Stereotypical Germans? 

You might have heard of the stereotype that Germans are cold and unwelcoming. I’ve experienced the supposed Nordic coldness for a year, and I too wondered if it was possible to make German friends at university.

I needed not to fear. The image in my head unsmiling, cold people that took forever to get to known has only held partly up.

I’m not going to lie – people in the Northern part of Europe do take a while get a while to know. They will not smile at strangers on the street. Many can’t speak English to the point that they will not be confident enough do befriend you unless you speak German. My experience in Denmark had taught me that befriending people in this part of the world required an extraordinary amount of charm and stubbornness.

Germans are quite kind

However, I have found that Germans are quite kind, and maybe even easier to befriend than Danes. There are a significant number open to having foreign friends that don’t speak German and can be happy to practice their English. I’ve met Germans here who are truly some of the most welcoming people and are great friends.

I have found that with most Germans, though, you still need to be outgoing. I have a tendency to smile a lot, and though that outs me as a foreigner, it works for appearing friendly. Then it’s necessary to actually be friendly, start talking, and offering to do something. Most Germans, when offered to do something, will actually be down for that unless they have something else going on. They most likely will not be the ones to initiate the conversation, and you may have to do more work at first, but after the initial getting to know each other period, they will not leave you.

As far as the language goes, it depends on which sort of program you are in. My program is completely in English and there are a decent number of Germans who are not afraid of speaking English. However, for those who are in German programs, it might be a good idea to try speaking German. In general, it is a good idea to be able to at least say small things in German and show a conscious effort to learn the language. Germans really love to speak German, so unless you have German friends who will always speak English all the time for you, get used to the fact that they will speak German around you sometimes.

How to meet Germans? 

If you are in a largely international course, there are other ways to meet Germans. Get involved with different activities, go to bars and talk to people, and get their contacts. If you put in the effort to find German friends, and are friendly and outgoing, it most likely will pay off.

I have been lucky, and there are lots of Germans who are willing to befriend foreigners who don’t speak German. I’ve met some wonderful people and have a healthy of mix of German and international friends. It took maybe did take some stubbornness and initiating things, but I’m happy to say that though they may appear it, Germans are far from cold on the inside.

More about Holly


I’m German. We are normally quite open to get to know new people and make new friends and are curious about people from other countries. :)

written by Ramona created on

I like Germany lady too much

written by Joseph Chinedu created on

who doesn‘t

written by zod created on

I'm moving to Germany in a year or so, and I'm worried.. Its eating my head. I'm going to be enrolled in a film academy, and I myself I'm very much of an introvert so I don't know how will I be able to form friends. I am here seeking for some sort of comfort I guess haha

written by Thoughtology . created on

Hey there! It's not going to be exactly easy, but it is going to be possible to make friends if you put in the effort. Don't fret, take things as they come, and join every single social gathering you are invited too. Best of luck! :)

written by Holly McCamant created on

Hi Holly, I am encouraging my daughter, who is a senior ( NJ, USA) ,to apply school in Germany, and we found Uni of Freiburg. Would you mind writing more about your experience applying for schools in Germany and your student life? Enjoy very much about your blogs.

written by Ya-Hui Metters created on

I write weekly, so look forward to some more articles about student life. I didn't personally have a challenging application experience, but I will do my best to create a post about that! Thank you so much! :)

written by Holly McCamant created on

Dear Holly, You spell "moin" with a "j" ;-) With love, Lars

written by Lars van den Brand created on

Dear Lars, Flensburg says "Mojn" in a particular way, that's why I was sure to include the Danish "Hej".;) Mit Kærlighed fra Tyskland, Holly

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