Italian expat Living & Working in Berlin, Meet Federico
|Published:||24 Jul at 9 AM|
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Here's the interview with Federico...
Where are you originally from?
A microscopic village in the north of Italy.
In which country and city are you living now?
How long have you lived here and how long are you planning to stay?
I've lived here for two and a half years and I'm not planning on moving any time soon.
Why did you move and what do you do?
I used to have a long distance relationship with a guy in Berlin, so I applied to a job here. After the company turned me down I kept living my life in Italy without really looking for other opportunities until eight months later, a couple of hours after my (now ex) boyfriend broke up with me, they called me up out of the blue and told me I could have the job.
I took it.
The minute I become famous I expect a movie to be based on this, probably starring Zoey Deschanel as me.
Oh, and I'm currently working in online marketing, which can actually be a lot of fun.
How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
Shocking. I didn't know a word of German and I had never actively used English in my life, which made the language barrier thick and isolating at times. In addition to that the small sized, small minded environment I came from was clashing hard with Berlin's inner extravaganza and open mindedness, making my small-town-boy beliefs shatter.
Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
The workplace and german class were, in the beginning, the main social occasions. They were both young, friendly environments and it wasn't difficult at all to make friends there, especially with other expats who were living my same experience.
Visit art galleries, have a beer while sitting along the canal, play drunk ping pong in ping pong bars, eat delicious kebab from some "Imbiss", bar hop in Neukoelln or Kreuzberg, go to every concert you can.
What do you enjoy most about living here?
Berlin has a vibrant cultural/art scene and it's a melting pot of ideas, cultures and lifestyles so different and so enriching if you're curious enough to let them touch you.
How does the cost of living compare to home?
It's so much cheaper than home, especially when it comes to rents.
What negatives, if any, are there to living here?
People leave and you can't stop them. Also, Berlin is the poorest city in Germany and it's far from being the "Eldorado" many people think it is.
Let the city grow on you. Some things will immediately hit you in a positive or negative way, but a lot of other aspects (mostly regarding people and culture and society) require time to be understood and appreciated.
What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
Money was super tight in the beginning. During the first year I had a full time office job along with a side writing job as a freelancer, both for german companies based in Berlin, and still my annual income turned out to be way beyond the poverty level.
I was this close to starting a hip hop career.
When you finally return home, how do you think you'll cope with repatriation?
I'll be in denial for a couple of months and then I'll become as lame and annoying as Season three Jack.
- Come with a plan. Everyone from everywhere is coming or wants to come living in Berlin, which translates - sadly - into a huge competition when it comes to finding a job, finding a flat or simply emerging in your field. The more prepared you are the better.
- Learn the language before coming. You don't need to be fluent, but four/five months of german lessons would already make your life easier once you're here
- Remember that the winter is going to end, at some point. I promise.
- Remember to take your shoes off every time you enter a german person's apartment if you don't want them to have a mental breakdown.
- Don't you ever walk in the cycle path if you're attached to your life
Tell us a bit about your own expat blog.
It's a (supposedly) funny take on my life and whatever I see happening around me, in complete disregard of my almost disintegrated dignity.
How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
On the blog you'll find my email address and a million social network profiles ;-)
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Comments » There is 1 comment
Love the pics & interview Frederico! As a fellow expat in Berlin, I am constantly amused by your interactions with the city. Although, it is really too bad you turned away from a hip hop career. I have a hunch your raps would be amazing.