May 2017 – Catherine’s Intercultural World in Review

France’s new president, a handshake that went viral, and German humor at its best were the highlights of Catherine’s intercultural world in May.

May was a busy month filled with work and the last school days of my oldest daughter. Jasmine graduated with honors from the German School Washington and was admitted to McGill University in Montreal. As her mom, I’m proud of her, believe me, but I’m also proud of being featured as a successful entrepreneur in the ESSEC alumni magazine!

Reflets ESSEC Magazine n°118

Politics that mixed up my intercultural world

My blog isn’t about politics specifically, but I have French and German citizenship and live in the United States. How could I not be interested in the recent American and French elections and the upcoming German election?

The world was looking to the French election “as either a ratification or a rejection of the populist surge that had led to Brexit and Trump,” wrote The New Yorker on May 8th. Thank God, France voted wisely and chose a young man who’d put together a new party from scratch just a year before the election. Yes, I’m glad that France chose Macron over Le Pen. French people living outside the country also felt strongly about this election: 92% of the French living in the US and 96% of those in Germany voted for Macron.

French elections 2017

Then, look at the G7 summit in Italy last week. I haven’t forgotten the “missed” handshake of President Trump with Chancellor Merkel on March 17th. Likewise, I LOVED how Macron grabbed Trump’s hand and made it clear who’s the boss. Okay, exaggerations aside, President Macron acknowledged in an interview with a French paper that this action was entirely on purpose. “One must show that we won’t make little concessions, even symbolic ones,” he said.

You can read more in French in the Journal du Dimanche here, in German here, or in English here.

I’d like also point out the clear change I’ve observed in Der SPIEGEL, a leading German weekly news magazine. Since the last American election, Der SPIEGEL reported regularly about the new presidency. But, on May 19, editor-in-chief Klaus Brinkbäumer took a stance against President Trump. In “It’s time to get rid of Donald Trump,” he doesn’t beat around the bush in laying out why he thinks Trump is a menace to the world. You can read the full article in English here.

To round  up the political angle of my intercultural review, I’d like to share this article from the Washington Post. It’s about the American election and new data that show how more whites and fewer blacks actually voted in key battleground states.

Everyday people in my intercultural review

Can you imagine eating a sandwich for $26? Me neither. However, a new French restaurant in DC has no problem charging $26 for a ham-and-butter sandwich. Maybe that’s because it’s close to the White House? Those prices definitely are out of the question for normal people like you and me!

May 2017 - Catherine's Intercultural World in Review

New insights into alcohol consumption of German teens and young adults

In Germany, teenagers can drink beer as soon as they turn 16. This was a big deal for Jasmine, who was in Europe for her 16th birthday. While she couldn’t drink alcohol in France (allowed only for those 18 and up), as soon as she arrived in Frankfurt, she went to the supermarket and bought a beer. She was very disappointed for two reasons: first, she didn’t like it (yeah!), and second, the cashier didn’t ask for her ID (buh!).

Yes, this low drinking age is shocking for some Americans. I know. Drinking wine and beer at 16! Although this topic deserves a complete blog, I’ll stop here and just share the latest survey on alcohol and teenagers in Germany. According to the Bundeszentrale für Gesundheitliche Aufklärung (Government Health Prevention Services), German youths drink less now than in years before. For more details (in German), check out this article “Alkohol macht müde und fett – beides ist für Jugendliche uninteressant.”

German humor and creativity at its best

Don’t say that Germans lack a sense of humor! In fact, one of my most popular posts debunks this myth: “Seriously, Do Germans Have A Sense Of Humor?

In a new commercial from German rental car company Sixt, a little girl is picking her nose and contemplating where to put the booger, but she doesn’t dare to set it down anywhere because the car is just too beautiful. She ends up… Nah, I won’t tell you. Just watch the commercial!

I hope you enjoyed my May 2017 intercultural world in review. If not, let me know how I can make my recaps better!

Photo credit:
Child with French flag by Lorie Shaull


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  • Congratulations on reaching the pinnacle of seeing Jasmine graduate from high school! Among her many strengths is her language ability with French, German and English; her travel experience in many countries; her leadership role as “big sister” to 4 younger siblings and….having a strong, humorous, wise, clever and successful woman like you for a Mom. I am greedily carving out times in my schedule tomorrow to read all the links in your most recent blog about the Intercultural World in Review. All buggers aside.

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