Berlin is international. Everyone who walked around the city for 2 hours knows that. That is what I really love about Berlin, is that you can always meet people from different cultures speaking different languages.
Especially the languages
Finally one has the chance to hear all the languages that one has studied in school for real. For me, those languages are English, French and Russian. But since I continued to study Russian at the HWR, that is the one language that really interest me, I always try to understand what the other people are talking about. And of course absolutely proud when I do so.
Which I found really interesting, is that only about 15 000 of the ca. 450 000 immigrants in Berlin are actually Russian, because I always have the feeling that I see and hear a lot of Russian. To really understand why we hear so much Russian is easy when you look at German and Russian History.
Where are you from?
Russia recruited Germans to work in the Volga area in the 18th century and allowed them to remain loyal to their German culture. When Nazi Germany claimed all lands on which ethnic German lived, Russia deported all the Volga Germans to labor camps, which most of them didn’t survive. After the cold war ended, these ethnic Germans and their descendants got the chance to come back to Germany. All they had to do for this was to prove their former citizinship or expellation from German grounds or their descendance from such people. Most of the people who could do this, didn’t even speak German any more.
Of course these people had a lot of problems integrating their selves into German society and obviously this is a never ending process and we still face a lot of problems today. But my impression of Berlin is, that everyone is very open and friendly and that everybody who really wants it can be integrated, because there are just so many different people here. Last Thursday we went to a Russian restaurant with our Russian course.
The owner of the restaurant were of course Russian, but also spoke German very well. Throughout the evening it was very interesting to see who came to eat at the green lantern. Because it weren’t only Russians, but all kinds of people in all ages. I would not necessarily recommend the buffet if you want real Russian specialties, but the ambiance was very nice and I found it definitely interesting to peoplewatch.
When I was still at school, people always asked me why the hell I learnt three foreign languages at the same time and could never understand it when I said: because languages interest me. In my small town, everyone had the idea that a little bit of English has to be enough to get around. But I can not agree with that, because I think languages open the door to new cultures, without understanding at least the real basic words, you will probably never get the true feeling of other lifestyles. And in Berlin, you definitely get the chance to do that. Even if you only listen to others talking in the subway, like I do.