Twelve Golden Rules for Traveling Abroad

by Dr. Dr. Franz Thierfelder, General Secretary of the Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen from 1951 to 1960

[Translate to English:] Die Auslandsfahrt. Handbuch für internationalen Jugendaustausch / Jakob Murböck (Hg.) – 3., Aufl. – München: Manz, 1952. – S. 228-232

1. Never forget: In Germany you are one German among millions; abroad you are the German whose words and acts will shape the image others have of your nation.

2. Never hide the fact that your parents are German, but ensure that foreigners are pleasantly surprised when they discover this.

3. If you foolishly believe that everything is better at home than it is abroad, then stay at home; if you think that everything is better somewhere else, then never come back.

4. If you travel through foreign lands, then take care that they echo your calm – the quieter you are the more the others will talk.

5. Dress so that no one takes notice of you; but do not wear a fez.

6. Be happy to sing if you are asked, but only sing if you are asked!

7. Do not try to impress when a foreigner is better than you are; and where YOU are better then smile and allow yourself to beaten, so you will gain good friends.

8. Remember that it is only the words for virtues and vices that can be translated into other languages; but what they actually mean is something that you must experience in every country as if for the first time.

9. If something that other peoples do seems strange then try to understand it; if you do not succeed then only look for the reasons why with those other peoples as a last resort.

10. Only raise your finger when you want to learn something, never to teach!

11. Be prudent when traveling, but never mean; drink less than your hosts so that you always have enough time to praise their hospitality!

12. The foreigner may clothe himself in all kinds of national dress: in a moment of danger or of love do not forget that he is just a human being like yourself!


Source: Die Auslandsfahrt. Handbuch für internationalen Jugendaustausch / Jakob Murböck (ed.) – 3rd edition – Munich: Manz, 1952. – pp. 228–232