Shycat (tawnykit) wrote in little_details,
Shycat
tawnykit
little_details

Lots of German Culture Questions!

Setting: The story takes place in the northeast USA, but the character in question is German, and the questions pertain to modern Germany.

I know a little bit of the information I need from my German classes, but I want to make sure that I don't include any kerfuffles, so:

I have a German character who is studying abroad in America (college, not high school). I know quite a bit about German programs for American students, but very little about what a German student might experience in America. My google-fu is only telling me things about American exchange students in Germany or German high school students in America. -_- Can anyone give me an idea of:

1) How long he would be in the States (I'm hoping two semesters -- possible?) and what sorts of classes would he be taking? (I.e. the study abroad officers at my school tend to dissuade us from taking classes pertaining to our major if we go abroad -- would this be similar?)

2) Culture shock type things? What would a German come into the U.S. be expecting, and what would he be surprised about? What sorts of products do we have here that aren't found in Germany? (I read somewhere that you can't get Oreos in Germany, and I know my friends in Norway stock up on M&Ms when they visit here because they can't get them at home. One of my teachers in high school liked to tell a story about an exchange student whose friends back home kept asking him if all Americans were fat and carried guns. What else?)

Additionally:

3) If a German character who is religious (Christian) was put in a scary situation (he's afraid of heights) is there any particular prayer that he would be most likely to say, or is this just a personal preference?

4) I hear LGBT rights are pretty good over there. :) Obviously this depends on the person, but is a Christian mother liable to freak out upon learning her son is gay?

5) Last one! The hardest part of writing about another culture: picking a name that isn't out of date! You can never tell with internet name sites, so I wanted to run these by someone. Would I get laughed at for naming the character one of these: Emery, Alvin, or Miles/Milo? If those don't work, any suggestions for sites with modern names?

Thanks!

Search terms: "german exchange students in america," "german exchange students," "german perceptions of america," "american products in germany," "religion in germany," "german prayers," "german homosexuality," "gays in germany," "common german names," "german names for boys," a bajillion variations thereof
Tags: germany (misc), germany: education (misc), ~homosexuality (misc), ~languages: german, ~names
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