Portraits series

“Come with an open-mind & depending on what you are looking for, rest assured that you will find it.”

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 ?

October 2011.

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 :

Berlin is like an hadouken in your face

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.


One of the artworks i saw on my urban expeditions

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.


Fresh & 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. He has a cool blog on all his travels around the world and his passion for visiting abandoned places. Check it out : http://www.matttheroamingcanuck.com/



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