Human Nature: Latvia vs Germany

Future teachers, linguists and philologists of the English language are the students I have seen and observed during the first two months of my studies in Leipzig. Since the first week I was trying to find pros and cons, advantages and disadvantages of being here and comparing the behaviour of people in different situations as well as their appearance. Now I have come to some particular conclusions regarding these topics and the outcome is quite balanced.

First I’d like to start with how Germans dress and compare it with Latvians. People from my country are very much into labels and most of them try to earn money to spend it on either few and expensive clothes, or many and cheap ones, but the result is the same. Looks are so important that if you think of going out wearing pyjamas or sports clothes you will be confronted with a lot of judgemental glances. In situations like these one has to have guts to  ignore them with a raised head. Whereas in Germany the situation is completely different. Very many people from Germany are into some labels, but those are sports or casual style labels like Jack Wolfskin and Adidas. Some people wear outfits and shoes that are tore in some places, but still usable. They dress like people who are free in their mind and souls. This remark leads to an other particularity regarding knowledge and intelligence.

Second remark I want to introduce deals with how German people from different fields of English studies present their knowledge pending the lectures. In the classes with linguistic students I feel uncertain, yet very fascinated by the theories I am learning. The linguistic students are so knowledgeable that sometimes they even compete with the professor who always sticks to her guns to stay authoritative, even though they confuse her very often. Philologists on the other had are very neat and accurate students. They are in the beginning of their studies, but they are eager learners who speak up only when they know the answer at the same time using interrogative mood. Last but not the least are future teachers whom I would classify as the least acquainted with the various aspects of the English language. Those students haven’t had a grammar class, don’t know the theoretical names for some languages features like the definite and indefinite article, the degree of comparison, etc. Further this leads to the question of how one can be an English language teacher without knowing the terms…

Third and the final conclusion concerns Latvian students of the English philology who are contrariwise to all the above mentioned. Students in my faculty are not so talkative even though they study languages. They are always thinking and over thinking each and every tiniest detail. The tiniest outspoken mistake would make them feel like failures. The insecurity of their ideas isn’t constantly weakening their outcome, but eventually it will worsen their performance. This observation has made me change my mind about the educational system in Latvia in general.

Finally, I would like to come to a conclusion that I enjoy studying in Germany more that in Latvia because the lectures are not about lecturing, but about acquiring knowledge in a sensible way and not by learning everything by heart while using short-term memory.

Nina

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Human Nature: Latvia vs Germany

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