Geographic, Political, Economic, Cultural and Social Aspects of Germany
This fall I am planning on attending college at the European Business School in Wiesbaden, Germany. I am very excited to be continuing my education in business at a foreign institute. I have been to Europe but unfortunately have not made it to Germany. I am excited to experience the tremendous amount of history and culture the country provides. Before I take off to go study abroad, I believe that I must write something like Germany essays where I will understand the geographic, political, economic, cultural and social aspects of the country.
The first aspect I want to discuss is the geography of Germany. Germany is located in central Europe and is the sixth largest country in Europe. The capital city is located in Berlin. Germany is very similar to the landmass size of Montana, its landmass covers 357,022 square kilometers. However, Germany’s population of over eighty-two million is vastly different than Montana. The climate of Germany is very mild. Extreme high and low temperatures are very rare, however, rainfall is very common in the country. This makes for very good agriculture production. Germany also has a large variety of landscapes. In the north lies the Jutland peninsula which divides Denmark and Germany. East of the peninsula is the Baltic sea, to the west is the North Sea. These two coastlines make up the entire northern border of Germany. Islands and sand dunes cover the landscape and make for a popular summer destination. In the south lies the Alps and the Alpine Foreland. Here you can visit Germany’s tallest mountain, the Zugspitze. This area is very popular for hiking, biking and skiing. The central portion of Germany consists of plains, plateaus, valleys and forests. Here lies one of the most famous forests, the Black Forest. The Black Forest is the largest forest in Germany and covers roughly 3,750 square kilometers. Also, the Rhine and Danube rivers stretch for hundreds of miles across the German plains.
The next aspect I want to discuss is the politics of Germany. With the unification of Germany in 1990, the collapse of communism and the Berlin wall occurred. Germany is a federal, democratic republic made up from sixteen states. Similar to the United States, Germany has a constitution. This was adopted post World War II in 1949 and is called the Grundgesetz. Similar to the United States Constitution, the Grundgesetz gives citizens human rights and the ability to declare a law unconstitutional. To avoid centralization of power (Nazi Regime), the Grundgesetz granted states the right to self-govern. The Grundegesetz distributes power between the legislative, executive and judicial branches of the government. Moreover, the most powerful roles in the executive branch are the Federal Chancellor and the Federal President. The current president is Frank-Walter Steinmeier and the Federal Chancellor is Angela Merkel. The President term is five years and has the power of appointing the Chancellor. The Chancellor term is four years and is also renewable. To add, the President is more of a political figure while the Chancellor does most of the country’s decision making. There are two main political parties in Germany. There is the Christian Democratic Union and the Social Democratic Union of Germany. Like the United States House of Representatives, Germany has the Bundestag. The Bundestag is the federal parliament and is composed of 709 officials. On the other hand, all legislation occurs in the Bundesrat. The Bundesrat is made up of 69 officials and is similar to the United States Senate. The Bundesrat also oversees the government's work. Furthermore, the Bundestag elections are held every four years and all citizens that are eighteen or older are allowed to vote.
The next aspect I want to cover is the economic aspects of Germany. Germany is Europe's largest economy and the world’s fourth largest. Germany is known for producing world-class vehicles, machinery, and renewable energy. Furthermore, Germany is a social market economy. This allows a free market in goods and services while the government regulates the market to protect citizens. To add, citizens pay taxes to receive healthcare and education. Like the United States, the more income a citizen makes, the more the person pays in taxes. Germany is a member of the European Union. Being in the EU has many benefits. One benefit is the use of the Euro. This is one of the strongest currencies in the world. Another benefit is the low interest rates. This gives people the opportunity to invest and take out loans easily. Germany also has a low unemployment rate of 3.1%. With political reforms making it hard to lay-off workers and lower wages, unemployment has decreased from its previous 7.7% during the recession. Furthermore, Germany has a very good GPD. With a GDP of 4 trillion, the country is very strong in the trade world. While Germany has been experiencing great success, there are challenges of sustaining long term growth. Low fertility rates are causing stress on the social welfare system. Germany also has very good public transportation. With the development of cheap airfare, it's very easy for people to travel to neighboring countries. Also, the railroad system they have in place is great. It creates less traffic on highways and the tickets are cheap. Moreover, Germany is working towards turning its electrical supply to renewable energy. They plan on having 100% of electricity supplied by renewable energy by 2050.
Before I head to Germany, I think it’s important I observe the cultural aspects of the country. Over 95% of the country speaks German as their main language. The main religion they practice is Christianity. Clothing in Germany is typically western. However, traditional costumes consist of men wearing leather trousers that end right below the knee and women wearing a dress with a bodice and apron. The German flag is black, red and gold stripes. The national animal is the black eagle. The black eagle represents strength, courage and victory. There are many stereotypes of Germans. Some include: drinking lots of beer, they are hardworking, and their unemployment rates are low. German cuisine is fairly simple with meat and potatoes. Wrust is a very popular German sausage made of pork, beef and veal. German is heavily known for their history of music. Bach and Beethoven are born Germans that influenced how we play and listen to music today. Moreover, German is known for its variety of architecture. Ancient castles and bridges cover the countryside and cathedrals and monuments serve as city squares. On the other hand, cities like Frankfurt continue to develop modern skyscrapers. Art plays a very big role in German culture. Celtic, Gothic and Ottonian styles heavily influenced German artwork.
One more aspect I want to discuss is the social aspects of Germany. Germans celebrate many holidays and festivals. They celebrate Easter, Christmas, Mayfest and Oktoberfest. Oktoberfest is most famous for the food and beer served in the city of Munich during the months of September and October. Germans also like to compete and observe sporting events. Soccer is their most popular sport. Teams like Bayern Munich, Dortmund and the German national team have been very successful in the recent years. Socially, Germans are described as being perfectionists. They strive to be the best and won’t settle for anything less. They value time and money equally. This means that schedules are followed very strictly. They tend not to admit to being in the wrong and are stubborn at times. They also rarely compliment each other. I find these traits to be very professional, however slightly uptight. When working in the business field, humor and surprises are typically frowned upon. Germans also have a great deal of respect for engineers. They believe that this industry is the most successful compared to lawyers and businessmen. The relationship between the United States and Germany is very strong. They are very close allies and seem to get well together.
Finally, after doing this thorough research, I feel that I will be more confident in studying abroad in Germany. Knowing the geography will help me know where to go for certain landscapes and prepare for the climate. Understanding the political makeup of the country is huge. Knowing who is operating the country and what policies are in place is vital for being successful abroad. Also, realizing that Germany is a very successful economic country is significant. Understanding what their currency is worth will help with exchanging cash. Finally, knowing what celebrations, cuisine and sports Germans enjoy will help me understand their culture.
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