Some things in life have become so familiar to us that we don’t even question it. I’m thinking about queuing 2 hours for Berghain, waiting too long for a Döner at Mustapha’s or giving up on the idea of ever buying real butter (no margarine) at Lidl & Aldi. Those things exist and we won’t challenge them.
One could also say the same about how most of us define ourselves. The term probably comes up in your conversations once in a while back home or here. We are expatriates, expats part of the expat community.
“What does it feel like to be an expat?”
“Aren’t you tired about all those expats ruining the city?”
“I can’t believe how many expats just don’t want to learn the language! Right?”
But why exactly do we favor that term? Surely, as foreigners, if we left our countries in search of a better life abroad, should we not be immigrants? It would seem to make sense after all. So who is an expat? Who is an immigrant? What does that say about us? And is there a better way to call ourselves? These things have been in my head for a while now, and i will make my own attempt to try to answer to these questions.
Ever since i got to Berlin, i always counted on my notions of German to get me through what i thought would be a short & fun stay in this beautiful city. I had learned German for a year during high-school.
As time went by, the short stay became a longer one, and before i knew it, i had actually settled here. Since it was never the plan to stay here for good, i didn’t take German too seriously but still trying to learn as much as i could to escape the usual expats crowds and discover what was beyond the obvious “scene”.
It was never an scholar approach anyway; “Just speak the street-german, you’ll be fine”, i told myself many times.
There has been undoubtedly a sharp increase of foreign population living in Berlin for the last 8-6 years. This continuous flow of very different people from around the world has both brought a new dynamism and great changes to the city. This new state of affairs is perfectly normal to us expats as we belong this movement and we have no to little idea of how the city looked like before this “rebirth”. However, to original local Berliners, their environment has drastically changed over the past few years, raising mixed feelings like excitement, suspicion, joy, or fear among others.
I will try to present here what Berliners friends felt about Berlin’s new face, expats, and change. By doing so, i hope to give a clearer view of what locals think of expats here.
This page is meant for you to take over because it’s simply not enough for me to write a few sound advices on some obscure blog. People need to connect, to share, to discuss so that all the amazing content seen on this blog has a purpose. Although I was reluctant to publish it in the first place, I changed my mind because several people expressed the need for a place where people wanting to settle in Berlin could shape a little community.
It’s sometimes hard to figure out things out on your own here, so seeing that other people are in the same situation can help. Not because it makes you feel better to see other people too, but because everyone has an experience that can profit to others. If you are experienced Berliner, go there once in a while to shoot some shizzle of your Wisdom around.
I will of course feed it once in a while, but hopefully in the future, it will live by itself through interactions of people there.
We are of course a small group now, but it always grows and people are nice, I have heard. Who knows what will emerge from it ? a sect ? a new trend ? Love stories ? a blue lobster ? Who knows ?
Follow the page, share it, talk about it, it’s yours now !
ps : If you are an expat who wants to share his or her experience of moving to Berlin, feel free to get in touch with me. I would then organize a little interview and even get you some beers if manageable. As i’ve said, i think a lot can be learned from other people’s experiences. Get in touch via the contact form in “Let’s get in touch” in the header of every page !
I am an expat in Berlin i have often found it difficult to find proper and trustworthy information about moving to Berlin.
A lot of information about moving to Berlin, but …
There was a lot of information about moving to Berlin for sure but not one website where i could find everything nicely organized. Thus i have spent a lot of time wondering about every little detail, every administrative process and finding information about multiple topics. It can be challenging especially when you are on your own moving to Berlin.