Saturday, March 12, 2016

Getting Around: Chennai vs Frankfurt

I noticed something strange while in Frankfurt. Despite the relative similarity (both culturally and linguistically) of Germany and the US, I actually found it slightly more stressful to be in Frankfurt than I do in Chennai. I believe this is because I don't stand out as much in Germany. 

In India, I am very clearly seen as an expat, so when I walk into stores, everyone speaks English to me. In addition, English is the default written language for pretty much everything around town, except political ads. The result is a sense of relative normality in my daily life. Sure, there are people speaking in Tamil around me, but even then there are a ton of English words intermixed. 

However, in Germany... everything is in German (I KNOW, I was surprised also) and when I interact with people, there is always that brief confusion and awkwardness where I have to explain that I don't speak German (generally by saying "Englisch?" with a hopeful/questioning tone.) Once back in Chennai, I really realized how easy it is to get around here. Essentially everyone speaks English (at least enough for our interaction levels), everything is written in English, and as a foreigner it is the default language people approach me with. 

No comments:

Post a Comment