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Celebrating 8 years and launching something new

Wait? Already?

It’s already been that long. 8 years of sharing my humble experience about bureaucracy in Germany.  It’s crazy to think about that i started all of this, and continues to do this as a solo operation, a side project. I never imagined that it would take me this far, becoming some sort of authority for newcomers in Germany. Funnily enough, it sometimes leaves me with the feeling of being a masked internet watchman. I can attend expat events where nobody knows me IRL, secretly filled with the satisfaction that i might have helped a few persons in the room. Or at least, that’s what my foolish pride thinks. 🙂 

A brave vigilante comes out of the night to fight bureaucratic terror 🙂

It hasn’t always been easy to respond all comments and publish regularly. Time is a limited commodity these days. Yet, it seems to make an impact for many of you. The response continues to be great with more and more users seeing this blog everyday (about 2500 unique visitors per day). And as Germany continues to be attractive (and confusing), i suspect that SiB will continue to serve well in the next coming years.

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“Expat” or “migrants”? How should we call ourselves & why you might be wrong

expats or immigrants, what's the difference

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.

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Growing up and taking a language course – die DeutSCHule

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.

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A new look and looking forward – celebrating 4 years

Licensed under creative commons 2.0 on Flickr . Jun Seita

If you are regular, you may have noticed that SiB has been updated with a slick new look which i hope will put content even more forward.

The last look was as old as 2011 when i first started this blog, with the aim of making the life of new expats easier. With humble beginnings, i’m proud to see SiB become more impactful with time.

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A check list made awesome : SiB has a timeline

Hello there,

I know, i know. It’s not easy. You have your dream in sight. You finally took a decision to move to Berlin. So what’s wrong ?

Well, there are so many things to take care of to just do that. That’s what wrong.

A job, a visa, a place to live, a social life, a date with Scarlett Johansson, a pink rabbit; and the list of items keeps growing !

I have been through that. For such a big move in your life, it’s hard to know where to start. It can really bring your motivation down.

But sometimes all you really need is a good check-list to move your project forward.

Behold my friend of the interwebs, this is where i come in. I made a timeline that lists all the main things to take care off in what i think is the right order.

You will find there

I hope it helps :). Let me know what you think or if i missed some elements to tick off.

Good Luck


Are expats unwelcomed in Berlin ? What Berliners say

Licensed under CC 2.0 on Flickr by Nathan

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.

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Not yet another Facebook page

Fellow blog visitor,

You might have already noticed by now, there is a Facebook widget below every page or article of this blog. This links to a page i have set-up on the blue social network.

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.

Settle in Berlin on Facebook

Blue thumbs

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 !

Good luck and see you there.


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 !


Settle in Berlin : moving to Berlin made easy

Greetings fellow visitor of the interwebs !

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.

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