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Columnists > Courtney Martin

Courtney Martin
Courtney is an American expat living in Germany. After studying abroad in Germany during college, she immediately knew that she wanted to go back. So after graduating, that’s just what she did! She now works as a freelance writer and is pursuing her Masters degree in Germany. To read more about her experiences and adventures, check out her blog at Welcome to Germerica.

Courtney Martin

The Perks Of Being A Native English Speaker In Germany

Posted by: Carole on Monday March 09, 2015 (02:27:55)   (3531 Reads)
Courtney Martin
My first column here on Expat Focus was titled “The Perils of the Native English Speaker in Germany.” In that article, I complained about being a native English speaker in Germany. Well, I am back here to say that now, over one year after writing that article, I am beginning to see that being a native English speaker in Germany also comes with its fair share of perks.

Let’s start with graduate school, which is one of the main reasons that I moved to Germany in the first place. Although there are tons of great English-language graduate programs (perk for the native speakers!), I decided to go the difficult route and apply to only German-language programs.    more ...

Courtney Martin

Home Country vs Host Country: Expat Problems During the World Cup

Posted by: Carole on Sunday June 15, 2014 (20:16:31)   (5148 Reads)
Courtney Martin
With the World Cup in full swing, there is one question that people now ask me quite regularly:

Will you root for your home country or your host country?

My home country is the U.S. My host country is Germany. So, when this question is asked, the American patriot in me wants to blurt out, “USA! USA! USA!” At the same time, however, the practical German in me would rather mumble, “Germany,” after objectively looking at the odds. Due to the way the World Cup is structured, however, I probably won’t have to make this decision for quite a while.    more ...

Courtney Martin

Deconstructing Denglisch

Posted by: Carole on Saturday April 12, 2014 (23:31:54)   (4077 Reads)
Courtney Martin
Most Germans begin learning English in school at just six years old. This means that by the time they reach their teenage years, many Germans are fluent. Add to this the popularity of American films and music throughout this country, and it is completely natural that Germans have begun to use so many English words in their day-to-day speech.

This German/English mashup is known as Denglisch, which is Deutsch (German) and Englisch (English) squished together. The biggest culprit of using Denglisch in Germany has to be advertisers. Although, do not be fooled into thinking it is only the American companies that do this. For example, this is a line from a famous commercial that my German boyfriend likes to sing:    more ...

Courtney Martin

The Best American Foods You Won’t Find in Germany

Posted by: Carole on Wednesday March 19, 2014 (00:32:39)   (5850 Reads)
Courtney Martin
It’s that time of year again. The time when little girls go door-to-door selling the most delicious cookies in the world. And while I am sitting over here in Germany, all I can think about is how amazing a Samoa (or Caramel deLites as they were called when I was a Girl Scout) would taste right now.

This has got me thinking about what American foods I miss most. Foods that were written on my grocery list week after week when living in the U.S., but since moving to Germany, I have never bought once. Foods that I used to consider myself addicted to, but since leaving the country, I have been forced to go cold turkey. Foods that are so delicious, that when I wake up each day, I think about how much the people here are missing.    more ...

Courtney Martin

Top 5 German Reality TV Shows

Posted by: Carole on Tuesday January 14, 2014 (02:42:14)   (24032 Reads)
Courtney Martin
Since I need to pass a German fluency test in exactly one month, I am trying to go on an all-German diet. This includes only watching German movies and TV shows. While there are several popular action, drama, and comedy TV series in Germany, many of these are difficult for me to understand. I have tried watching “Tatort,” which is like German CSI, but between the police lingo and varying dialects, I can’t always keep up. But do you know what I can understand? Reality TV shows!

I loathe American reality TV shows, but for some reason, when it comes to their German counterpart, I just can’t get enough. So if you are looking to learn German yourself or want to brush on your Deutsch by watching some mindless television, here is my list of the top 5 German reality TV shows.    more ...

Courtney Martin

How To Celebrate Thanksgiving In Germany

Posted by: Carole on Wednesday November 20, 2013 (15:50:37)   (5908 Reads)
Courtney Martin
For American expats, Thanksgiving can be a difficult holiday. But just because nobody else stuffing their face with exorbitant amounts of food on the fourth Thursday of November, it doesn’t mean that you can’t.

In Germany, there is actually a Thanksgiving-esque holiday known as Erntedankfest. This is a kind of harvest celebration that takes place in the beginning of October. It is really just for farmers and people in the countryside to say thanks for the year’s harvest, however. Nothing comparable to what we do each year in the U.S.

So if you are living in Germany, and aren’t lucky enough to have connections to the American military here, then here are my tips on how to celebrate Thanksgiving.    more ...

Courtney Martin

The Perils of the Native English Speaker in Germany

Posted by: Carole on Saturday October 12, 2013 (01:24:29)   (5749 Reads)
The top tip for expats starting off in a new country is always to learn the native language. As an American expat living in Germany, I took this advice to heart. When I came to Germany for the first time in 2011, I had already taken nearly five years of language courses. Fresh off the plane, I was so excited to finally use what I had learned to talk to native Germans and grow my language skills.

About one week after I had arrived, I took a day trip with some fellow American students to Hamburg. At the train station, I ordered a sandwich, using German of course.

“Okay, that will be three Euro,” the man replied.

Wait, did he just say that in English? Is my accent really that bad? Well, I was new to Germany, so I didn’t think too much about it.    more ...

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