Hello, My name is Gaurav Kumar and I come from India, from Jhansi to be exact – a small but very historic city of India. I have been living in Bonn since last 1 and half years. I am currently pursuing Master’s in Computer Science at Bonn University. I enjoy reading, traveling, hiking, and taking a ridiculous amount of pictures. I keep an Instagram collection about my traveling experiences.
4 years ago, I had not thought about going for higher education. But after working for 3 years I realized that I had to learn more and it was time to go back to school. So along with Germany, I had thought about the USA as well to pursue my Master’s but I found Germany to be the best choice because of the “High quality of education” and worldwide recognition of any German degree and also “German universities are free for international students, which means no tuition fees” additionally, as Germany being at the heart of Europe I can travel and explore beautiful European counties.
How do you like your life in Germany?
I am really happy here. I feel myself at home with complete freedom of expression. Apart from University studies, I am also doing a Student job in an IT Company, so managing study with work gets very hectic sometimes. Apart from that I also go to German classes, but this experience has made my life very scheduled. I have learnt how to manage things in time. Also I try not to miss any opportunity for travelling and adventure 😉
Has your life style changed since you moved to Germany? If yes, how?
Everything has changed and in ways I could not have imagined. Lifestyle is simpler here. People are relaxed and never in hurry. People do not compete as much as we do in India. Even there are so many things to do in one day like lectures, assignments, work and cooking still I don’t feel stressed. I can’t believe how much I enjoy here. I do not remember when was the last time I had ridden a bike in India since I was a child and now it has become a habit to bike. One important thing that has changed is that I travel more than I did when I was in India. In last year, I traveled to 12 beautiful European countries. I have started loving solo traveling. I am really glad that I have the opportunity to incorporate more travel into my life and I hope to be able to continue that.
What is the the first thing you do when you go back to your home country?
I miss my family and traditional Indian spicy street food. After going to India, I am going to meet all my friends and relatives. I would love to walk around my city and refresh my memories.
Does Germany seem multicultural to you?
I absolutely think that Germany is a multicultural country – a country where so many nationalities live together. You can tell by the amount of languages you hear on a tram. I am impressed by how some areas in Germany have made foreigners part of their culture. Take Düsseldorf for example. There is this huge Japanese community. Germany has people from all over the world living here and the country is very accommodating. Wherever you go, there are many multi-cultural shops, cafes, restaurants etc. The Germans have also started to take a liking to the Indian food with its wonderful spices. There is a real “Bollywood” craze going on and the Germans very enthusiastically learn the songs and dances from the Bollywood movies.
Some may disagree that maybe things aren’t offered in other languages; however, I don’t feel that a country needs to change the basis of its structure or traditions in order to be multicultural. If you choose to live in a country different than your own, you should adapt to its way of life. At the same time, you should be treated with respect.
Do you feel yourself integrated?
Not being able to speak German makes me feel outcasted. Many-times I miss the jokes and its a very weird situation when people are laughing around and I stay confused. But I like the fact that people are very friendly and supportive and they have lots of patience while listening to my poor German.
For me integration means, having like-minded people around, willing to share new ideas and are open to changes. People should be curious to know about other cultures, traditions and values and also respect them.
Can a multicultural society exist in your opinion?
Yes, I believe multicultural society can exist. It connects us with people from all parts of the world. It can bring creativity. It is also good to learn things from other places, because it helps us remember that we are all on the same planet, and we can share cultures with each other.
Advice to a new expat in Germany? 😉
First thing first, learn the language! It is very important for integration with German culture and to enjoy a social life. Just learning a little bit of the language makes life infinitely easier. You’ve got to embrace new changes, traditions, and learn to interact with others. I would also recommend taking advantage of the opportunity as much as you can and get out to explore. Germany is a land of opportunities. There is so much to do and see and try in this country. The weather here is unpredictable! It will certainly take a while for you to get used to it. Sunshine is not to be taken for granted, so get out in the sun at every opportunity. Germany is a beautiful country and at heart of Europe. You will love it like I do! 🙂