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Month: April 2015

Leben in Deutschland Questions

Leben in Deutschland Questions

In order to apply for permanent residency and/or citizenship here in Germany, you have to take the “Life in Germany” test.  For residency, I believe you need to answer 15 out of 33 questions correctly, and for citizenship you need to answers 17 questions correctly.  Assuming you have a fair knowledge of German and you’ve reviewed the information, it’s pretty easy.

30 questions are pulled from a 300 question catalog over German politics, history, and culture.  The last 3 questions are pulled from a 10 question list that relate specifically to the state the tester lives in.  All of the questions are available here for practice purposes – though going through the whole list numbs your brain.

I found the political questions the most difficult, as I had a tendency to jumble up the different offices a bit.  The German government follows a three branch system as the United States does, so I at least had something I already knew about to compare to.  I found the history section fairly easy, as it focused on 1933 to now, and American history classes loooove World War II and the Cold War.  I had learned most of what was covered already.  The culture section focused mostly on day to day life and laws, which seemed pretty intuitive to me, but might have been more tricky if I came from a culture that was completely different.

Some of the questions were pretty easy – and some were comical.  I went back through my giant printout of question and pulled them out and translated them for your enjoyment. Others who come from a different background might not find these as funny as I do, but I feel that a lot of people who read this will find some amusement from it.

8. What is not stated in the constitution of Germany?
a. Human dignity is inviolable.
b. Everyone should have the same amount of money.
c. Everyone can speak their minds.
d. All are equal before the law.

Unfortunately the answer is B.  The government does not ensure that everyone has the same amount of money.  This could be considered a good thing or a bad thing depending on how much money you already have.

137. Which court in Germany is responsible for conflicts in the work-world?
a. The family court
b. The criminal court
c. The work court
d. The district court

It almost feels like a trick.  It would be too simple if the work court was responsible for work conflicts. Thankfully the Germans are very straightforward and c is correct.

226. Which is the flag of the European Union?

Flag_of_the_United_States.svg

Flag_of_Europe.svg

Flag_of_the_United_Nations.svg

652px-Flag_of_CEFTA.svg

The US wishes the first was the answer! (or not… probably not)  I actually had to take a picture of the last flag from my test paper and reverse google image search it to figure out what it is even for.  It is the flag of the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) – thanks Google!

245. Who can not live together as a couple in Germany?

a. Hans (20 years old) and Marie (19 years old)
b. Tom (20 years old) and Klaus (45 years old)
c. Sofie (35 years old) and Lisa (40 years old)
d. Anne (13 years old) and Tim (25 years old)

Oh my lord, Tim is so creepy.

251. If someone beats a child in Germany…
a. that’s no one’s business.
b. that is only the family’s business.
c. they can not be punished for it.
d. they can be punished for it.

This is one of the ones that I’m sure will have different opinions based on cultural differences.  For me, I find all of the answers besides d completely absurd, but I suppose it isn’t like that everywhere.

267. A young woman in Germany, 22 years old, lives together with her boyfriend. The woman’s parents disapprove, because they do not like her boyfriend. What can the parents do?
a. They must respect the decision of their adult daughter.
b. They have the right to take their daughter back to their house.
c. They can go to the police and show them the daughter.
d. They look for another man for the daughter.

Another cultural one.  The parents could do a few of those things, but they would run into some problems with b and d – and get laughed at by the Polizei for c.

276. What should you do if you are mistreated by your contact person in a German office?
a. I can do nothing.
b. I have to put up with the treatment.
c. I threaten the person.
d. I can complain to the office supervisor.

I think this one is here just so that immigrants know that they don’t have to put up with being mistreated when they jump through all their bureaucratic hoops.  This one is funny to me because I didn’t actually know the German word for threaten at the time (drohen), so I had a bit of a shock when I looked it up.

If you are preparing for this test, don’t be too scared!  While I haven’t actually received my results yet, I found it way easier than the language test, and I passed that one!

Maimarkt

Maimarkt

Today I went to the Mannheim Maimarkt with the Verlobter and his mom and aunt.  I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.  There were booth on booths on booths of stuff – that’s really the only way to describe it.  You could buy food, a vacuum-cleaner, hot tubs, clothing, jewelry, cars, flowers – everything!  It was quite crowded, being Sunday, but I thought it was really cool.  I took a ton of pictures, so I decided to try out the gallery feature to show them off.

