My name is Christina Jankowski and I have a German and a Swiss passport. My background is a bit more colourful though, as my grandparents come from four different countries: France, Germany, Poland and Switzerland. Moreover, my boyfriend is Argentinian and we speak mostly Spanish together.
Do you feel German?
Rather than speaking of nationality I like to think of cultural identity. I am convinced that every person has multiple cultural identities.
I was born and raised in Germany and my mother tongue is German. So that’s why I definitely have a German identity. I have some typical German characteristics like saying very directly what I want and I like to plan my time efficiently. I also feel somewhat related to Switzerland because I visit my family there every year and I spent many vacations there. After high school I went to study abroad for nearly four years in the Netherlands and in Spain and then I worked for almost three years in Brussels. I have friends from other countries and knowing other cultures has enriched my life and broadened my horizon. So that’s why today I feel as a European too.
For other people… they might be stronger influenced by their local or regional identities rather than relating to other countries or to Europe.
Are there any things that annoy you in Germany?
In Germany people are unfortunately very narrow-minded when it comes down to the language. Foreign people who speak very well German, but maybe talk with some accent or are not perfectly fluent, are often not treated as equal partners. I really hate when this happens. In my view, this is related to German thinking of doing things efficiently and that means quickly. So if a person is not fitting into this scheme, then Germans often become impatient instead of acknowledging the great effort by this other person and helping that person further, for example, by talking slower or offering to switch to English. In this regard Germans should become more flexible and open-minded.
What would you recommend to the Germans who are suspicious of foreigners?
A theraphy? (laughs – ed.) Well I am not sure what to say. Why should you trust any German stranger more than any other stranger? That would be my question to those people.
What are the advantages of living in Germany?
Bread and breakfast culture, in general. That’s just amazing and something I love very much. And then of course that we live in peace, freedom, democracy and security. The level of quality of life is high. This doesn’t mean that everything is perfect in Germany, but on average things are pretty good over here.
What would you recommend to the foreigners who want to move to Germany?
Learn the language. It’s the key to success and happiness if you want to stay in any foreign country.