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Cultural exchange

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Cultural exchange

Post by Bladewing on Thu Sep 13, 2012 1:59 pm

Hi stirlingites,

as some of you might know, I´m from Germany. And I expect, you can imagine, what I think about the life in America. I just know the tv series like How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory(of course the most fictional series of that kind), Suburgatory and so on.

While I try to find the right words to explain my request and in the same time not to be to much naive, I have to think about it a long time, especially to find the right english word for what I like to express.

But to come to a point, my question is how adolescent people in age of 20 to 30 live in the US. I also know the series 'Greek', where the main topic are students' fraternities and college life. Sure you can´t tell what always is true, but for example I can tell that ( I think) about 70-80% of all students in Germany are living their own way, without parents, either in other cities at halls or they are looking for people to share flat.

Second example would be that as far as I could imagine, you don´t get any government aids just because of being pupil or student. In Germany you can get aids f. e. if your parents don´t earn enough money or if they are unemployed. For the last case as far as I know adults have to find their own way to solve their situation. I Germany you also get aids in such situations(if you stand to the rules).

I know, it has to seem like I´m almost the biggest bue-eyed idiot in the world, even if I know, that al the tv series don´t show the complete truth, but I think there has to be a true core, which I can´t differ. And for sure, I also don´t believe everything I see on any tv show but I know what´s true and what was faked for the show/series.

Of course, everyone who answers hasn´t to tell everything he or she knows or thinks he/she could tell. I just want to gain insight to your life. I´d like to understand your way of life and oh my god, I´m sorry for all the simple things you have to describe now.

Best regards,

Fabian
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Re: Cultural exchange

Post by Pierre Kite Robert on Thu Sep 13, 2012 2:54 pm

Exactly what I wanted to ask, I could not do better now! Well done my dear neighbor (I come from Belgium Wink )
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Re: Cultural exchange

Post by hobbes on Thu Sep 13, 2012 4:26 pm

Hi Fabian & Pierre,
First, let me say that I'm a good bit older than the age group you're talking about, so you may want to take that into account. But, in general, young adults here (and BTW, the term "adolescent" refers to someone in their teenage years -- age 13-19. The better term for someone who is 20-30 years old is "young adult") typically desire to go out on their own if they can afford to do so. However, with the economic meltdown that occurred in 2008, that is not always possible, so many find themselves still living with their parents out of necessity.

The first 12 years of school are paid for out of our taxes. In general, we do not have a separate school, your "Gymnasium", for college-bound students. However, we do have different tracks within our school systems and different prerequisites based on each track. For instance, college bound students might take Calculus or a foreign language. Vocational students might take Drafting, or Shop (where they learn to work on cars, weld, etc.) We also don't have an Abitur here, although we do have standardized testing at both or state and Federal levels, including an overall test called the SAT and special tests that cover specific areas, such as Physics or English, and which are used by colleges to judge an applicant's merit.

If a student is college-bound, he or she typically applies to several universities of choice during their senior (final) year of high school. Strong applicants -- those graduating from high school with good grades, good test scores, and a decent portfolio of extracurricular activities -- can almost always get some financial aid based on their past performance. Those with less good grades, and those who desire to go to a more prestigious college or university can get low interest government loans.

Once you graduate from college, the expectations are that you will enter the workforce in your chosen field. Unfortunately, the jobs are not always out there today, and thus the new graduate is sometimes left with a large debt due to his or her college loans, and no way to earn the money to pay it off. This is a real problem in my country today.

As far as judging America from our TV shows, bear in mind that the entertainment industry is one of America's largest export products and any TV show, regardless of whether it is a comedy or drama, will depict a slanted view of a culture in order to accentuate the humor, or in the case of drama, the rough edges of a society. So, treat it as what it is -- fiction. Sure, there is a element of truth in these shows, or they wouldn't be relevant, but they typically don't represent mainstream America. (And from what you've said, you undoubtedly already know that.)

Me personally: I had the good fortune to come along at a time when college was (relatively) cheap and jobs were plentiful. I've had a good run, working on projects which generally were interesting, and earning a decent wage. I do worry a bit about my nephews, and what their future holds, but they are industrious, too, and I'm sure they will do fine. And, if they suffer a few hard knocks from life in the process, well, that's part of learning what this world is about, too.

So, that's my two cents. Thanks for listening.

We now return you to our regular programming...
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Re: Cultural exchange

Post by johann D on Fri Sep 14, 2012 11:04 am

ok, I am sorry I have not the level to tell my life in english ^^

I will be make a try after
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Re: Cultural exchange

Post by Bladewing on Fri Sep 14, 2012 3:58 pm

oh the problem to find a job after finishing studies is well known. I think also german students have this problem. Maybe less than yours but for example, where should students of philosophy or ethics work later? I think they could write articles for lifestyle magazines, which are not only trying to inform about clothing trends. But I think, that this isn´t what the imagine they would do later.
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Re: Cultural exchange

Post by hobbes on Sat Sep 15, 2012 1:47 am

@Bladewing: Obviously, some graduates are surprised each year to learn that their degrees are not as marketable as they might have thought. That's why it is important to investigate these things thoroughly before deciding on a program of study. I would think that someone enrolled in a philosophy or ethics discipline would be thinking in terms of using the degree as a stepping stone to a higher degree, perhaps with the thought of going into academia.

As the old saying goes: One does not want to get to the top of the ladder, only to find it leaning against the wrong wall.

