Germany vs UK: four big differences

Moving to a different country always involves getting used to some differences in daily life. Watch Megan talk about some of the big differences she's found between the UK and Germany since she moved to Berlin. 


Watch the video and use the subtitles and the transcript to help you understand.


Hi, everyone, and welcome back to another video for the LearnEnglish Teens website and their YouTube channel.

My name is Megan, if you haven’t watched any of my videos before on this channel, and I’m living in Berlin at the moment. I was living in Hanover at the beginning of my year abroad and now I’m living in Berlin. So, I thought I’d make a video about the things that I personally find to be so different between the UK and Germany. And these things, these are all things that probably every day crop up in my life and continue to surprise me. But, yeah, I just thought this might be an interesting video if you have never been to Germany and would like to see what it’s like, or the other way round, if you’ve never been to the UK and want to see some differences between the two different countries.

So, in order to highlight some of the main differences between Germany and the UK, I’ve actually written a list of five (four) things that you should do in Germany that you wouldn’t necessarily do in the UK.

So the first one on my list is definitely use public transport. I think Germany is sort of known worldwide for its public transport system and the idea that it’s always punctual and always on time, that trains are never late. This idea might be a bit construed but Deutsche Bahn definitely knows how to provide a more reliable and enjoyable service than the one that we have in the UK. It also makes a lot more sense to me to use public transport when it’s here in such great availability. You know, where I live in Berlin now there’s an underground that runs every three to four minutes. Or I can get on a bus or I can get on a tram. So there’s loads of different options. And if I were to get a taxi or to drive anywhere, it would just take so much longer and you’d be sat in traffic. And, yeah, also I want to note that Berlin’s underground system is so much quieter than London’s. Germany – I mean Berlin, sorry – has a much smaller population size and therefore is not as crowded, it’s not as hot, it’s not as uncomfortable as London’s and therefore, yeah, you should definitely use it if you come to Berlin and definitely use public transport across all of Germany really. I’ve never really had a bad experience, and, yeah, it’s something I’d definitely recommend.

So the second thing on my list and the second thing you should do in Germany that you wouldn’t necessarily do in the UK, although you should, is do wait for the green man. Um, I think we Brits have quite a bad reputation for seeing the road is clear and just crossing, regardless of whether it’s on red or green. And obviously I do not recommend this; it’s not a great idea at all, in any circumstance, but we do do it. I definitely am guilty of sometimes just thinking, well, the road’s clear, I’m just going to cross. But in Germany, that’s definitely not a thing. Unless you want to be tutted at by the old lady stood next to you, definitely wait for the green man. Um, yeah, it’s just not something Germans do, it’s not something Germans, erm … they don’t … will always criticise you for doing it. It’s just not seen as a good thing to do. So, yeah, always wait for the green man.

So the third thing you should do in Germany that you wouldn’t necessarily need to do in the UK is have cash on you. So, in the UK we’re quite a cashless society. A lot of people won’t have cash on them if they have their cards with them, because it’s pretty much everywhere you are able to use your debit or credit card. But something that continues to surprise me in Germany is the fact that they are such a cash-using society. So often you won’t be able to pay by card or they will say you can only pay by card if it’s over, if the price of the transaction is over ten euros. So this is something I’ve really struggled actually to get used to, because when I was in the UK, I’d always just get out my debit card and often just use contactless payment, so that would just mean I just swipe it on and it was done, but here it’s so often, ‘Oh, I need to go and get cash out’, so, yeah, I would always recommend if you’re in Germany to have a bit of cash on you so that you’re not, yeah, stuck not being able to pay for something. Because that’s definitely happened to me a few times, where I’ve got to the till, I’m looking forward to buying something and they say, ‘No, we don’t take debit cards.’ So, yeah, I’d always have some cash on you if you’re in Germany.

The final thing I would recommend that you should do in Germany that you can’t, well, that you don’t really have to worry about in England, or in the UK, is stocking up, and by stocking up I mean preparing, and having food or anything that you need in on a Saturday because on Sundays in Germany everything is shut, apart from restaurants and cafés. So supermarkets, clothes shops, basically most places are shut, whereas in the UK Sunday is quite a big shopping day actually. I would often, when I was at uni, do my food shop for the week on a Sunday, or I might go into town and buy a new top or look around the shops, but that’s just not an option in Germany. Everything is shut. So, if you want to be able to eat on a Sunday, then definitely make sure you have some food in the fridge on the Saturday so that you aren’t starving on Sunday.

And, yeah, I think that rounds up my four things that you should do in Germany that you can’t, well, not that you can’t do in the UK, just things that you should do in Germany that you don’t necessarily think about if you’re in the UK or from the UK.

So, I really hope you enjoyed this video. I’m definitely planning on making a lot more soon, so if you want to leave any comments of things that you want me to talk about in the future, then just comment them down below.

Thanks for watching. Bye!


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Submitted by PolinaLogvinenko on Sat, 10/22/2022 - 08:14

I've never lived or studies in another country

Submitted by Ira1321 on Wed, 03/23/2022 - 18:40

I've never studied or lived in another country
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Submitted by empty on Sun, 06/30/2019 - 07:17

Have you ever lived or studied in another country? No but I'm learning German so I can study in Germany . Wish me luck ! ; )
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Submitted by tsunami2011 on Wed, 05/29/2019 - 12:24

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