Continuing from my last blog post here, I will be mentioning a few more culture shocks I have had since moving from Germany to Philadelphia.
More Expensive: The cost of living is relatively expensive, at least when compared to Germany, and probably Europe in general. The cost of goods and services, from anything between groceries to renting an apartment, is significantly higher than the cost of the same goods in Germany. This difference was something which I noticed earlier during my stay here.
Safety: I would not speak for the entire United States since I do not have living experiences in other states, but the safety in Philadelphia is somewhat questionable. I have heard that it was fair here in the past, but in recent years it has become more dangerous. Drexel University has a system of Drexel alerts that notifies students about incidents on and around campus, or even greater Philadelphia. Receiving these alerts regularly could place many doubts about the security of this city. However, there are safety resources and regulations provided by the school which every student in doubt should definitely take advantage of.
Education System: I have hinted at the difference in the education system in the US as compared to Germany in an earlier blog post. During my first week of classes in Drexel, I was already ushered into this new system of teaching and grading which was very new to me. Apart from the quarter system being used in Drexel as opposed to the semester system that German universities implement, another difference in the system is the pedagogic style. For the most part, teaching in Germany is centered mostly on learning facts and dishing out knowledge to students while the US is more involved and encourages creativity and communication rather than just memorizing some facts. I must mention that there are certain courses that I took in my home university which encouraged critical pedagogy and creativity, but not to the extent at which I am experiencing in my courses at Drexel.
Public Transit not as popular: Coming from Europe, the transport system is one thing that stood out to me. Philadelphia, as I have come to notice, is a pretty walkable city because most important places are in close proximity to each other. On the other hand, I have been to a couple US states (like Texas) where there are not many pedestrians and virtually everyone on the road drives. In most of Europe, the public transportation system is prevalent and quite effective too. While many have cars, much of the population would resort to taking buses, trams or trains in Germany, and this is in contrast to my observation in Philadelphia, and the US by extension.
Halloween (or celebrations generally): Americans take their holidays very seriously, and it is something I find very intriguing. People already start at the beginning of the year to plan their costumes for Halloween and then show them off that day. Halloween is not celebrated in Germany so seeing the preparations and celebrations for this holiday was quite interesting for me. Another US holiday is Thanksgiving which would be celebrated on November 24th this year, and it is another holiday I look forward to experiencing for the first time.