I recently took a solo trip to Germany. I was there for 4 months taking a course at school. I only heard German being spoken morning, noon and night. German on TV, radio, in the store, etc. I speak basic tourist German and understand less.
There were moments when I grew weary of never understanding what I was hearing and not being able to communicate with the general public. The events that occurred at Fukushima for example were a complete mystery to me because although I could see it on TV and understood the threat I had NO clue of the details because the news was in German. Feeling separated and isolated I discovered to my complete surprise that Australians and not Americans were the most delightful people to speak to. The Americans I occasionally ran into were always cold and suspicious and didn't want to chat. It's a sad truth that Americans are cold to each other when overseas.
Luckily for me I found Australians were always warm and chatty and had no reservations about taking a minute to chat with a stranger. It amazes me because now that I'm back home and Germany is only a memory it was those little idle chats with Australians that I remember most fondly. My favorite Australian encounter was when I met an older couple from Adelaide in a sandwich shop in Heidelberg. We talked about how beautiful Germany is, talked about Cooper Pedy, we talked about Obama, etc. I met several Australians while I was there and all were open and friendly.
This is why based on my own experience I proclaim that Australians are better company than Americans.