Going abroad: internship in Detmold, Germany

Detmold - Germany is the place where I'll be spending most of my time these months. I found a nice and interesting internship abroad and would like to share my first experiences and thoughts with you. 

It has been two weeks now since my arrival in Detmold, and I would have never imagined adapting so fast to this new environment. I think it partially might have to do with the fact that it reminds me so much of my hometown, but I could be wrong of course.

It is funny how people, although being from different countries, ergo being from different cultures, can still show such similar behavior. Whether I go to a bakery in Germany, Belgium or the Netherlands, there’s always the friendly lady behind the counter with red cheeks and apron tied around her waist. She will always ask if I want the bread cut in slices, and if I need anything else. And I will always pay and then leave until the next time that I go back. Different countries, same interactions and habits.

Of course, I do notice differences between being in Belgium, the Netherlands or Germany, and whether they’re big or small, they’re simply there. An example could be that in many ways, Germans interact in similar ways like the Dutch, but different than Belgians. By this I mean that, for example, Germans, much like the Dutch, have a rather direct way of communicating what they want or think. Quite opposite to this, Belgians often shy away from direct confrontation and are more diplomatic in their phrasing and word choices. Yet, each way of communicating has its charms.

Now, another (major) difference that I have noticed, is the difference in ‘cuisines’: Germans have a much ‘heavier’ typical cuisine compared to the Belgian one, which has many French influences. Of course, my opinion may or may not be influenced or slightly tinted by stereotypes, but nonetheless I feel like some typical German dishes can be quite rich in calories, but also flavor. Now you may wonder on what else than stereotypes I base my judgement.

Well, the day I arrived in Detmold, I moved in with a very nice and welcoming roommate, which has cooked a few times for me already. Did I mention that she is 73? Well, now you know! Upon my arrival, this lovely lady promptly told me that for the next 3 months (the duration of my stay) I should consider her as my grandmother, and she will consider me as her grandson. Although this small-to medium sized town in Germany might not be THAT far from my hometown in Belgium nor Rotterdam, it does feel nice to be welcomed like this and to be made feel like this is my new home. I precisely chose the word home and not house, because yes, I do consider this as my home for the next couple of months.

As you can see, so far so good! It is time for me to go now, because I am scared that I will wake up my (newly found) grandmother, who is peacefully taking a nap in her armchair in the living room.
In the wise words of the one and only Arnold Schwarzenegger: “I’ll be back!”


Publication date: 17 May 2017