There’re so many countries and cultures around the world that it’s hard even to name all of them. And what about getting to know some of their most important features of character? If that’s on your bucket list, you may be facing the impossible. But let’s go back to being serious (and rational)!
It’s obvious that the easiest way to learn something about other cultures is traveling. OK, the question may be – how much time is required to do it? Is one week or month enough? In my opinion, it depends. You can spend a whole year in one country but remain reserved and closed towards its inhabitants (staying in a 5 star hotel, eating food you already know, not talking to strangers) and leave it possessing the same amount of knowledge as before. In the opposite, you can have only one week off but want to experience the new culture to the fullest and you’re not afraid of living in someone’s house (couchsurfing is here an option!), trying traditional food or going to a party without knowing anyone else. It’s all about your attitude!
As I’m supposed to help you with discovering German and Polish culture, I’d love to tell you something about their citizens. But before we begin, a little disclaimer may be necessary. Certainly I don’t know everything about everyone in Poland and Germany (yet :P) so it won’t be a pure psychoanalysis. You’ll „learn” what to expect when traveling to these countries. I don’t want anyone to feel offended, it’s not a 100% description of people in both countries – if you’re different (as a Pole or German), it’s OK, there’s always an exception to the rule.
Polish people are way more spontaneous, they live in the moment but it doesn’t mean they’re irresponsible and don’t care about their duties. In fact, many of them are conscientious workaholics who always meet deadlines (sometimes in the very last minute but – who cares? :P) and try to do their best. Sometimes you may get the impression that they seem to think that if you work hard, you can party harder. I can’t say it’s not true – parties are for them very important but only when they have free time.
They are very open to other people but you won’t experience it in the Polish streets. They rarely smile at strangers what may look like they’re unfriendly but once you talk to them, you’ll usually be rewarded with a big smile and a nice chat.
As a nation, Poles tend to endlessly complain about everything, especially about other people’s (mainly Poles’ as well) behaviour. But when someone’s trying to hurt them in any way, they become united and together try to overcome all the difficulties. This shows a very deep attachment to Poland and other Poles generally but it needs to be activated, it’s not constant.
There’s one thing more – Polish women are the most beautiful in the world so be quick because someone may „steal” your future wife! 😀
(Talking about stereotypes, there’s one about German women but don’t believe everything someone says, it’s definitely NOT a principle.)
On the other hand, Germans might make an impression of being very relaxed and open as they always smile and wish you good day or week but it’s rather something they believe everyone should do. I’m not saying they’re unpleasant or unfriendly, absolutely not! I just think they feel life’s better when you’re nice and you should keep your problems private and not let anyone else sense it’s not your best day.
You can rely on them if you’re not sure about something, they’ll always do their best to help you, usually you won’t even have to ask for it. It won’t be a problem for them if it’d take more time than they thought it’d be and you’ll never feel that they think you’re stupid or that you’re wasting their time. It’s very noticeable in their education system and at schools or universities where you know that the teacher (or lecturer) works to help you and is there only for you, not because he needs money or something else. (That’s one of the biggest differences between Polish and German education system but I’ll write about it in a special post.)
The reason why they like to look so friendly on the outside is because they preserve their privacy very much. Once you enter their friends or family circle, you’ll see they’re wonderful people with a great sense of humour. But don’t come across the idea of going to their home without announcing your visit earlier because they might become uneasy.
I have to say these two nations in general are incomparable. You can’t say which one is „better” as everyone is different and irreplaceable. There’s something about both of them and I’m sure when you meet someone from Poland or Germany, you’ll know at first hand that he/she is valuable and may be your very good friend.