Hello Shelby! Since when do you live in Germany?
Hi, I lived in Germany for a year. That was from 2014 to 2015 and then I was home for eight months and returned to Germany in February 2016.
How does your life in Germany look like at the moment?
At the Moment I am working as an au pair and I am going to a language school for the first time since I have lived in Germany. I am enjoying my life here at the moment.
The first time you came to Europe was due to a student exchange in Westerburg, Westerwald. Why did you decide to return to Europe?
I missed my friends and wanted to do a year exchange instead of just two weeks.
Do you feel European?
Do you feel German?
In a sense. I will never be German, but in a sense, I feel at home here so I guess partly I do feel that way. All of my friends say im half german anyway. (laughs)
If you had to name three terms, what do you connect to Europe?
Modern, Open-minded, cultured.
If you had to name three terms, what do you connect to Germany?
Traditional, Beautiful, Crisp.
Which EU countries have you visited so far?
Ireland, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Well the UK is about to leave the European Union.
Do you think there is something like a European identity?
Yes, but not completely. Every Country has their own style if you will and I don’t think you can just generalize that into one identity but there is definitely something different about being European.
What do you especially like about people in Germany?
Everyone says that Germans are cold and unfriendly, but I found that not to be true. Since the minute I have been here I was treated with nothing but kindness and I feel at home here.
What do you think is weird about Europeans?
I do not really find anything specifically strange about Europeans. Well, maybe that you can always tell a European by their shoes. I do not know why, but you just can.
If there is one thing in Europe you could change, what would that be?
The fact that if you are not from the European Union ist very difficult to stay in Europe. Visa wise and so. That I would change.
What is the image of Europe in the United States?
Oh, that is a good question. I have been away for so long, I am not sure. I think if you do not have any direct ties to Europe, people are not really concerned with it. I know that many think of Europe as a business capital.
Do US people know a lot about the European Union and the issues Europeans are facing?
I think with what’s going on right now in the United States People do not have much time to focus on the EU. They have their own problems with the election at hand.
If there was one thing you could tell all Europeans or all Germans, what would that be?
Not to be so hard on America. Just as in Germany and other countries we do have ignorant people, but we also have good people and those good people get a bad reputation due to the actions of others. I always get told people are surprised that I am American - well that is mostly due to the fact I speak German) or that I am not American enough and that is just weird. It is like if I am not running around with a gun and a cowboy hat on screaming God bless America I am not American enough for them. I am just normal. That would be like me going up to a German in America saying where are your Lederhosen? Oh sorry you are not German enough for me. People are people.
Shelby Steelman, thank you very much.
Shelby Steelman connects this picture to her stay in Germany