Nearly one month has flown by since the first day I got here for the internship purpose, Hamburg, Germany. I can still remember the very first thought that came into my mind when I laid my foot on the soil of the Hamburg airport. “This is it. The brand new chapter of my life starts right at this moment…” But of course, as an inherent daddy’s little girl who is 5000 miles away from home, I felt nervous and panicky. But deep down inside I knew I wanted to seek new life experiences which I wouldn’t be able to find at any other places in the world but here.
First things first, I got to admit that everything here is so freakishly different to where I come from (Thailand): the weather, the food, the people, the rules, the ambiance and the list goes on. Oil and water, The Democrats and The Republicans would be the closest thing to compare. However, the “culture” is what I find the hardest to adapt. From my perspective, people here are hard-working, serious and career-oriented. When they work, they work. They rarely talk with one another during working hours, whereas Thais are friendly and fun loving. They always smile at each other even when they have nothing to say. Although they come from different families and backgrounds, they often call each other “sister” “brother” or “uncle”.
Another example is the way Germans express their feelings. In the forward-speaking society, to be able to be aware of one’s feeling directly is the most important foundation in the relationship. On the contrary, putting too much feeling in one bowl can leads to many contradictory feelings and can be seen as mean and selfish. Thai people keep their feelings inside them for the sake of harmony and to keep others satisfied even though it involves lying to one another.
With all the best intentions, I’m not arguing about which culture is better. Every society has their own ways of livings, and apparently, understanding their cultures is useless unless you start learning to adapt and immense yourself in their environment. Luckily, day by day, I grew more comfortable in sharing my feelings, the genuine ones… as once I have been told… when in Rome, it should be best to do as the Romans do.