1 August 2016

Federico - Expat in Berlin, Germany

Federico - Expat in Berlin, Germany

Federico is a 30-year-old Italian Digital PR in Germany. He is originally from a small town in the northern part of Italy. He decided to move abroad four years ago in hopes of finding better job opportunities and make his life better by working overseas.

Although he loves Berlin, Germany was not originally his country of choice, “What happened is that the former flatmate of a former boyfriend was leaving his job in Berlin and recommended me to take his place in the company. I never really met that guy, but ended up working in that company for more than three years,” said Federico.

Finding jobs overseas can be tough, especially when you don’t have contacts and you don’t know where to start looking for them. The best way to look for possible job opportunities is by thoroughly checking out sources online and through your local job listings.

Find out more about Federico’s experiences in Germany in his full interview below.


Q: Where are you originally from?

A: I was born and raised in a small town in the north of Italy.


Q: What made you move out of your home country?

A: At age 27, I decided to move abroad because of the chance presented itself, and because I couldn’t think of anything better to do with my life.


Q: Where are you living now?

A: I live in Berlin and love it, although I feel like I’ve never actively chosen to live here.


Q: How did you come to choose this new country of residence?

A: What happened is that the former flatmate of a former boyfriend was leaving his job in Berlin and recommended me to take his place in the company. I never really met that guy, but ended up working in that company for more than three years.


Q: How long have you been living in Germany?

A: Four years.


Q: What has been the most difficult experience you've had when you were new in Germany?

A: All the toughest experiences from the beginning have something to do with me not speaking the language and being very, very bad at bureaucracy: a deadly combination if you're in Germany.


Q: Would you say that formalities like getting visas or work permits and international health insurance was particularly difficult in Germany? What was your experience with these?

A: Being an EU Citizen, I don't need any visa or work permit (thank God!) and everything concerning my health insurance has always been taken care of by my employers. That said, German bureaucracy stands by its reputation and can be excruciating. What's good (and goes strongly against every stereotype you'll hear) is that in public offices I have received nothing but kindness and patience.


Q: Are you living alone or with your family?

A: I left Mamma and Papà in Italy and am currently living with my boyfriend.


Q: Was it easy making friends and meeting people? Do you mainly socialize with other expats in Germany? How did you manage to find a social circle in Germany?

A: Sometimes I feel like making friends is actually easier than keeping them. Berlin is a vibrant, chaotic place of transit and as much as mingling with other expats is incredibly easy (German classes, international start-ups, internet groups: the chances are there!) everyone leaves sooner than later.


Q: What are the best things to do in the area? Anything to recommend to future expats?

A: There's something for everybody! The great thing about this city is that it satisfies the needs and supports the lifestyles of very different kinds of people. The clubbers, the workaholics, the artists, the chronically unemployed and the happily unemployed: Berlin has activities and a place for any of these people.


Q: How does the cost of living in Germany compared to your home?

A: In general the cost of living is way cheaper than back home, but Berlin seems to be the exception and richer German cities like Munich or Hamburg have ridiculously high prices.


Q: How do you find the local culture and people in Germany?

A: I don't know if Berlin qualifies as “local German culture” because (according to all the Germans I know) it's more open-minded and socially peculiar than any other place in Germany.


Q: What do you think are the positive and negative sides of living in Germany?

A: Positive sides: the economical situation is better than in my homeland, a lot of things work more efficiently (e.g. public transportation), plus all the general advantages that the city offers compared to the suburbs. Negative sides: German is incredibly hard to learn.


Q: Do you miss home and family sometimes?

A: I do miss home, of course.


Q: How do you cope with homesickness?

A: Luckily, modern technology allows me to connect with my family and friends in a way that makes them feel not as far. If I could also tele transport my favourite Italian cookies right into my mouth, I'd be completely satisfied.


Q: Do you have plans to move to a different country or back home in the future?

A: I do not, but to shamelessly quote Alanis Morissette—“life has a funny way of sneaking up on you.”


Q: What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?

A: I think I've had a pretty fortunate experience so far. The toughest time probably came when the company I was working for started having economical problems and had to lay off people.


Q: What tips can you give other expats living in that country?

A: Putting ketchup on pasta is not acceptable, no matter what everybody else tells you.


Q: Do you have favourite websites or blogs about Germany?

A: I'm gonna go with Uberlin (http://www.uberlin.co.uk/), which is both a super informative resource for expats in Berlin and a personal blog with a distinct, cosy personality. In addition to that, I'm also pretty fond of The Click Clack Gorilla (http://www.clickclackgorilla.com/).