Remember there is an ordinary tourist saying, “I have found myself in Asia”? Now read how I have found myself here in Bavaria.
Born and raised in the capital city of Cambodia, I had rarely been exposed to nature and that did not even bother me. Phnom Penh isn’t as big as other metropolitans around the world but still a very densely populated city, so I am very used to a big crowd of people, busy and noisy streets. Nature parks don’t really exist even though the Mekong river flows along one side of the city. Sounds a bit absurd? Well, not for a Phnom Penher like me.
Back then, I hadn’t had any need to walk or trek in nature. I also didn’t really think that we, humans, actually need nature and that we are automatically distanced ourselves from nature by just living in the city, especially in a city where parks aren’t integrated. Now that I see Germany integrates natural parks well within their cities, I realized that all kind of beings in the world need to live with nature. Occasionally, I try to get myself a bit lost in the woods or by the beautiful Danube to reset my mind as a proper human being. Not to forget how I am already blessed by just walking to THD through a side park. Seeing those cute groups of ducks bustling around the pond with greenery in every angle, already refresh each day with good moods.
Now let me give you just one example about Phnom Penhers’ incredible consumption of plastic in everyday life and I’m not messing around; If one buys plastic bags, one would get a plastic bag to put plastic bags in it. That is how it worked fundamentally until recently!
Most of the Germans, on the other hand, are very environmentally conscious. Notably, Germany is well-known for their waste separation system in which every other country should look up to. Not to mention that most of the other EU countries couldn’t even keep up with Germany in terms of environmental care. That is the main reason why from the moment I started my study here, I strictly follow the habits of separating waste as well as trying to live a sustainable life.
Reduction of plastic use and unnecessary consumption are what I live by as I come from a country with an extremely chaotic waste management, it made me realize how important our environment/surrounding is as if anything goes wrong, humanity will also suffer from it too. In view of this, I am trying not to accidentally become a so-called “Umweltsau” which is literally translated as “environmental pig”, refers to anyone who has a lack of concern or no concern at all regarding the aspect of being environmental-friendly.
See you later alligators and stay tuned for next parts! *wink
Demati Chay is an International Management and Tourism Management student who understands Bavarian dialect more than most Germans do. The only Khmer student at the THD is a festival junkie, a language freak, a fusion-foodie, a snow lover, an urban gardener, and a beer sommelier-wannabe.