded their “Social Market” model as an antidote to the endless privatization,
casualization, de-regulation, de-skilling, downsizing and outsourcing of so-called “Free Market”, laissez-faire capitalism in the Anglo-Saxon world. To listen to neo-liberals (or neo-cons, whatever you want to call them) arrogantly telling everyone that there was “no alternative” to being at the mercy of market forces turned many against the American – and, indeed, the
UK model of capitalism.

The Bush (Blair) era marked the lowest point. The invasion of Iraq on highly questionable evidence, continuing decreases in living standards for the majority whilst bankers and management consultants got ultra-rich, did not win friends nor influence people.

(We said in the UK that the New Economic Order was Robin Hood in reverse – Robin Hood robbed the rich to feed the poor: unregulated capitalism robbed the poor to feed the rich).

Then came the financial crisis and a new President. The bankers, neo-liberal economic theorists and the management consultants have been revealed in their true colours – greedy, manipulative, devious liars. Obama recognizes this – and despite the current gloom, I think there is hope that the future will be brighter. I think most people throughout the world – Germans included – wish the best for America and its potential to make the whole world a better place.

So, take heart, Americans – nobody ever really wanted to be against you!

Re: Anti-Americanism in Germany

> I wonder if feelings toward Americans could be related to

> the presence of the US military after WWII.

As someone else has pointed out, the German view of the USA was very positive after WWII – in large part to the way the American forces treated the Germans in the post-war years. Most Germans in that age group (were kids after the war) have warm feelings towards Americans.

In my experience over the years, although there have always been anti-American critics in Germany (anti-Coca-Cola imperialism), most Germans had positive feelings about the U.S. until the Cheney-Bush administration destroyed a lot of goodwill in their eight years. (Spare me the political flames; it’s just a fact.) The joy over Obama partly reflects that. Germans are once again happy that they can feel good about the USA again. (Whether their joy is justified, only time will tell.)

Personally, I never had Germans who were nasty to me as an American — other than to express their distaste for U.S policies.

Re: Anti-Americanism in Germany

I have to agree… I grew up in Germany and returned here two years ago after 20 years of being in California. My father was a WW2 veteran (american) and my mother was a french woman from Dijon. We never had any problems whatsoever…when I grew up and Germans most assuredly knew (due to the ages of my parents, 1926 and 1924) that they were “on the other side”. My parents were always polite and respectful…in any country…and truly enjoyed Germany. We lived in a village and in those days our Chrysler had horrible, green, usa plates with a big usa sticker on the back of the car. we were seen a mile away.

now, in 2009 i live in franken with my little boy. it is a delight. we now have German plates… but all our neighbors in our tiny village know we are american and are so good to us. they frequently bring us treats, always greet us, and once when my water hose was broken and spouting… my handicapped, older german neighbor came and turned it off! needless to say i was horrified at not noticing this had occurred! we frequently discuss politics… and all are very happy with our new presidency, many express concern for his safety, and many of my neighbors my age… late 30s early 40s talk about the new germany…no
more east and west…and we are all so happy with it!

i must say that my whole life has been one of very positive experiences. i do speak german…and most say quite well (although understanding Frankisch) ist ganz schwer fur mich. i try to fit in and “when in Rome….”. the highlight for me…was last summer…the first ever block party in my village…a young german man was singing american country western tunes (think willie nelson) with a live band…and even the older neighbors where tapping their shoes and enjoying it. he speaks not a lick of english…but sings in english superbly. he and his young wife went to georgia twice and loved it and love country western.

i am ganz zufrieden in Deutschland….

Re: Anti-Americanism in Germany

In our part of Bavaria there were several US military bases throughout the 1950s-1980s, and there are still a few remaining. As I’ve mentioned, I’ve not met anyone who disliked Americans just because of who we are. Many of the neighbors I’ve talked to view the American presence as having been a positive thing for Germany–helping to rebuild, providing protection and jobs, etc. It’s nice to know we can get it right once in a while!

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