Feeling at home quickly
© WMG Wolfsburg, Photo: Sebastian Dorbrietz
We want you to feel at home in Wolfsburg as quickly as possible. That is why we have put together a few local customs that you need to know about. They refer to ‘typical’ rules and behaviours, but of course do not necessarily apply to every single person or situation.
See for yourself!
People say that people from northern Germany tend to be a little colder and more distant. Despite this, people in Wolfsburg are open to those who come here from other countries. That is because people here have a lot of experience with other cultures – people from more than 150 different nationalities call Wolfsburg home. Look forward to getting to know interesting people and a city with a great quality of life!
Factual and emotional
People from many countries are used to relationships focusing on the interpersonal level. But in Germany, especially at work, the factual or professional level is often more important. However, once people become more familiar with one another, the interpersonal level becomes more important once again. You will soon develop a feel for which level is appropriate in which situation.
Intercultural training often uses the image of an iceberg: what you see on the surface is not always the same as what is hidden underneath. If you want to find this out for yourself, it would undoubtedly be helpful for you to enjoy contact with other people as often as possible. Do not be afraid to ask if something is not clear. The friendlier you are, the friendlier the other person will probably be. Wherever you are new, everyone is sure to be pleased if you introduce yourself.
Please do not be worried if there are more rules here than you are used to. Once you have got used to it, you will be able to appreciate the advantages. For example, you will benefit from the fact that you can rely on agreements, which are almost always recorded in writing here. If you have difficulty with translation, do not hesitate to ask your neighbours or colleagues, who should be happy to help. It is also a good idea to check your letterbox at home regularly to see whether you have received any important letters or bills.
The daily routine in Germany might be very different from what you are used to. One example of a typical German quality is punctuality. Most people keep very precisely to the time they have agreed – be it at work, meeting friends or a doctor’s appointment. If you are invited somewhere, it is usually polite to tell the host whether or not you will be coming. If you want to visit someone at home, many people here prefer it if you contact them first to arrange a convenient time.
The Germans are usually considered to be very direct. Do not be surprised if you hear “yes”and “no” a lot more often here. In many situations, what is said is much more important than any smiling, nodding or head shaking. You can also play your part in making sure things are clear. And if something is not clear, no-one will be cross if you ask for clarification.
Mutual appreciation is vital for good social relationships. You are probably aware that men and women have equal status in Germany. Of course, even women who have not experienced equality in their home countries are welcome to act more confidently here.
Before you come to Wolfsburg, it would be very helpful to get in touch with any contacts you have in Germany already and research a little about the country and its people on the internet from home. Or why not watch a German film with subtitles?
Perhaps you have the opportunity to undergo intercultural training in your home country, or to make initial contact with the international clubs in Wolfsburg and the Welcome Center. They can provide you with more information and put you in touch with people who can help you settle into your new environment. When you arrive in Wolfsburg, make sure you pop into Café Kerksiek for a chat. There you can meet nice people and make new contacts. The same goes for the wide range of different restaurants you will find in Wolfsburg.
Finally, we would like you to remember one thing: If you familiarise yourself with the language early on, it will open many doors for you and you will find it easier to get off to a good start. Be patient and adapt to your new surroundings as well as you can, but do not let go of your own personality. Please do not just stay in your familiar environment, but be brave in approaching new people and situations. You have nothing to lose. We look forward to meeting you!