Even if Germany is not very different from France in terms of culture, there is differences and discoveries for me that I want to underline.
To begin, one of the biggest discovery for me was that students don’t write in courses. Some of them come with their computers, or just with sheets and a pen, but they just take annotations. So, I was surprise at the beginning, because during the first courses, I was one of the only to write all the course. But there is a reason to it. After a discussion with one of my professor, he explains me that in Germany they trust that is better to listen a lot during the course and work after, on your home. In fact, practically all the courses are put online, on the intranet of the university. This method of teaching for professors, and this way of studying for students, is very natural and the best thing to learn for them.
I always did courses in France, where the usual way is to write what the professor is saying (even if it depends of each professor) so it was for me a real discovery and a new habit to take.
One of the other discovery I made is the relationship between students and professors in class. Due to the method of more listening than writing that I just explained, there is more time for discussion during the course. In fact, there was a lot of discussion and exchange of opinion during the courses, in a very friendly way between students and professors. A little bit surprising at the beginning, I really enjoyed this way to do courses and exchange. It is not rare that a student put question to the professor during his speech without raising the hand. And it is totally normal for them.
I also discovered the passion of German with beer, and particularly in Cologne with the Kölsch, the local beer. The inhabitants of Cologne are very proud of this beer, of which hundreds of sorts exists, present in every bar and every restaurant. This tasty and fruity beer is the thing to drink in Cologne, and every inhabitant will advise you to taste it, or will offer you one. We can compare it with the passion of wine in France.
But there are some other things to discover in Germany and in Cologne, like the currywurst, a typical plate of sausage and curry sauce, very famous in the west of Germany, all the churches, the history of the nation and the relationship and memory with the Nazism, the pride of the development of the country, the fear of inflation and the use of small currency, the discipline and respect of pedestrian crossings, etc.
I really advise you to visit Germany and Cologne, which is a very good city to study, make international friends and discover the German culture. I enjoyed my expatriation in this city and I will keep very good memories.