22 June 2017

Justyna - Expat in Berlin, Germany

Justyna - Expat in Berlin, Germany

We’ve had the chance to talk to Justyna, 29, a Polish expat who moved to Germany over five years ago. She works within e-commerce industry and runs a blog dedicated to Polish community in Berlin - BERLINSKO

Read more about her experiences in the full interview below.


Q: Where are you from originally?

A: I come from the southern part of Poland.


Q: What made you move out of Poland?

A: I’ve always wanted to live somewhere abroad for a while. So I lived in France (Paris), and now I am in Berlin with no intention of coming back to Poland anytime soon. Berlin feels good.


Q: Where are you living now? How did you come to choose this new country of residence?

A: I started living in Berlin by coincidence. I moved here after my boyfriend (now husband) had done the same.


Q: How long have you been living in Germany?

A: Over five years already.


Q: Are you living alone or with your family? If yes, how are they adjusting to the Expat Lifestyle?

A: I live with my husband. I have German, Polish and international friends. In Berlin, it’s not difficult. I didn’t feel that I need to make any big adjustments to my lifestyle. It’s just better to have such a lifestyle in Berlin rather than in Poland.


Q: Do you miss home and family sometimes? How do you cope with homesickness?

A: I miss my parents the most, but luckily my hometown is close enough that I could visit them regularly and pretty frequently.


Q: What do you think about the locals?

A: It’s hard to define a Berlin local. Real Berliners usually stick together and it’s much harder to make friends with them, as they grew up in the city and already have their friends here. But I also feel that on the other hand, Berlin is more a state of mind, so you can feel like a local already when you dig the city vibe.


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

A: I met many friends thanks to my husband but I also developed my own social circles: through work, sports activities and going out.


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

A: Berlin is more expensive than my hometown but similarly expensive to Polish capital - Warsaw. 

  • Q: How much is a cup of coffee?

A: It’s around 2€.

  • Q: How much is a meal in an inexpensive restaurant?

A: Sometimes, it could be really cheap which I love about Berlin the most. On average, it’s around 5-10€.

  • Q: How much is a meal in an expensive restaurant?

A: Around 20-30€.

  • Q: How much is a bottle of wine? How about a pack of cigarettes?

A: A bottle of wine costs around 5€ in Späti (the German word for a convenience store).


Q: Do you have any tips for future expats when it comes to opening a bank account in Germany?

A: Prepare all the documents in advance (it’s good to have an address already).


Q: How will you describe your experience with government paperwork such as applications for Visa and work permits? Why is that so?

A: German paperwork can seem very complicated but it’s also super efficient.


Q: Would you say that healthcare in Germany is reliable? Any preferred clinics or advice for expats?

A: Yes, very much so. Sometimes you need to queue though. No advice in that matter.


Q: Did you secure a health insurance in Poland/Germany?  What should be the essentials in the coverage for expats, in your opinion?

A: Yes, I am secured in Germany :) People should compare the monthly fees and benefits they get in return.


Q: What was the most memorable about the packing and moving process to Germany? Which was the mover you chose and how was your experience with them?

A: I came to Berlin directly after finishing my exams in Poland. My father helped me to move :)


Q: What is the biggest challenge that you have faced as a new expat?

A: At the beginning, the worst experience was with the apartment castings. Be prepared that it might be difficult to find a flat in Berlin!


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

A: Living in Germany definitely helped me to be more organised. Living in Berlin - to be more open-minded and open for people.


Q: What are the best things to do in the area? Any particular recommendations for future expats?

A: I really like Kreuzberg and Neukölln, especially during summer. Just buy a beer in Späti and sit somewhere by the Landwehrkanal.


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

A: I would love to live in Portugal for a while as well.


Q: What tips will you give to expats living in the country?

A: Stay open-minded and positive and everything will be alright.


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

A: Not specifically about Germany, but about Berlin, i.e.: mitvergnuegen.com.