Why are some German people attracted to US schools?!?

Posted on November 25th, 2014

Now that I’m not involved in the operational aspects of running a school anymore, I’m left wondering about a few things that many former colleagues have been asking me about. There are, one might say, a few odd things that seem to happen only here in India, in regards to its German expat community at least. A few odd things that, as far as I know, don’t seem to be happening anywhere else. Incredible India, huh?

But first and foremost, let’s travel back five years in the past, back when the school had a fruitful  and constructive relationship with the German Government, thanks to the efforts and professionalism of Counsel General Mr. Hermann. Mr. Hermann is the man who suggested setting-up a German School in Chennai in the first place. He put us in relation with Mr. Siegfried Huber, respected former Asia Pacific representative of the German foreign schools. Mr Huber guided and actively supported the endeavours of our first international school in Chennai. We  still are grateful for having had him on board,  as a value-driven individual who gained a lot of experience from positions in various countries over the last two decades, where he had the privilege to assist German expats in their many endeavours.

Always faithful to his mission as a German official, Mr. Huber was often puzzled –not to say annoyed– by a certain phenomenon: that is German expatriates putting their children into American schools instead of German institutions. I’ve also witnessed this oddity with DAAD (German Foreign Exchange Students Service), an administration whose job is to represent Germany abroad and to highlight its strengths, including the remarkable achievements of our educational field, something that’s greatly responsible for Germany’s current economic and cultural prestige.

So well, you know: I think it’s a legitimate question to ask oneself! Why in the world would German expatriates favour a foreign educational system over their own, when their own has proven its worth?

To speak frankly, at risk of putting it a bit bluntly, expats are not always the elite they’d like to think they are: many are just regular folks who do their job well and have been rewarded by the opportunity to work abroad. That didn’t save them from being exposed to the gigantic myth of the so-called American Dream as any other folk all over the world! Right after World War II, there may have been some truth to that myth, for the US had been able to achieve a tremendous economic success and establish a popular culture that would influence the Western world as a whole. But 70 years have passed and Europe has rebuilt itself admirably, to the point that in my opinion, it doesn’t have any reasonable reason to look up to the States anymore.

However, myths are persistent and the more I see a slow paradigm shift within the international community, the more I realize I may have to give up on certain expectations I had towards it. The hunger for the American Dream may have faded away at some point in the 90’s, but it’s coming back with a vengeance, and guess who’s paying the bill? Education among other things!

Of course it’s not everybody everywhere, many people still believe in European values but it takes time to create awareness in people’s minds when the American entertainment industry is still in such a position of dominance all over the planet. This machinery is continuously working on weakening people’s  intellectual independence, placing immediate materialistic pleasure over long-term and rewarding efforts. And down the line, its first victims are our children! Chewed, swallowed, regurgitated and finally spat out, they’re easy preys! Once spat out, they will see the USA through the “filter” of the Hulk and Spider-Man’s adventures, ending-up having a manichean understanding of a world where the “good” American super-hero is protecting everyone else from the “evils” of the world. From this perspective, everything and its contrary becomes acceptable, as long it’s for a “good cause”. Well, you know what? Life isn’t a comic book! It’s made of diversity and this very diversity is being stolen from our kids! Isn’t that a pity when you come to think of it? But to reverse that phenomenon, the efforts we have to make are just as huge as the results we deserve to expect in return.

It is my conviction that American domination is closer to an end than ever before, despite Obama’s achievements, for no one has proven to be stronger that the lobbyists that undermine any possible progress through their control over the Senate. It is my conviction that the European model, with Germany at the forefront, is a viable if not necessary alternative. So you may ask me: what’s the matter with those German folks drifting into the trap of the American brainwashing machine?!?

As I said earlier, they’re just ordinary people, and professional recognition doesn’t make you an expert on all things, including academic performance. I don’t mean to bring anybody down: they’re honest, decent people, but truth be told they’re just as driven by their emotions as anybody else when it comes to making choices and decisions. And this even gets worse when choices and decisions are made harder by the context of expatriation, a context that takes away one’s usual landmarks. It’s not so easy to handle, being abroad. There are so many confusing factors, so many inner-conflicts that –as stated in a previous article– it’s easy to lose oneself!  Oh sure, the incentives make you feel you’re surfing on the wave of success and that it has to mean something when it comes to your good judgement. Well, not always I’m afraid… It’s been a long while since expats were the elite they used to be, and in all honesty would you see someone who moves in a developing country as a balanced individual if, when all is said and done, all they do is complain about how unhappy they are about being in this very country? Would you see any logic in a German individual regretting the quality of life of their home and, at the same time, throwing their children in another home (in that case, a non-German school)? Contradictions, contradiction…

You know the tune for sure, but I’d rather see you dance…


Motto of the day: take a bath in the ocean of motion, chill out on your terrace just like I do now… Away with the slight breeze on your face will drift the American myth and its pipe dreams…