Uta Burke, the author of Immortal Link, is a writer who is passionate about the country she was brought up in; her Germany. Today, she talks about the stereotypes, it’s history, the education system and more. For more info on Uta and her book, please visit: http://utaburke.com/ http://www.facebook.com/Immortallink
I grew up in Germany, married a U.S soldier, and moved to New Jersey with him. When they hear where I am from, Americans mention: Hitler, Beer, luxury cars, and soccer. Once I was asked at a party if we have electricity in Germany. Stunned by so much ignorance, I sarcastically answered: “No, we build the Mercedes and BMW by candlelight.” At home, I went online and found this: Germany today is the most populous and affluent democracy in Europe and one of the most significant countries on the planet. It’s a very modern, sophisticated country with a fascinating past. Tourists flock to Germany to visit the stylish cities, legendary medieval castles, and the cultural and historic wonders (http://www.germany-map.org/).
The Europe today is not the same the immigrants left three or four generations ago. While the huddled masses sailed across the ocean and cleared a path to the West, the homeland plowed on. It preserved its historic buildings to remind us where we came from, but not its medieval lifestyle. Their progress kept pace with the rest of the industrialized world and the countries of Western Europe today are modern pinnacles of technology and education, freedom and wealth.
Let me give you a few examples and comparisons:
Going to college in Germany is free, meaning the taxpayers are paying for it, but only a certain kind of student can apply to universities. The German school system is divided into three independent sectors: From the basic, easiest option (Hauptschule), students graduate after 9th grade, from the medium hardest (Realschule) after 10th grade, and from the most demanding after the 12th grade (Gymnasium), after passing a mammoth test called the Abitur. Only students with the Abitur can go on to university. The others have two choices: Add one to three years of schooling and then also graduate with the Abitur, or complete a two to three year apprenticeship, a very popular option. Apprentices earn money from the start as they learn a trade, as opposed to having to pay for the training the way they do in America (up to $20,000 for a trade like HVAC). They work in the company and go to school one day a week. They receive healthcare benefits from day one. I am presently paying for my daughter’s college and campus experience, which will cost me at least $100,000, whereas she would have done an apprenticeship in Germany, earning money instead of accumulating debt. Yes, the German system works. My cousin, Werner, a slow learner during childhood, only completed 9th grade, then did a three-year-apprenticeship as a master carpenter. Today he owns his own company, several homes, and is a millionaire.
Nobody goes bankrupt in Germany if they get sick. Michael Moore, social critic and film maker, wrote: How high is the number of Germans who couldn’t pay their medical bills last year? Zero. In the U.S., every 7.5 seconds an American loses his home because his medical bills made him bankrupt. In Germany we pay more into the social system, but other than a small co-pay, nobody sees a medical bill, no matter how ill and for how long.
Movies filmed in America hit the big screen in Germany on the same day, albeit with a different title. “The Hunger Games” are called “Die Tribute von Panem,” (Tributes of Panem) and the voiceovers are always in German. “The Help” is called “Gute Geister,” (Good Souls or Spirits).
I hope I was able to give you a better idea of what my country is like.
Oh yeah, and they sell “McBeer” at McDonalds…