My name is Roberta, I am 36 years old and live in Germany. My roots are in Sicily, but over the years I loved wandering around Italy. I lived several years in Milan and spent three years in Tuscany between the massive fields of sunflowers! I studied exact sciences at school but never had a sincere love for math … let’s say, I have followed the “wave” of my friends (biggest mistake ever made)! I do not have a particular passion, I like to find out what I do not know yet, that’s why in my life I’ve also came across some difficulties … but always accompanied by great findings! My blog was created as a means of communication between me (already abroad) and all the people who are still in Italy. It encompasses the experiences of those who leave, those who stay and those who return. I like to call it a “window to the world” …
What brought you to Germany?
We came to Germany to discover this “wonderful and perfect world” that everyone talks about. We also had an extra motivation linked to the personal sphere … I wrote it was natural … not easy …
How did your integration process go?
Oh well … let’s say one of the main discoveries was to realise that in Germany the word “Integration” is often used, almost as if it is their strongest point, but actually I think it is much easier to integrate into other places. Germans are very closed in their “culture” that they try to impose on you in every way. So rather than to integrate (to add) they want to shape you to their way of being eliminating your own.
What are the main differences between Italy and Germany?
Differences? It’s all different. It is different the way in which they live daily life, it is different the way they spend their leisure time, the priorities they give to things are different, the concept of family and friendship is different … I could go on writing a book only about the differences! Beware though, the fact that it is different does not mean it’s better!
What was the worst experience in Germany so far? And the best one?
The best part was to discover that people can live better by having a strong sense of civic duty that, unfortunately, we Italians miss. The sense of the common good and respect for other people’s things for us, Italians, is still an utopia. The worst was to discover that their sense of superiority prevails over your desire to adopt. To give a practical example … I was in the German class and, in a shamelessly “pro-German” lecture, the teacher said: “… You see … thanks to Germany, you can wash, you can eat and have a roof over your heads.” And do not think it’s just a thought of an unintelligent person, it is a very common thought here (depends, of course, a lot on where you go to live in Germany). Obviously, in a nice way, I pointed out that in Italy we wash (we also have a bidet!), we eat and we do not live under the bridge!!!
Do you think Germany is a multicultural society?
This question is linked to the previous one. In my opinion, the answer is NOT ALWAYS AND EVERYWHERE! The Germans apparently pretend predisposition to the hospitality and lavish “life lessons” to the whole world … but what I really think is that they are “superior” and they need foreigners to achieve their goals. In the workplace, for example, using foreigners to do jobs that they would never do (mmm … reminds you of something?), or for which they have no qualifications … I have noticed that big cities are exceptions, they are made up of different cultures that are able to live happily together. But Germany is not only about big cities, so consider very carefully the place where you will live.
Has your life style changed here?
My style of life in the private sphere has not changed, I still live like I did before having to change my schedules and adapting to the German ones. I try to eat healthy and do not attend their parties based exclusively on alcohol. I’ve tried a few times and risked my life. From the social point of view it implies a problem, if you do not frequent those places, you have no way of seeing people and you are likely to remain isolated. Even though this is a relative factor. Given that Germans, for example, divide work and private life, then colleagues are colleagues and friends are friends. A colleague will most likely never become your friend. So for those who come here after school or university, it is really hard to create friendships!
What advice would you give to a newcomer then?
Well, I would recommend a newcomer to reconsider and change destination! Seriously, a person who is in Germany already has to do his best to stand out from the crowd, but this piece of advice is to those who yet to come. Think about it thousand of times before leaving, do not follow the wave of “anywhere is better than in Italy” because it is not true!
Is there anything else you want to share with our readers?
Yes, I would like to tell you that if you do not know the German language well, unless you have specific references, endorsements or anything else to make you stand out from the “mass”, it is better that you do not come to Germany! Once you could get here with a cardboard suitcase and in a few years you could find yourself with a great job and a pocket full of money, not today! Better to eat bread and onion at home than bread and potatoes here! A foreigner should be primarily dictated by the wish to experience other cultures, regardless of the economic sphere … live it as an escape may give you unpleasant surprises.
Leggi la intervista in Italiano: RobertaIntervistaAmulticoolty