National Stereotypes

It is all too easy to categorise people according to their nationality. Putting people in pigeon holes (Leute in eine Schublade stecken) and assuming that all are the same can lead to misunderstanding, intolerance and narrow-mindedness (Engstirnigkeit).

One thing I have learnt is that we all have prejudices, conscious or unconscious – it is human nature. I can understand my friends here who still think that English food is terrible, having had a bad experience on their school exchange 40 years ago.

I recently read 2 books: “How to be German” by ex-pat Adam Fletcher and “English” by Ben Fogle. Both, in their own individual way, offer an insight into life in England and Germany. Take them “with a pinch of salt” but they are perhaps worth a read.

National Symbols

Sometimes I like to be a little provocative and to challenge people’s views, so please forgive me for wanting to play the “devil’s advocate”. Here is a list of what some consider to be stereotypical symbols or characteristics of the English and Germans. I would be interested to hear your opinion.

Are they correct? Would you add anything to the list?

I believe all of us carry an invisible rucksack packed with culture, experiences, beliefs, values and morals. These things have been collected over our lifetime. Wherever we go our rucksack is with us and influences who we are and how we behave.

Perhaps the way to lead a balanced life is to occasionally unpack the things in our “rucksack”, take a good look at them and decide if we really need them, if not get rid of them. Nothing should be a burden or too heavy a load.

Please don’t get me wrong- I am far from perfect. What I’m trying to say is that it’s never to late to change!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *