The Berlin Expat portraits series aims at putting in word the realities of being a foreigner here. Sometimes, a biased opinion is needed to get a clearer picture of what Berlin is like.
Second post of our series “Berlin Expat Portraits”, we meet today a Canadian guy that just can stop traveling and loves Poutine. (the dish, not the President)
Introduce yourself in a few words
My name is Matt. I am from the Texas of Canada : Alberta. I work at a game company doing tech support. I like to do woodworking as a hobby. The last thing i build was an arcade machine.
Why did you move to Berlin and why you stayed?
I was to suppose to open a hostel business in Berlin with my friend. Unfortunately it never happened. The friendship ended together with the business as you can imagine.
Since i don’t accept failure and i love Berlin. I decided to stay here.
When did that happen ?
What did you expect in particular when moving here ?
I have Turkish heritage and Berlin has the highest Turkish population outside of Turkey so i was expecting to experience the typical stereotypes by Germans despite me being a Canadian by heart. I also knew that the art & culture scene was very big.
Were those expectations fulfilled ? Did you regret your decision ?
Absolutely fulfilled except the Turkish stereotypes part. 🙂
I never regretted my decision to move here and i would do it again anytime.
Sum up your life in Berlin with one animated gif :
Would you have done some things differently to settle here?
I remember that when first coming here, i tried to go through every administrative hurdle on my own. This has been especially challenging since i didn’t speak German at that time. It was quite stressful.
For example, i applied for the blue card at the Ausländerbehorde in Berlin. I had already emailed all the necessary documents l before presenting myself in their buildings for a short interview. One of the requirements of the visa was to have a bachelor degree. I had graduated in Turkey.
The lady in front of me made a problem out of that and for this reason didn’t grant me the visa although it was said nowhere that my diploma shouldn’t be Turkish. I could have probably fought to get it but since i couldn’t speak German, i had no means for negotiation.
I felt helpless.
So please please, learn at least the keywords of bring a German-speaking friend with you.
What sort of advice would you give to someone who would like to move here?
Come with an open-mind & depending on what you are looking for, rest assured that you will find it.
What is your favorite thing about Berlin ?
I like the teenage-like state of mind in the city because nothing ever really gets old. Things are always renewed. It keeps things fresh and interesting.
What do you dislike the most ?
The rudeness and the constant staring. German people somehow like to stare at people and the loud ambulances !!!!! How loud do they have to be !
How long would you like your love story with Berlin to be ?
Until i miss the Canadian Rockies, Berlin is too flat for me. 😉
More seriously : i do have permanent residency which means i will be here for at least a few years.
Best bar ? Best brunch ? Best club ? Best neighborhood ?
I can recommend the best hummus in Berlin: Azzam on Sonnenallee.
I really like the “Rixdorf” in Neukölln, great bar. I love how it’s layed-out.
Do you have plans to reopen a hostel or any other business?
Not a hostel. Berlin has too many hostels as it is. Something else in the works for me.
We thank Matt a lot for this interview and wish him well.