Land of opportunity and surprises: A Serbian girl in Germany

When I decided to move to Germany, many people told me: “You are crazy! How are you going to move to another country completely alone?” But I did come, and I discovered this safe country full of opportunities, surprises and nice people. I could never imagine how many doors would open for me once I stepped on German land. I want to tell you about a few things that surprised me at first, that were different from what I expected or from what I was used to in my home country Serbia.

I arrived in Germany almost 4 years ago to do my master studies. I must admit that it wasn’t always easy. I came here alone without having any friends or family waiting for me. But I learned a lot about myself just by being immersed in a different culture. This is my first time living outside my country for more than 3 months. So, there were a lot of challenges, also a bit of a culture shock sometimes – but definitely a lot of fun.

Work to live, not live to work

One of the biggest surprises I experienced after coming to Germany were German working hours. This was contradictory to my expectations based on the stereotype I had about Germans. I thought they only work and have no fun. However, it's quite different. When Germans work, they work with no distractions. But free time is sacred – they pursue their hobbies at any age and they really put an effort and organize their free time. There are also more bank holidays and more vacation days than I expected. Actually, FLYLINE grants at least 1 week more than what is prescribed by law – even 2 weeks for colleagues older than 30 years.

"Sprechen Sie Deutsch?"

The second surprise was related to my ability to learn German. Usually I’m inclined to learning foreign languages, as I studied linguistics and languages. And as German belongs to the Germanic languages, just like English, I expected to learn it much faster. But one thing complicated it: I’m sure that if I hadn't spoken any English, I would have learned German much faster. Why? Because Germans switch to English whenever they notice that a person has trouble speaking in German. That’s very nice on the one hand but makes learning German even harder on the other hand, since speaking and practicing in real life, remains the best way to learn a language. As far as I’ve experienced, most of the time you can handle your things in English, or maybe I just had a lot of luck. And, of course, I prefer to take the easy way out - why struggle? Unfortunately, this means that my German is improving slowly, although steadily. But I’m not the only one: this is the case with most of my international colleagues.

A Melting Pot

The third surprise is the multiculturalism in Germany. For example, my favorite thing to do when riding on a tram or metro in one of the big cities in Germany, is listening to different languages and recognizing them. This might have to do with my linguistic background, but I really enjoy it. When I moved to Germany for my studies, I lived close to Frankfurt am Main. And I can say that 50% of people on the metro in Frankfurt didn't speak German. This diversity brings about lots of opportunities: having friends from all over the world and experiencing different customs, food and cultural aspects. Coming from Serbia where we don’t have a lot of tourists or foreigners, it really expanded my horizons. Germany is becoming a real melting pot – just as FLYLINE. My favorite thing about working here is this diversity: there are more than 50 nationalities in one company. Can you imagine how many different perspectives of the world there are and how much we can learn from each other and the world in general? And by the way: the food we get to try is amazing. Each one of us brings back treats from our homeland or prepares traditional dishes for our team meetings. There is always something delicious and “exotic” served.,

Breakfast and coffee on my bike

The last surprise is my dependence on my bike - I just can’t imagine going anywhere without it. Have you ever experienced a lack of bike parking space or a bike traffic jam? This can actually happen in Bremen during a summer festival, or sometimes even on a nice sunny day in the center of the city. Bremen is flat and there are nearly no hills surrounding it. So, it’s perfectly convenient for bicycles –simply a real bike-city. My bike takes me to work in only 10 minutes. I think that there are almost no Germans - or at least “Bremer” - who have never learned how to ride a bike. It’s a must right after learning to walk and run. The bike traffic infrastructure is amazing and it’s really safe. Also riding the main streets to work on a bike, dressed in a suit and high heels, with children in a bike trailer is not an unusual site in Bremen. It’s great for the environment and health: Germany sets an example for other countries.

All in all, leaving my home country and coming to Germany was a big step in my life. At this point, after almost four years in Germany, I still feel that I need to learn a lot about its traditions and mentality of the people. But one thing is certain – I would definitely like to stay here.


Funktion bei FLYLINE:
Customer Service Agent

Linguistik und Web Technologie an der Universität Marburg sowie Englische Sprache und Literatur an der Universität Nis in Serbien

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