Love at first sight with Berlin!
Country of origin: Belgium; Destination Country: Germany
To be honest, I don’t know exactly when my mobility story started. Was it when I came to Berlin three years ago with the EVS and decided to settle down here? Or when I went to Istanbul with the Erasmus program? Or when my Indian father and my Italian mother met and decided to settle down in Brussels to raise their family? Probably each ot these events led me to where I stand today.
As I was still in Istanbul, I learned that I was going to move to Berlin the year after in the frame of the EVS. I was really excited, although I had no clue of the German culture and did not speak a single word of German! But I figured I would learn it day by day and I strongly set myself to do so. Of course the first months were hard and I had moments of despair but the truth is, I had felt in love with Berlin during my first weeks already. I had never experienced such a sense of freedom and openness before and I was continuously learning new competences at my job where I was volunteering, giving me the feeling that I was reaching a very crucial moment of my life. After doing my EVS in Berlin, I got accepted to study my Master degree of European Studies at the Viadrina University and therefore extended my stay in Berlin for much longer. It had been already such an achievement for me to meet the entrance requirements! However, being considered as a regular student and not an Erasmus student anymore was much harder than what I expected but the perspective of writing my Master thesis in German, far from discouraging me, was seen as a personal challenge. Improving my language skills everyday and getting familiar with this new lifestyle, I consider today Berlin as my first home. I’m also graduated now and it feels amazing. My thesis gathers the experiences of 8 young persons accross Europe who did their EVS in Germany. Through interviews, I analyzed how people can still be deeply impregnated of their year abroad, even years later and how they build strong ties with their EVS-city.
Of course Berlin will not be my last stop. There are still dozens of other places I want to see in Europe before I finally decide to “retire”. It seems that my next steps will take me to London with a Leonardo da Vinci scolarship. If I’m lucky, maybe I will come back with a sweet british accent…!