Does living abroad make you more patriotic? This question has been bugging me for a while. I am not a very patriotic person to start out with. Yes, there are certain aspects of Germany that I am proud of and there are many things I miss from my home country, but I never thought about the question of patriotism when I still lived in Germany. I guess it’s not until you see yourself through somebody else’s eyes that you really think about these things. Well, at least I didn’t. And compared to Americans in general and Texans in particular, I am still in no way patriotic. I mean, how can anybody keep up with Texan pride? These guys have bumper stickers to proclaim even the pride of people who moved here. And I like how proud people here are of their state. So, has living here made me more patriotic? No, not specifically living in Texas, but living abroad in different countries I think has. Why? Well, you recognize all the things that are good in your country that you used to take for granted, but that not the same abroad.

Why am I talking about all of this when the topic of this fun round of the Blogger Stammtisch is football/soccer (chosen by Andrew from Grounded Traveler)? Because I never watched it when I lived in Germany. However, when I started living abroad I suddenly got together with friends to support the German team in national matches. I guess I just have never really been into soccer before. Growing up in Germany it was just one of those sports that people watched. Many of my friends in high school had favorite teams from the cities surrounding us. It’s not like football in the US though where you pretty much just favor the team of the university that happens to be in your city. University sports aren’t big in Germany. Well, even saying that is an exaggeration… they’re pretty much non-existent. Anyways, I never cared about the local soccer games. I also didn’t care for the European or World Championships until I became an expat. Now, I don’t know if it’s because I started living abroad or because I just got older and outgrew my “soccer is boring” attitude, but as the years have passed I found myself out of a sudden watching Germany play in the European and World Championships every few years and actually caring about the outcome.

In fact, when all of the craziness of a European or World Championship is in full swing, I kind of wish I could be in Germany watching some of the games with a few friends (who would be very surprised because they only know the Sabrina that doesn’t watch soccer). I still don’t know all the rules and all the players, but being part of a huge public viewing party sounds like fun. Seeing all the little German flags on cars in the streets sounds very nice. I don’t know a lot of Germans here in Lubbock, so while we are in the middle of the UEFA 2012, the European Championship, right now, I can only sometimes catch part of a game during my lunch break with a few friends. I’ll miss out on the fun of public viewing, but if Germany makes it to the later rounds maybe I can host a viewing at home for a few crazy friends :) Go Germany!

UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying - Austria vs Germany 2011-06-03 (27)

Public viewing berlin

Check out what some of the bloggers who are in Germany right now have to say:

29 Comments

  • I agree, Sabrina: it does make you more patriotic because you look at things with different eyes or have more to compare.
    I’ve been watching soccer since primary or high school and I still don’t know all the rules but I love watching a good match. It’s even better watching with a group so I hope you’re able to round up a few German friends to watch a game or two with you.

    • Sabrina says:

      Glad to hear I’m not the only one :) Maybe I’ll gather a few people on Sunday when Germany is playing again. Weekend should be easier anyways since the games are broadcast around noon/early afternoon here. That makes it difficult during the week.

      • Thom says:

        Well being a German in the U.K I would disagree with that. The British may moan about theory country,but they love it warts and all and they are incredibly proud if the beauty of their country (which is fair as the UK is jaw droppingly beautiful and certainly makes my home city,Hanover look even more grim that it is.) Us Germans though just hate ourselves lol! When I came back from the UK last year for a few months and said I might return,all my friends went,Yuck! Why would you come back to ugly Germany!

        I rest my case, I’ve never heard a Brit call their country ugly. Their politicians yes but never their country.

        • Sabrina says:

          Hmmm, not sure of that has more to do with the area. I bet there are some ugly areas in the UK – just as there are in Germany. Never been to Hanover, so I don’t know if that’s just not very pretty ;)

        • Pit says:

          I don’t think tghat you can call Germany an ugly country, and I don’t believe that Germans would call it that. Some mighzt, but I think that’s a very small minority. Btw, to my mind there are ugly spots in every country, but you simply can’t call any country (completely) ugly.
          Best regards from southern Texas,
          Pit

  • R. Sherman says:

    Wow. My kids are more pro German Football than you. They know all the players and my son gets IPod updates on the games all day. BTW, Germany is doing quite well, actually.

    Cheers.

    • Sabrina says:

      I’m not surprised :) my dentist struck up a conversation about the German players a few weeks ago and all I could do was nod :)

  • I think that living abroad makes one a tiny bit more patriotic.
    I appreciate aspects of my culture that I didn’t pay attention to when I lived in Argentina.

