by Mrunal from India

Moving to a new country is always a significant change, filled with new experiences, challenges, and learning opportunities. As an Indian who recently moved to Dortmund, Germany, my first month here has been a whirlwind of discovery and adaptation. From cultural norms to everyday behaviors, many aspects of life in Germany are distinctly different from those in India.

A New World of Responsibility

One of the most striking differences I’ve observed is the sense of personal responsibility that people in Germany exhibit. For example, when people eat something, they keep the waste with themselves until they find a proper place to dispose of it. This practice is in stark contrast to what is often seen in India, where littering can be more common. This small but significant difference reflects a broader cultural ethos of taking responsibility for one’s actions and maintaining public spaces.

Rule Adherence and Social Conduct

In Germany, rules are taken very seriously. If there is a rule in place, everyone follows it diligently. There is no inclination to bend or break the rules or to find shortcuts to complete tasks. This attitude extends to everyday life; for instance, people patiently wait for the pedestrian light to turn green before crossing the street, even if no cars are coming. This adherence to rules creates an orderly and predictable environment, which contrasts sharply with the more flexible approach to rules often seen in India.

Government and Public Trust

Another area where I noticed a significant difference is in the relationship between the government and the people. In Germany, the government is strict about enforcing laws and regulations, and they make a concerted effort to fulfill their promises. Because of this, people have a high level of trust in the government and are more likely to follow the rules and regulations set forth. In India, while there is a general respect for authority, the relationship between the government and the public can sometimes be more complex, with promises not always being kept, leading to skepticism and a tendency to circumvent rules.

Challenges in Making Friends

One of the challenges I’ve faced in Germany is making friends. The language barrier is a significant hurdle; not knowing German can make it harder to connect with people. Unlike in India, where it’s relatively easy to strike up a conversation and make friends quickly, here it requires persistent effort. However, once you do make friends, the relationships can be deep and meaningful. It’s important to keep trying and to immerse yourself in the language and culture as much as possible.

Cultural Differences

The cultural shift from India to Germany is profound. Coming from a Hindu cultural background, I find many aspects of life here to be vastly different. The festivals, social norms, and even daily interactions are new to me. However, this exposure to a different culture is also enriching. It allows me to see the world from a different perspective and helps me grow as a person. Embracing these differences and learning from them is an integral part of the experience.

Work Ethic and Time Management

One aspect of German culture that has particularly impressed me is the strong work ethic and the value placed on time management. During work hours, people focus intensely on their tasks, ensuring that every minute is productive. This disciplined approach to work ensures that everything runs smoothly, and everyone feels responsible for their contributions. It’s a valuable lesson that I’ve started to incorporate into my own work habits.


My first month in Dortmund has been an eye-opening experience. The differences between life in Germany and India are numerous, from personal responsibility and rule adherence to the relationship with the government and the challenges of making friends. Despite these differences, or perhaps because of them, I am learning a lot and growing as an individual. Embracing these new experiences and adapting to this new culture is helping me see the world in a new light and improving my understanding of community and personal responsibility.