Differences between Germany and China

Differences between Germany and China

“Why are the fences so low?”; “How come there are no people on the street?”; “Why do you eat cold food?”… So, many questions I had to answer the past few days. My other half likes Germany a lot, but he still finds so many things which are utterly different to China, to the village he grew up in.


differences between west and east2Out of all things he thought different, the most shocking was how to address family member (in particular my mother). Usually, in Germany you would call your mother-in-law or your father-in-law by their name, whereas in China it is considered very impolite. I always call his mother ma 妈and his father ba 爸. When he heard he would have to call my mother by her first name he was nearly disgusted. He would never have been able to. Luckily, we are Russian, and also know of the tradition of calling them mom and dad. So, we both call my mom Mama.

Another striking difference was my village. In China we would be going out and visit neighbours whenever we felt like. No matter if they were in the middle of their dinner or busy doing something else. You just pop in. The door is always open. But here in Germany, everyone lives closed behind walls. You need an appointment before coming over. People on the streets are so few. There are no groups of elderly playing cards or Majong. He says he likes the quiet, but I am sure he is struggling.

He is also amazed by our farmers. Here a village has maybe two to three big farms, and all land belongs to them. He loves how clean everything is, and how big our farms are. I never really realized it, but actually German countryside is really pretty. It needs someone from outside to show you the beauty of your own country.

There were a few other things he found strange or totally different from China. For instance, the bread eating every morning. Of course Germany is crazy for its bread. And some people have a longer breakfast than lunch and dinner together. He already misses the Chinese mantou’s. Something I will never understand. Those tasteless Chinese buns are no match for fresh German bread.

“Tell them about the crazy weather in Germany”, he just screamed in my ear. Apparently he cannot get used to our weather. This year it is a very mild winter with temperatures around 13 degree. And it is raining all the time. A bit said as I told him that it might snow… now he is here and it is raining non-stop.


There are a lot more different things. Every day something strange might happen. That’s the amazing thing about different cultures. We can learn so much from each other. And a difference is not necessary something bad. It is just different. And adds to our lifes.

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Anna Z. is a freelance illustrator and portrait artist in her late 20s, with a passion for Martial Arts and Chinese culture, and is the creator of Lost Panda, a blog to China and Art. Together with her husband, a Chinese national, she writes about daily life in rural China, focusing on cultural and social differences and the joys (and sometimes difficulties) as an intercultural couple. Apart from China related topics, she publishes her artwork, photography, art material reviews and tutorials to help more people discover their creative side. She is fluent in German, English and Mandarin Chinese.

5 thoughts on “Differences between Germany and China

  1. My husband loves Austrian bread, he particularly loved our breakfasts – we do have a lot of choice when it comes to what to put on your bread. I can’t do Mantou, too dry. Even with rice porridge or soy milk, I think it just doesn’t taste like a lot. My husband also loved eating fresh veggies, which was quite a surprise.
    The weather, well, that one was crazy as well. We went to Europe this June and the coldest it got was 2 degree. We hadn’t brought our winter clothes, so were freezing whenever we went outside. The day after our wedding we had floods, making it impossible to leave for our honeymoon. When my husband left Vienna, the weather was in its 30s.

  2. I can’t say what kind of surprise my wife had when she move to Finland, because that was few years before we got together but I guess they were huge. She moved from Xi’an, a small city of 8mill inhabitants, to Kajaani in middle Finnland with around 38.000 inhabitants…she went from very mild winters into -38 degree winters and moscitos the size of little birds (according to her).

    But I do remember when her parents where here first time: wonder everywhere, why is the sky so blue, who is planting these trees in the forests and much more. I can’t say much about food becasue we had Chinese food on a daily basis but they wondered why the meat section in the supermarket is so damn huge.

    In April my mom in law will be first time in Germany, lets see what she will think about the breakfast.

    And btw, my wife prefers mantou over German bread as well…makes me want to cry each time I hear that statement

  3. Anna, when I read about your description of Germany, I get “Heimweh”. Despite the difficulties some expats experience while living and working in the country and the apparent “coldness” some people exhibit in a day-to-day setting, every time I step out of the plane and into the terminal in Flughafen Frankfurt, then stepping onto the train at either the Fernbahnhof or Regionalbahnhof, I know I’m “home”. It also helps that I’ve got great friends who live throughout the country. Finally, it’s also very likely I’ll pick up a rye-bread sandwich, Rosinenschnecke, and a Mohnplunder for my long-distance train trip, and seeing those rolling hills in Mittedeutschland while I’m munching away on food from the rail station Backstube only emphasizes that feeling of home. :)

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