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Thursday, 24 May, 2001, 14:18 GMT 15:18 UK
A love-hate affair with Britain
May Day protest:
May Day protest: Have scenes like these portrayed Britain in crisis?
A leading German current affairs magazine has condemned Britain for being a country blighted by ill health, poor education and an incompetent government.

Here Corinna Reuper, a 28-year-old lawyer from Hanover who is in London for a three-month stint at a broadcasting company, gives BBC News Online her impressions of life in England.

First of all please take my apologies for the Stern article! Even if the author might be right from his point of view, there is no reason to write an article in such a rude way.

While Stern talks of the "fires of racism and xenophobia", what I like most in London is the great mixture of nationalities.


London is unbelievably dirty and travelling through the city is horrible

In Germany when you speak to a coloured person, you always see the person as coloured, but here you only see the human.

I have not had the experience that people are racist, but my collegue from India told me they are - and says she is scared to let her children go out on their own.

A German friend, who also lives in London, described his relationship to the country as love-hate - and I think he is right.

London is unbelievably dirty and travelling through the city is horrible. But on the other hand it works!

If I am annoyed by the transport system, I am also impressed how they manage it to transport so many people every day.

On the other hand, I think people here are - against all expectations - very unfriendly.

In Germany we obviously have a misguided impression about the famous English friendliness and aristrocratic good behaviour.

The worst thing in England is the service. In Germany people always complain about the service compared with that in the US.


In the NHS...I was really surprised to find how uncomplicated it was to get help

But English people really give bad service a new definition.

The big exception seems to be the NHS.

I have used the NHS twice, and was really surprised to find how uncomplicated it was to get help.

Finally, no comment on the weather. It is no wonder that everybody is in a bad mood!

Next week I am going back to Germany, and I cannot say that I am sad about it.

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A German magazine has branded Britain a country in A sick land?
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