Hi! I am Judee Bendiola. I grew up in the Philippines, but I have lived in different countries. I graduated cum laude with Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. I worked as a freelance host, actress, and a media practitioner in the Philippines and as a public relations executive in Singapore. I am currently doing my Master’s in North American Studies in Marburg, Germany.
I wanted to pursue a Degree in Europe that would help me grow professionally. Initially, I started applying to various countries: Australia, the USA and the UK, but the tuition fees are very expensive there, and then Germany came to my mind. I actually knew that Germany does not have tuition fees, just a semester contribution… and I met my boyfriend (now my fiancé) in Singapore and he happened to be German.
Could you tell us a few words about your blog?
I started my blog about a year ago to share my experiences and things I have learned and also to give some tips for Asians in Germany or thinking of coming to Germany. I first started blogging in the Filipino language, but then realized that many of my new readers don’t speak my native language, so little by little I completely switched to English!
What were the initial difficulties for you?
First and foremost there is a language barrier at the beginning! It takes time to learn the German language. I want people to understand that if you are not competent in a foreign language, it does not mean you are not intelligent or you are not capable of thinking!
It took me a long time to have a good student job simply because most companies prefer to employ a native speaker (even for a simple admin job).
Germans like to speak their minds directly, they say things right away…and for us Asians (laughing –ed.) it takes a while to get used to it. You know, if there is something we don’t like, we will find a very nice, indirect way of saying it. We always choose the right words 😉
Do you feel yourself integrated?
I think integration is a process… I am on the right track, but I still need to learn, accept, and understand a lot of things…
Let me paraphrase the question. Do you feel accepted by the German society?
Interesting question. In which standard do you measure acceptance? As I mentioned earlier, Germans are very direct and straightforward and if I measure that characteristics according to the Asian standard, then I might feel Germans judge me, they don’t accept me here… if I measure that in the German way, then yes! I am on my right track to being integrated. I, however, often need my fiancé to help me understand how some things work here.
Does Germany seem multicultural?
Most German cities are multicultural… it is easier to integrate and be accepted in cities, people are more open…
There are, however, many small town /villages where the people there are really conservative, specially on their perceptions or acceptance to “foreigners”. I attended a typical German wedding, one German lady came to me and touched my skin! That was the first time, she saw an Asian woman with tanned skin.
I am aware that there are people that don’t travel much, they don’t want to know much about other countries… some people live in little villages their whole lives and they are happy and very comfortable there, some don’t even want to work in a different village. 😉
What is the first thing you’d do when you go back to the Philippines?
I want to meet my friends and family and eat something together. I miss our food a lot…
Do you like German food?
I was really shocked! At first, it is really hard for me to eat cold cuts or dishes but I am getting used to it right now. I am eating healthier, specially “bio” food now and I am open to try new German or other European foods!
What would you like to import from Germany to the Philippines?
Punctuality, discipline (Germans are very organized) and the responsibility or accountability of the government- I think these might be helpful for Philippines’ progress.
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