Hello, my name is Natalja, I am from sunny Krasnodar. Have you ever heard of this city? Exactly 😉 Sochi, which became famous for the Olympic Games in 2014, is located in Krasnodar Krai. I came to Germany to get my Master’s Degree in Linguistics at Humboldt University of Berlin. If you ask me why Germany? The answer is quite simple: in 2008 I worked as Au Pair in Potsdam (not so far from Berlin) and I already knew how things work and what I needed to be accepted at a German University. Besides, my German was good enough to study here.
After the Au-Pair I came back to Krasnodar and got married. My husband and I were very happy together, but at the same time I could not get rid of the idea to apply to HU and to try to study here. One day my husband said to me: “Do it, go to Berlin and get your Master’s Degree”. So here I am! I am very thankful to him for saying that and for supporting my ambitions. It is very hard to live so far away from each other, it is a challenge for us. Of course, he visits me often and I go to Russia from time to time, but we still miss each other badly. Hopefully, it will be over soon.
What is it that you/dislike here?
In Berlin, and Germany in general, I cannot understand, for example, people’s ignorance to somebody’s bad behaviour in public places. Once I witnessed how two drunk men were smoking in the subway and nobody tried to say anything. Everybody was staring without taking any actions. Once on a bus, in which 3 teenagers were eating sunflower seeds throwing peel on the floor. One of my friends tried to talk to them (nobody in the bus, except her, tried to do the same). And then the bus driver just said: “If something does not suit you, call the police.” …almost everywhere you have this attitude, if something is not right – police immediately!!!
I’ve experienced discrimination a couple of times, it was really unpleasant. But I suppose those people suffer from inferiority complex and are not satisfied with their own lives. I would add that, unfortunately, discrimination was, is and will be present in our modern society. In Russia, you can also be discriminated by Russians, and Germans can also discriminate by Germans.
What I also dislike in Germany is this strange and unexplained affection to stereotypes. If you mention something about Russia or Russians, they cannot stop thinking about anything but matrjoshkas, vodka and cold winter. One remark here about cold winter – I am from Krasnodar, apricots grow there and it is much warmer and sunnier than in Berlin!
My country is very diverse, it’s not only about matrjoshkas and vodka 😉
Now let me tell about what I like in Germany. I am happy that I was accepted to HU and now I can say that I really enjoy my studies. It is a great honour for me to be taught by linguists, whose works are well-known all over the world. In Russia, it is so difficult to get a place in a well-known University. Here… it is rather easy, you just have to be good at school (and not if your father is VIP). The professors are stricter here, and if you fail an exam, you fail it because you had not prepared enough. Perhaps, the only disadvantages are taxes; I cannot still comprehend what I should pay for…. In Krasnodar I studied completely free of charge and even got a good scholarship!
One more thing… Have you ever heard of the American dream concept? So I would call it the German Dream! It is a country, where some of my dreams came true. In my childhood I went to a ballet school but had to interrupt it later… Since that time I have been dreaming about trying it again. And lucky me… here in Germany I have worked at a ballet school for a while, I even had to teach children! I even had a chance to work at a really famous Berlin theatre (not as a waitress like many foreigners do), I helped in producing German-Slovak plays.