@johann: If you want to post something here, but don't feel comfortable doing so in English, why don't you just try posting it in your native language? I've found this typically works quite well: The one doing the posting can express himself fully in his native tongue, and today's language translators (especially the French/English ones) are sophisticated enough to produce a pretty reasonable translation. Feel free to try it if you'd like.
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Re: Cultural exchange

Post by Pierre Kite Robert on Sat Sep 15, 2012 2:43 am

I'm doing study of History at university and I'm afraid , I don't know what I'm going to do because there are not so many job related to history Sad
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Re: Cultural exchange

Post by hobbes on Sat Sep 15, 2012 11:10 am

Pierre, I don't know what the employment situation is in Belgium (or the greater EU) today, but I know for many disciplines it's pretty bleak here in the States, and many new graduates here share your concerns about not being able to find employment.

What type of work do you want to do? What is your dream job? What is your passion?

I have a nephew who majored in history. He went back to school, added an MBA to his resume, and is now working in a procurement job for the Federal government here. He likes his job. Having to work hard to find a job, and maybe taking a few temporary jobs along the way, can be a plus: It broadens your experience and gives you a feel for what you want (and don't want) to do for a living.

Good luck, and be thinking not only about what jobs are out there, but also what you want to do with your life.
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Re: Cultural exchange

Post by Pierre Kite Robert on Sat Sep 15, 2012 3:05 pm

I don't have a dream job , I do History because I really love this discipline . I think I will do a minor in musicology because for me music is everything .
For my futur job I think I could be a good teacher because I'm passioned and I love to have contact with younger people . If I do musicology I think I could be a festival manager or "simply" a musicologue (I don't know the word in english)

Thank you fot your support hobbes Smile
and if it's not rude , can I know what you do for living ? (or because your passionate :p)
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Re: Cultural exchange

Post by hobbes on Sat Sep 15, 2012 9:30 pm

Pierre, my background is in engineering, specifically electrical and software engineering. It has been a good match for me, as I've always been technically inclined, and it was also a lucky choice in that these degrees have always been in demand.

I agree with you that history (and musicology) should be a good background for someone who wanted to go into the teaching profession. And it would seem to me that there would always be a need for teachers, although there might some additional coursework required of teachers. Why do you feel you'd have a difficult time getting a teaching job in the EU?
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Re: Cultural exchange

Post by Pierre Kite Robert on Sun Sep 16, 2012 4:48 am

I think I could quite easily find a job in secondary education, maybe if I have the motivation (and talent!) I could be an university teacher but there are not so many university in Belgium (6 for the dutch speaker and 6 for the french speaker)
And now I do not feel ready yet to get into the world of work (I'm 17 it is normal ^ ^)
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Re: Cultural exchange

Post by johann D on Sun Sep 16, 2012 5:41 am

you have your degree ?
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Re: Cultural exchange

Post by Pierre Kite Robert on Sun Sep 16, 2012 7:11 am

no , I'm still a student ^^
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Re: Cultural exchange

Post by Bladewing on Sun Sep 16, 2012 8:21 am

I just want to tell that the system dropped the comment I wrote yesterday.

Pierre, how old are you, when you will finish your bachelor of history? I´d like to know because in Germany, students are at least 18-19, when they start their way on university.
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Re: Cultural exchange

Post by johann D on Sun Sep 16, 2012 8:24 am

"students are at least 18-19, when they start their way on university."

not only in germany ^^
I think it is the same in USA and all the Europe.
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Re: Cultural exchange

Post by Pierre Kite Robert on Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:02 am

If i'm successful in my study , I'd finish at 22 I think ^^
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Re: Cultural exchange

Post by johann D on Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:15 am

me, I had my bachelor and now, I am in a physics university :-)
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Re: Cultural exchange

Post by Pierre Kite Robert on Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:17 am

how old are you ?
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Re: Cultural exchange

Post by Pierre Kite Robert on Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:18 am

personnaly , I just begin my study at the university and I have 5 years of formation
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Re: Cultural exchange

Post by johann D on Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:19 am

I have 18, It is my first years in university :-)
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Re: Cultural exchange

Post by Pierre Kite Robert on Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:23 am

De Paris hein ? Very Happy
En Belgique on a 3 années de BAC et puis 2 de MASTER si je me trompe pas ^^
On en est au même stade de nos études
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Re: Cultural exchange

Post by johann D on Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:46 am

ha tu parles francais ? ^^

fallait le dire :-D
à l'université, on a 3 années aprés le bac (licence), puis 2 (master) puis 3 (doctorat)

mais personne ne fait le doctorat :-)
je vais tenter le master.

for english people :
ha you speak French? ^ ^

had to say:-D
university, it was three years after the tray (license) and 2 (master) and 3 (Doctorat)

but nobody is doing a doctorat :-)
I would try a master.
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Re: Cultural exchange

Post by johann D on Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:48 am

how can we have a profile picture ?
I don't find. Sad
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Re: Cultural exchange

Post by Bladewing on Wed Sep 19, 2012 6:07 am

okay guys, I think, we finished the education topic for most of the countries a few posts before.

And that´s anyway not what I wanted to do. I didn´t want to aim just for the education problem of teenagers.

But as long as I thnk about my original question, I feel more and more certain, that I "simply" have to go to the states and have to travel around, meet some people there, talk to them, and such things. I think simply, I want to feel your way of life. I know, we are all humans but we are all different.

I think there is one question, you from the US and all others could answer: How common is couchsurfing at your country? I know, that couchsurfing is verry well-known in Australia, where a lot of teenagers travel for a work-and-travelling year between exam and starting to study. I chose couchsurfing this year with 5 friends for four days, while we visited gamescom in cologne.

best regards,

Fabian
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Re: Cultural exchange

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