The nature of romantic relationships is different in Germany than in Arab societies, being less restricted and more open.  Concepts of love and marriage differ between Germany and the Arab world owing to cultural norms and traditions.  Sexual relations, cohabitation and having children outside of marriage are normal and acceptable in Western societies. For Arab societies, however, quite the opposite is the case, and even debate on these subjects is taboo. Arab refugees of the younger generation in Germany, particularly young women, are torn between these two perspectives.

Personal freedom

Rama, a Syrian in her twenties, came to Germany with her mother last year to escape the horrors of war.  She's learning German at the moment at the advanced level so she can prepare for university study. Western society and Germany in particular did not really shock her, she explained. She says she has adjusted to the  lifestyle in this country, especially with regard to its openness. She is only not used to seeing small things, such as kissing in public.

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