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From the UK to Berlin: Where To Next?

19 June, 2017 08:07  Erin Erin

Where To Next?Hi there, my name’s Chloe and I’m a blogger at wheretonext.world! I’m originally from Teesside, England and after living there for most of my life, I decided to up and move to Berlin, Germany where I currently live with my boyfriend.

1. Why did you move abroad?

I took my first trip to Berlin at the age of 12 and completely fell in love with the city. After taking another trip to Munich at 14 and going back to Berlin again at 19, I was 100% certain that one day I was going to move to Germany. Although I do love my hometown, Teesside wasn’t very exciting and there were so many other places I wanted to experience. I knew that a short holiday never really gives you a true perspective of a place so that’s when we came up with the idea of becoming expats in several different countries through the course of our lives.

2. How do you make a living?
Back in England, I worked as a Customer Service advisor so it has been a struggle to find a job after coming to Berlin. In order to get 95% of the Customer Service jobs in Berlin, you have to speak German and unfortunately, my German is still not yet at a conversational level. Thankfully, my partner secured a job the day after we moved here (he’s a Website Developer which is in high demand here) which is so helpful for him but until I find a job, I choose to live off of my own savings rather than his wage.

3. How often do you communicate with home and how?

I communicate with home pretty often. I’d say I speak to my parents every 2-3 days on Whatsapp and Skype them once every 1-2 weeks. I speak to my friends a bit less frequently as they’re understandably busy with their own lives but we make sure to do a big catch up every now and again.

4. What’s your favourite thing about being an expat in Berlin?
My favourite thing is definitely that there is so much to see and do. Berlin is packed full of famous tourist attractions, quirky cafés and beautiful restaurants. Plus, you don’t need to travel far to escape the city and find yourself relaxing in a log cabin, miles from anyone.

5. What’s the worst thing about being an expat in Berlin?
The worst part is so easy to pinpoint! Simple tasks become so difficult as an English couple (it’s probably the same for other nationalities but I wouldn’t know) moving to Berlin. There are so many Catch-22 situations here that we’ve heard and read so many people talk about. For instance, in order the secure an apartment, you have to have a German bank account. In order to have a German bank account, you must have a German address. That’s just one of the many situations that we find ourselves in. It can be quite disheartening at times but we always just remember how lucky we are that my boyfriend found a job so quickly and that we have savings to support ourselves which a lot of people do not.

6. What do you miss most?
I know it sounds cringy but I miss my Nanna the most. I miss a lot of people (especially my parents) but the good thing about that is that I have the ability to Whatsapp and Skype them whenever we feel like it. However, with my Nanna, it’s a lot harder to keep in contact with her so it’s a lot more difficult being away from her. But I do miss Marmite a whole lot as well…

7. What did you do to meet people and integrate in your new home?
During the time since we have left home (3 months today), we have stayed in a total of 19 different hotels/Airbnbs and several of those have been shared accommodation. We have met and bonded with so many lovely people during this and it has become such a good way to learn about the country and it’s culture. Next week, I start formal German lessons as I have only been learning at home so far so hopefully, that’ll make it a lot easier to integrate into the city.

8. What custom/habits do you find most strange about your adopted culture?
While we’ve been in both Germany and Austria, the use of the German language to show respect has shocked us a little. The use of informal/formal pronouns can be taken very seriously here (especially with the older generation) which was slightly worrying as we didn’t want to offend someone with our broken German. The nightlife here is very intense and I found certain aspects slightly strange when I first found out about them. For instance, back home (especially in the North East of England where I’m from), if you’re going on a night out, everyone looks their best - little black dresses, full faces of makeup, 6” heels...the lot. Here, if you go out looking like that, you’ll be the only one who does and everyone else - in their trainers, jeans and backpack - will most likely stare. I made that unfortunate mistake 2 years ago for a birthday night out and believe me, it’s not fun.

9. What is a myth about your adopted country?
A lot of people believe the German people to be rude and aggressive which we have found is completely incorrect. Apart from the usual rude people you find in every country, we haven’t found anyone to be particularly rude to us and in fact, have come across a lot more friendly people than we ever did back home.

10. Is the cost of living higher or lower than the last country you lived in and how has that made a difference in your life?
Although not massively, the cost of living is slightly higher here compared to back home but compared to other capital cities, we’ve found Berlin to be reasonably cheap. To make sure we don’t run out of money, we rarely buy anything that isn’t needed anymore. We used to buy clothes, accessories and house decorations all of the time which completely burns away your money. Since I arrived, I haven’t bought anything that wasn’t totally necessary. This has helped our spending decrease by such a huge amount.

11. What advice would you give other expats?

If you haven’t moved yet - don’t expect it to be easy, it’s the worst thing you could do. Research other people’s experiences and prepare yourself for the worst so that you know what to do if that happens to you. If you’ve already moved - the hardest part’s over so be proud of that. If something’s getting you down, whether it’s money or finding somewhere to live or you simply don’t like where you’ve moved, is there anything stopping you from trying somewhere else rather than going home? You’ve experienced that place and it wasn’t for you, but who knows, maybe that other city you contemplated going to a little while back is 100% for you!

12. When and why did you start your blog?Where To Next?
I started wheretonext.world just a few months before we packed up and left home. My passion for photography had recently grown and I wanted an outlet for my photographs and memories. I wasn’t expecting for anyone but family to read it so that they could keep up with our travels while we were away. Once it got a bit more of a following I loved hearing other people’s input on where they thought we should go next and I began to love what I was doing. It eventually became a big part of my life.

Blog LinkChloe's blog, Where To Next?

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