America: The Deutsch Perspective

What do Germans think of the United States? Will I be welcomed or rejected because I am American?

Crowds in Nuremberg Hauptbahnhof (main city train station)

These were two questions that circled through my mind as I prepared for my two-month language immersion adventure in Germany. Throughout my time here, I have asked several Germans of all different ages and backgrounds of their opinion of the United States. Here are some of their responses:

Teenage Germans

I recently met a group of 19-year-old young women and men who had just finished their high school exams! After introducing ourselves, they expressed their desire to travel to the USA. One girl explained that she dreams of visiting New York and San Francisco, but has not yet had the opportunity. She says, “There are so many things to do and see in the United States — and I want to do them all!”

In addition, I also met an 18-year-old woman on the train to Frankfurt and asked her where she was going. Coincidentally, she said she was flying to the United States for a two-week vacation! In fact, she was actually flying to Minneapolis, Minnesota — my home state! She was super excited and I was excited for her!

As our conversation continued, she explained that the German youth are fascinated by the United States. “It is so far away and so spread out. In Europe, countries are relatively close together. It is incomprehensible to us that you cannot go from Minnesota to California for a weekend trip.” But, she explained that President Trump is also a hot topic for German youth. By the tone of her voice, it was clear that from her perspective the majority of German youth did not view Trump very highly.

Middle-Age Germans

An early thirty-year-old woman I met on the streets of Schwäbisch Hall explained that the United States is a big, beautiful country and the people are very friendly and welcoming. However, she believes that President Trump is not helping to stabilize the country’s national and international relations because of the inconsistency of his policies.

Elderly Germans

I also interviewed an elderly man and woman. The man stated that he had never been to the United States, so he could not express an opinion on the nature of the American people or the environment of the country. But the woman had visited New York once and exclaimed that there is so much to do and see. She was also very surprised at how willing the Americans were to help her navigate the big city.

Nevertheless, both agreed that President Trump does not present the USA well to other nations. The woman exclaimed that, “He says one thing and then a few days later he changes his mind to have the opposite stance on the same political issue!”