Agnes shares her experience with moving to Germany - from adapting to the cultural differences to finding friends for life and wanting to stay here forever!
Please introduce yourself! My name is Agnes and I am from Indonesia. I was born in Jakarta and lived there my whole life before moving to Germany.
When and why did you move to Berlin? I got a chance to move to Germany because of my acceptance to a German University. The first city I lived in was Cologne - I moved there in 2013, lived there for 2 years while taking my double degree program in International Business Management. In 2016, I moved to Dortmund for work. I had to learn how to adapt to society again and especially looking for new friends and starting from zero. It was a little bit hard to find friends because of the language barrier and in a small city like Dortmund, where not everyone can speak English. So I was the one who had to adapt. While I was staying there, I often went to Berlin for weekend trips. Almost all my friends were in Berlin at that time and I missed the times when you had a good friend in a foreign country. By the end of 2016, I decided to leave my job in Dortmund because I never truly felt at home. I felt like I was always just an "Ausländer" (outsider). So I decided to move to Berlin during the Christmas season and it turned out to be the best decision ever. At that time it was also the biggest decision ever, choosing between a stable job and feeling just somewhat-okay or having to start a new chapter once again by moving to another city.
How did you find settling in? It was an absolute catastrophe but definitely worth it! Finding a flat wasn’t easy - but once you find one, keep it!
Visa - you really need to get your documents together. Documents are your life in Germany (never throw out any of your paper, just to be safe).
Culture - very different from Asia. Berlin is very open-minded and people have different life values (in this case money isn't everything) and the quality of life (work-life balance) is very good here!
What advice would you give someone who’s moving to Berlin? Berlin isn't like any other city. Berlin is wild, fun, and youthful. It took time for me to adjust because for me Berlin was too crowded, too loud and too hipster. It is a love-hate relationship, you hate it but you also want to stay here for as long as you can. That’s what makes it feel like home. You can never get bored - there are hundreds of places to party, bars to hang out in and the best part...they have the greatest variety of food here. The multicultural and diverse people makes it easier for you to feel accepted. That is what is really important to me.
Do you see yourself staying here for the long term? If given the chance I would also want to try other cities. But I wouldn’t mind staying in Berlin for as long as I can. Mainly because finding good friends is never that easy and I feel comfortable here. So I wouldn’t trade them for something that I’m not sure of.
How is life in Germany different to your life in Indonesia? Well, one thing I am sure of, the 'labeling'. People here don't seem to label us (foreigners) for being different, they just accept you for who you are. They don't care how much income you have, how many cars you have, whether you’re gay or straight. You can be who you are - be true to yourself.
What do you enjoy most about Berlin? Of course it is the food! I'm a foodie, cannot lie about that.
Thank you for sharing, Agnes!