My name is Soheon Kim, I am 24 year old and I am from South Korea. I finished my Bachelor’s degree in one of the best universities there, with a major in Western history and minor in journalism. But even with such a notorious university and a couple of internships I was not able to find a proper job in my country. It was quite frustrating to see how the expectations of my generation do not meet the reality. To save myself from depression, I decided to make a Eurotrip for a month – that was in December last year. I was going to see several western European countries, but I also wanted to go with the flow, so I did not plan every day of my trip. I had only two tickets, from South Korea and to South Korea. However, I ended up spending much more days in Germany than I had initially planned because I really liked it here.
When I came back, I realized that Germany could be a really nice country to live in. After this month I decided to go for it and applied for a working visa. It turned out to be quite easy to get it, so I came back to Germany already in mid-January 2015. I decided to try to live here at least for a year, to have an experience, to live by myself, to find a job or an internship.
Why do you like Germany?
This is quite unexpected for me, too. When I was at the University, I studied French and I also lived three months in France; not in Paris, but in Dijon. Compared to this experience, when I was travelling in Germany, I thought, it’s a nicer place to live in terms of environment and people. Germans are good in English – definitely much better than French. So I thought that even though I speak French a bit, it would be easier for me to find friends here – Germans who can speak English with me. Next, the living costs in Germany are a lot cheaper than in France, so here I thought I can make a living by myself.
Do you feel accepted in German society?
I can’t tell really confidently that I am accepted in the society, but maybe because I am in Cologne, which is said to be one of the open-minded cities in Germany, I feel quite good over here. I managed to make some German friends, and I am also living with German girls now. The first time I came to Germany I really didn’t know anyone, but while I was travelling I did a lot of Сouchsurfing, so this is how I met really good people. And also, there are websites like Meetup, where expats meet each other and talk, or Mundo Lingo, for language exchange. It’s really nice because not only expats, but also Germans come there, so I can meet the locals as well and make new friends.
Have some stereotypes of Germans proved to be true?
This one is hard. Personally I did not have bad stereotypes of Germany, because while I was travelling, I met so many nice people. In South Korea there might be some stereotypes, for example that the Germans are not funny and they are too strict. And I think, it’s true to some extent: Germans are not really funny, not really light people. But I also feel that this works well for me, because they like to talk about serious issues and they have their own thoughts and ideas. So Germans are my type of people.