Fusing cultures

I have been living in Germany for almost a year now, but for all this time I have been learning and adapting to German habits and it happened so quickly! And of course, I couldn’t let go of them while visiting home. And it’s so funny for people around me to see how I changed and how my routine is so different now since I went to Germany! I don’t have many German friends, but I live with two German people, and it is so easy to pick up their habits, even if I was initially fighting to preserve my Portuguese routines. The only thing that is still physically impossible for me is to have dinner at 5 pm or 6 pm.

Portuguese culture, especially on an island, is all about taking our own time to make things, not to stress and basically relaxing is our priority, at least for me. In Germany, people need a schedule, a plan they can follow meticulously at the correct time. Both perspectives are fine, right? But coming to my island for vacations with my new German habit can be tricky! I find myself trying to plan things to do with my friends at least a week in advance when we normally plan on the same day what we would like to do together.

When we already planned to go to a café, I had to calculate the right time to get ready and leave home so I could get there at the correct time so then I could wait for them because they were taking their time and it was “not a business meeting”, they say … And it’s so funny that when we are speaking, sometimes I let go of one “genau”, and I am still A1 in Deutsch!!

Elisa sits in a café and waits for her friends. A drink is already on the table and she looks at her watch.
Waiting for my friends.© Elisa

Something that is also always happening automatically is checking if the bottles have the symbol of the refund (something that we don’t have on the island) and being so worried about not putting the bottle in the trash because we can get the refund. It can be stressful! In Germany, all beverage bottles and cans now have a deposit.

Portuguese water bottle without deposit.
Portuguese water bottle without deposit.© Elisa

Ahh, I cannot forget about this! Always, but always have I cash with me. In Portugal it is totally normal to pay for things by card, almost everywhere. But in Germany, I find my wallet always with cash because we never know when we will need it!

Always have money on the wallet.
Always have money on the wallet.© Elisa

Everything falls into place

But I get happy when these things happen because sometimes it can get hard to fit into the German culture and noticing that I am getting some habits it means, at least for me, that I am getting there, and things are getting easier. I actually like getting to places on time, I like to plan things, and Germany has shown me that it is okay to have a more balanced life that makes studying and working easier and more organized. For now, I can’t see myself without these little habits because they actually make me a better person and help me improve my studying life and working life. So if you feel like it’s hard to fit into the culture, give it time. You’ll get there and when you least expect it, you will be saying “genau” even when speaking with people in your language!

"So if you feel like it’s hard to fit into the culture, give it time."

More about Elisa


That sudden "genau" in the mid of conversation is very relatable!

written by Rendy created on

I loved to know the fact that you get a refund for beverage bottles. I’d like to see more of these and learn more about German life, happy for you 😊

written by Ana Carolina Menezes created on


written by Angélica created on

Write comment

More posts by Elisa

The 2024 Berlinale Key Design
The 2024 Berlinale Key Design © Internationale Filmfestspiele Berlin / Claudia Schramke, Berlin
Testimonial Elisa
Blog post written by Elisa

In line with this topic