There are a few things you should know if you want to live in Germany and look like a local. Of course, part of this is knowing the language, but here are a few tips and tricks that can help you not immediately pinned as a tourist. I’ve been in Germany now for 6 weeks, so hopefully these can be helpful for your next trip to the generalized area of Western Europe.
First, let’s talk about clothing. This is something that Americans always get made fun of for. There are a few things that you should absolutely stay away from. If you really want to stay in, stay away from tshirts and sweatshirts in general, especially those with logos. In Germany, it’s not popular for university students to wear their uni logos everywhere. Something else to stay away from is workout shorts (like Nike shorts). Germans only wear workout clothing when they are actually working out. Needless to say, leave the athletileisure at home. You can wear almost anything else and not be pinned as a tourist, since it’s summer. Most Germans are still wearing jeans in the heat, but a lot of teenagers wear denim shorts. Dresses and rompers are really popular for uni students.
Next, what shoes you choose to wear can also make you look touristy. Since it’s summer, a lot of people are wearing sandals or flipflops. Germans seems to prefer the “flipflop” style Birkenstock shoe rather than the ones that are more popular in the U.S. Nevertheless, Birkenstocks are still popular. Converse and casual tennis shoes are still more popular. Even when going to the bars or clubs on the weekend, most uni students opt for closed-toed shoes. Further, I haven’t seen many white socks since I’ve been here. Germans typically opt for black socks and no-show socks.
Here’s a picture of me and my friends at Hohenzollern Castle. Maggie and I are dressed similarly to what we see daily. William looks pretty touristy (of course, he said I could say that).
In all, you can wear whatever you feel comfortable, of course. But if you’re studying in Europe, those are just some simple things you can change in your wardrobe to not stand out as much.
If you want to seem like a local in Germany, you have to know the public transportation systems. I suggest researching it before you arrive in your chosen country. If you’ve never been to a large U.S. city, you will probably not be familiar with subway systems. All larger European cities have these, so it may be helpful to do a simple Google search. Also, most cities have apps that you can use to find transportation routes and buy your tickets on your phone. If you have data or Wifi, this is really easy to do. However, if you don’t have either of those, you may be faced with a lot of confusing maps. Again, the only way to truly understand how to use the buses and trains is through practice and tons of research. In Germany, there are many different ticket options, so it’s important to be familiar with your areas public transportation system. Also, check out my friend Tyler’s post on transportation! This way you can always get the best deal!