Gaze upon and enjoy the varied wonders of the Maimarkt!

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New Yorker – Flags Everywhere #7 and Awkward English #5

New Yorker – Flags Everywhere #7 and Awkward English #5

If you want to be entertained, just find a New Yorker store.  This store, presumably targeted to young people, has the most ridiculous clothing.  I can only assume that at their headquarters there is a design board covered entirely with printouts of tumblr posts.

Of course I have photo evidence so you can see what I mean.

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Have you been searching for a super-long, short sleeved hoodie covered in donuts and a cheeky saying? Look no further.  Found one for you.

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Confederate flag smiley face? Got you covered.  You can add it to your Confederate flag apparel collection that already contains this gem from their summer stock.

confederateflag

There definitely is a irony to selling Confederacy merchandise in a store named “New Yorker,” but I wouldn’t put it past Americans to sell Lederhosen in a store called “Berliner” or DDR merchandise in a store called “Munich.”

Warning, adult language coming.  Hide yo’ kids.

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I love this shirt.  And Germans care way less about cursing than Americans, so this shirt was actually in the front window display as well.

Bahn Etiquette – Public Transportation #2

Bahn Etiquette – Public Transportation #2

As I’m using public transportation more and more in Germany, I’ve decided to trying to write more about it.  Hopefully these sections are fairly practical for any readers hoping to use this wonderful service (when they aren’t striking…)

Today I wanted to tackle public transportation etiquette – or at least three tips that I can think of right now.

1. Be prepared before you arrive.   Like I said in my previous post about public transportation, if you are late, there will be someone who doesn’t know what they are doing using the ticket machine in front of you.  The converse of this is that, if you are at the ticket machine with no idea what to do, there will be someone late waiting on you.

The best way to combat this is to know exactly what you need before you arrive.  You can plan your route on Deutsche Bahn’s website and it will tell you the name of the ticket you need and how much it costs.  This will speed along the process. There will still be a bit of a learning curve with the machine itself, but if you give yourself a bit of extra time everything should be fine.

Also someone who looks like they know what they’re looking for is much less annoying than someone staring blankly at the screen.  And English is available – just look for the British flag.

2. Find a proper seat.

Most of the regional trains (my specialty) have most of their seats set up in groups of four.

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It is totally fine to sit here alone. Single travelers will grab these sections and then as the train fills, other single travelers or couples will then sit in the row across from them. When two single travellers share one of these sections they generally sit diagonal from each other – as it allows for maximum leg space. Your bag can go onto the seat next to you to deter creepers ignoring the sit across rule, but you should move it to your lap or to the overhead rack if seating becomes scarce.

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Seats with two spots follow a similar pattern. Sit near the window if alone and don’t sit next to someone if there are other seats available.

There is also commonly a section with fold down seats.

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These seats suck, so they usually fill up last. They are meant for travellers with bikes, strollers, or wheelchairs (under the seats are some straps that can be used to secure things, but I have yet to see someone use them). If someone with one of those three things comes toward those seats, make room for them.

On crowded trains, you may need to stand. That’s life. If you cannot stand for whatever reason, there should be seats near the door indicated for this purpose. If people are seated there, ask politely if you can sit. If they don’t need the spot, they are supposed to give it up.

3. Don’t block the doors

This is a should, but not always a reality. If you do this, you will be making the world a better place.

Let people off the train first. The train cannot leave if the doors are open. You will not get anywhere faster by pushing past people trying to get off.

If the train is crowded and you are standing in the doorway and cannot move back to allow others off and on get off the train. Again, it will not leave while the doors are open. Get off with the people leaving and get back on with the people boarding. Easy peasy.

For the most part, the train experience runs fairly smoothly (when the trains and run – looking at you, Bahnstreik). Just be polite and self-aware, and things are better for everyone.

Awkward English #4 – And other discount store finds

Awkward English #4 – And other discount store finds

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I guess they were going for a Boyz II Men vibe…

I love going into discount stores in pretty much any country, because you always find the weirdest crap – I say crap, because it will likely break on you in a week.  It still looks hilarious, though.

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You can turn your iPhone into an earPhone! (cue awkward laughter)

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They look suuuuuper creepy though.

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Inspirational throw pillow anyone? The first line threw me off, because it’s a little demanding. I’ve also never seen the first two lines paired with “Dance like nobody’s watching” before.

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I don’t even know.

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