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Some Differences between Germany and the USA

Cemil Ozyurt

Cemil Özyurt -

For the past three years we have been regularly publishing special European editions of our TURKOFAMERICA magazine, giving us the opportunity to test the pulse of the European world of business and commerce.

By meeting with Turkish representatives from the worlds of business in the USA and in Europe we have also had the chance to see and experience some of the differences between the “old” and the “new” world.


This edition has allowed us to conduct our own research and observations and thus to compare and contrast the US and Germany. Here’s some of what we discovered:

  • While people in Germany seem to live to work, Americans are more likely to work to live.
  • Foreigners living in Germany are perceived as being outsiders who upset the balance of the country and as people who do not integrate into the country. In the USA foreigners are seen as people whose differing cultures enrich the country.  
  • The welfare system in Germany and the opportunities it provides can easily be taken advantage of. The USA doesn’t even have a welfare system that people can abuse.
  • Even fourth generation migrants in Germany are seen as being “foreigners.”  In the USA the second generation son of a Kenyan immigrant can even be nominated for the highest office in the land.
  • While the Italians introduced pizza to the Americans, thus saving them from starving, the Turks brought döner to the Germans, providing the nourishment for of a healthy generation of Germans.  Turks play a critical role in the food sector in Germany.
  • While a Turk who immigrated to the US in 1990 has become the owner of a company that brings in 10-20 million dollars each year, many Turks who immigrated to Germany in the 1960s still haven’t learned the procedures for setting up a company.  
  • Germans treat the Turks that live in their country much like the Americans treat the Mexicans who live in theirs. The first thing an American thinks of when hearing the world “Mexico” is Taco Bell, while when the Germans think of Turks they immediately think of döner.
  • When we meet with a German politician the conversation almost immediately turns to the subject of integration and the problems faced by immigrants. When we speak with an American politician the conversation is generally about Medicare, Social Security, Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Turks who have lived in Germany for forty years and are still not German citizens tend to be proud of this fact, while Turks living in the States want to become citizens as soon as possible.
  • You pay the same money it would cost to go by train from Hamburg to Cologne in Germany to fly from New York to Miami in the US on a 3 hour flight.
  • Baggage carts at the Düsseldorf  Airport are free, while it will cost you 3 dollars to use a cart in New York.    
  • If your car breaks down in Germany you can communicate with the repair truck driver in English, while in the USA the bus driver who drives you home may not know any English.
  • Speed limits on the Autobahn can be effortlessly broken in Germany, while speeding in the US and not getting caught by the cops takes a whole lot of effort.
  • High school graduates in Germany all speak enough English to get by, whereas high school graduates in the US may not even be able to point out Germany on a world map!!
  • You can meet your friends in Germany at the train station and drink until you are all sizzled.  You can only do this in your dreams in the States.
  • While it is considered normal in Germany for a police officer to ask to see your identification papers, whether at the station or on the street, other than at the airport, you are almost never asked to hand over a passport in the US.  
  • Trains in Germany will take you to even the most distant corners of the country, while in the States you cannot leave home without your private car.
  • In Germany as a tourist you can only stay in Germany for the period of your ticket. In the States the officials on duty at the entry points decide how long you can stay.
  • Germans you happen to meet on the road are pleased when you speak to them in English. Americans speak only English so they simply assume that you will as well. 
Last modified onSaturday, 06 May 2017 10:07