I wanted to interview people of color living in Germany, so I got some responses. This black man is from United Kingdom and now lives in Berlin. He goes by the name of Brian. Here are the answers to my questions. Note the featured image is not him.. just someone I thought looked like him. Thank you Brian.
Where were you born and in which countries have you lived?
Born in UK, lived in UK & Germany only
Describe your first trip to Germany?
I was a bit nervous, due to initial rumours about neo Nazis but enthusiastic as I already knew many djs/ artists and musicians here, who encouraged me to check Berlin out, especially for the nightlife!
When did you realize that you had the Expat bug?
When I realised how much cheaper it was compared to London, plus at that point wanted to live somewhere a bit more laid back, however, Barcelona was initially my first choice.
What has been your most enlightening experience while living in Germany?
The lack of violence in comparison to London.
What has been your most disheartening experience while living Germany?
Lack of manners. At times, it seems as if the words “excuse me” or “thanks” exist here!
Which customs from home do you miss the most?
British humour, politeness and small talk + British/ Jamaican culture
How important is it to learn German?
Very important if I intend to stay here for many more years to come
Do you have proficiency in Germany?
Intermediate at the moment, but slowly improving – need to make more effort though.
How have you gone about making friends?
Most of my friends are either expats or through work to be honest. It can be difficult at times to make friends with the natives.
Have you connected with the expat community where you live?
Yes, but I also find it a shame that I don’t have more German friends in my inner circle.
How do you keep in touch with family and friends from home?
Facebook, Skype & Phone calls.
Are you working? Is it difficult to find a job?
I’m currently working full time and yes, it is difficult to find a job, as employers know that they can exploit the market here due to high unemployment + high number of over qualified professionals.
Have you found that you have to live on less income? And if so how have you made the
I manage on less income, as cost of living is still lower in comparison to UK.
How hard is it to find a good place to live?
Very difficult in the current climate, especially if you live centrally, unless you happen to be a “nachmieter” based on someone’s recommendation.
What are the opportunities to buy property?
No idea, but would like to find out in the near future.
What are the top 3 attractions or places of interest?
The lakes that surround Berlin, the Museums and of course the general nightlife!
Where are the best places to vacation in your region as a single person? A
couple? A family with children?
To be honest when I take vacation, I usually go abroad.
How would you describe the Germans mentality?
Unless the Germans you’ve met have travelled or lived abroad, that many of the people can be quite rigid in their thinking and do not think outside the box.
What would you say to a friend or relative who is considering moving to Germany?
Try and at least learn some German beforehand or as soon as you arrive. Also, if possible, try and visit beforehand and experience the city as an ordinary person living/ hanging out in a neighbourhood away from tourists or expats. It’s also worth speaking to people who have lived here for at least 3 years or more as to give you a balanced view.
Do you consider yourself a permanent expatriate? or…
– a temporary expatriate? – an incidental expatriate? And why?
A temporary expatriate because I cannot imagine growing old here, as I can imagine it would be quite lonely without a solid cultural circle, plus Germany is still far from being a proper integrated society.
How has your life as an expatriate changed who you are?
Yeah, as at times feel unable to express my true self, due to cultural differences.
Do Blacks (or foreigners in general) in your view have any problems with adjustment or
discrimination in Germany?
They do, but coming from the UK, USA or Canada, means you’re will be probably better than others imo..however this doesn’t make me feel better as I know some of the crap many Africans and Turkish have to deal with. There is no class system like in the UK, however, the educational and employment system needs a desperate overhaul due to it’s discriminatory nature.
Cost of living and quality of life questions
Rent costs-Approx. €1050
Cost for meals- €7 -€15.
Transportation costs- I mainly use a bike.
Compared to your home country are most things cheap/same/expensive?
Rent, entertainment and food is cheaper – consumer goods on the other hand are more expensive.
Any legal hurdles all foreigners have to face to live there?
From the UK no – I have no idea about non-EU countries.
Top 3 things you would recommend someone to bring when they come
6 Months worth of savings, a laptop and a stock of favourite toiletries
Top 3 things you would recommend for someone visiting or living here to do
Most of the museums, parks and outdoor bars in summer.
I hope to get more submissions from other Black expats living in Germany… for more information on how to submit, click interview submissions.