  • I am definitely the proudest of being German when it comes to soccer. No matter where we travel, as soon as I say I am German, people start to talk about soccer with me and what a great team we have… it always makes me so proud, as if I was playing myself :D And people LOOOOVE Michael Ballack, they know & worshio him all over the world. The worst part of watching the Euro2012 in the U.S. is listening to Ballack’s attempts to speak English in his role as an analyst for ESPN ;-)

    • Sabrina says:

      I’ve heard him before and know what you’re talking about :) Sounds like I need to watch with to actually learn something about the game.

  • Pit says:

    Hi Sabrina,
    For myself, I don’t think I’ve become more patriotic after moving to the US. As to watching German soccer: I#ve watched it fairly regularly on TV in Germany, and I certainly miss the Bundesliga here. We can’t get it. I know, there’s satellite tv that has it, but that’s too expensive, to my mind. Maybe I’m just a cheapskate. ;) Well, I might at some time soon watch the San Antonio Skorpions in their stadium, but that’s not the Bundesliga, of course. But it IS soccer.
    Take care, and “como Texas no hay otro”,
    Pit

  • Andrew says:

    I noticed this in a different way. Folk music I didn’t really like as a kid in the US at some point became comforting to hear. It was nice after a long week slogging through another culture to have something that reminded me of home. For the same reason, I enjoy going to the pub during the winter to watch American Football every so often. Even though I have no real interest in the game.

    Germany is doing pretty well winning two of their first round games. Hopefully it will continue. I am quite enjoying watching the tournament.

    • Sabrina says:

      Let’s keep our fingers crossed today that Germany keeps doing well :) I haven’t gone as far as liking German folk music, but I do smile when I hear “99 Luftballons” on the radio here ever so rarely.

  • Ali says:

    I never watched soccer when I lived in the US but I did enjoy college football. I went to a big football university and it was really fun to watch the games. But I am starting to enjoy watching the Europe Cup (I think that’s what it’s called?) now here in Germany. Being away from the US has definitely made me more aware of being proud of my nationality, flaws and all.

    • Sabrina says:

      I hear you on the flaws and all. Gaining more of an appreciation of your home country doesn’t have to mean you don’t see what’s wrong with it either. College football? I head no idea before moving to Texas how big it really was. The whole town goes nuts when the Red Raiders are playing.

  • Pit says:

    Hi Sabrina,
    You might want to check this article out: http://tinyurl.com/bp7vm4a. It seems to be that somehow we Germans lost some of our national pride. I agree, there can be too much, but there can also be too little.
    And another thought re patriotism. Take a look at this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0Ez-jpR1Zg 40,000 Scotsmen roaring as one man. Whenever I watch it, it sends a shiver down my spine. That, to my mind, is the way a national anthem should be sung, and not the “modern” way where a singer tries his own variation of the tune so that sometimes it’s barely recognizable.
    Best regards from southern Texas, and have a great Sunday,
    Pit

    • Sabrina says:

      I agree with you regarding the national anthem. Much more powerful that way. That article is scary. It’s sad that anybody shows any pride supposedly has potentially bad intentions.

  • Adam says:

    You should definitely throw a party for Friday night’s game! Though I suppose it’s too early for you to party there in Texas… I know it’s going to be madness here in Berlin.

    • Sabrina says:

      I wish I was in Berlin Friday night. I can only imagine how crazy that’s gonna get! I’ll still be at work when the game is going on. Thinking about a late lunch though ;)

  • I think you bring up good points about patriotism. I’m proud of being American, but there’s an extra sense of pride during events like the Olympics, I think. You’re sure right about Texan pride, too!

    • Sabrina says:

      That’s true, the Olympics bring out that country pride as well. Not quite as much as soccer for many Europeans I think though.

  • Well, we live in a country where there is no shortage of patriotism AND it’s a football-loving country so we find ourselves getting swept along with all that is Turkish. Sadly, you’re seen as a racist if you show patriotism in England so a good sense of national pride has kind of been stolen from us. Luckily, we can enjoy the Turkish national pride – even if they did fail to qualify for Euro 2012. :)
    Julia

    • Sabrina says:

      I had no idea England and Germany were that similar regarding patriotism. The same is true for Germany regarding the pride equals racism assumption… very sad. It seems as though during soccer some of that is suspended though. Glad to hear Turkey is different in that regard. Keep your fingers crossed for Germany today! :)

  • Lisa says:

    Sabrina, I had never followed Soccer until I moved to Berlin and discovered the World Cup madness and excitement that takes over the county. I loved seeing the national pride and the flags flying from car windows, balconies and patios. I enjoyed my time in Berlin seeing the Germans celebrate a win with honking and celebrations in the streets and bars.

    • Sabrina says:

      I hear you! Even if you are not usually into soccer, you can’t help, but get excited in that environment.

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