Germany

Visas, Vaccines, and Outlets:

Germany is a party to the Schengen Agreement. A U.S. passport should be valid at least three months beyond the planned date of departure from the Schengen zone. U.S. citizens do not need visas for trips under 3 months[1]. For more information visit the German Embassy website.

No vaccines requirement aside from being up-to-date with vaccines routine[2]. For more up-to-date information visit the CDC website.

Power plug adaptor is needed because in Germany the power sockets used are of type F and these socket types do not work with U.S. plugs[3]. Moreover, the voltage is 220-240.

Social Customs:

Although these facts help found an understanding of the German culture it is important to remember that they are generalizations and that represent only one small part of the German culture.[4][5][6]

  • Germans place a high priority on punctuality
  • Titles are important and denote respect, one must use a person’s title before their surname.
  • Careful planning and precision are valued. When the business day ends, you are expected to leave the office, if you must remain after normal closing, it indicates that you did not plan your day properly
  • Germans tend to be stoic people, they may seem unfriendly but there is a sense of community and social conscience.
  • Kissing both cheeks as a form of greeting is common in informal settings
  • It is common to share tables with perfect strangers when restaurants are full and busy
  • Work and personal life tend to be rigidly divided.

Education System:

School/Level Equivalent Notes
Primary School 1-4 Grade After primary school, students are evaluated based on their academic standing, teacher feedback and parent/teacher discussion and are place in 1/3 tracks secondary school[7].
Hauptschule (short-course secondary) 5-10/11 Grade  They emphasis on preparing for a vocation[7]. However, classes such as geography, history, maths and one foreign language are also taught. On completion students either become apprentices or enroll at vocational school.[8]
Realschule (intermediate secondary) 5-10 Grade  Targeted for those aiming for middle-level government or business. In addition to subjects taught at Hauptschule, bookkeeping, computer skills, word processing, shorthand and a second foreign language are taught[7].
Gymnasium 5-13 Grade Most similar to high school in American System[7][8]. After graduation students are given the opportunity to apply to an university.
Higher Education N/A  Similar to the university system in the U.S.

References:
1. U.S. Passports & Internation Travel
2. Vaccines and Medicines Center for Disease Control and Prevention
3. Power Plugs and Sockets
4. Customs and Tradition Live Science
5. Culture Kwintessiential
6. German Etiquette Young Germany
7. Education The German Way & More
8. Classbase