We helped Federico to find his new job in Berlin as a Front End Engineer. This is a little interview about his experience and tips.
How was the process of moving from Italy to Berlin?
Ah, that was easy. I just had to choose an apartment out of some choices proposed by the relocation agency, then wait for the company to buy my plane ticket. Other than that, it was just a long (two months, as I had to give a long notice to my former employer) wait.
Anyway I'd suggest future expats to just don't wait for the relocation team at your company to get in touch and make the first move, they are probably too busy.
As an expat how much do you feel at home in the city?
Not much honestly. I don't think I've really settled yet, even after four months. I'm still in a kind of "tourist mode". But for example I just moved to what will be my home at least for a year only at the start of this week. Guess that and upcoming Saturday afternoon at Ikea will make a difference.
Are you able to make the most of your spare time?
Yes, well it's hard to get bored here. Although coming from a small town, getting used to moving efficiently around big city takes time. Ewerywhere is at least half an hour by train (underground or above ground) from everywhere else.
What activities do you like doing in Berlin?
Well I'm not probably the good example for future expats as my favourite activity is hanging around drinking in a Kneipe with friends or colleagues, with maybe the occasional foray in some club.
But I'd say that whatever you are looking for in your free time, you'll find it. Sports? Check. Extreme sports? Check. Hipster cultural stuff? Check. Plus, every day there's tech meetup of some kind.
What still surprises you about Berlin?
It's no longer a surprise but what I like is this widespread informal, tolerant attitude you can feel emanating from Berliners.
What tips and advice would you give someone who's moving to Berlin?
- If you can't speak German, take classes ASAP, even before leaving; you can get along fine with English at work and when going out for dinner or drink, but don't expect to be able to explain what you need at public office, post, bank or supermarket without being able to talk some German. You might be lucky, but don't count on it.
- Befriend people that lived in Berlin for longer than you do, either natives, expats, coworkers, etc. (if you don't know where to find them, you can for example search for a country-themed meetup, as I did), as you'll likely need support/ tips when it's time to look for an apartment (the relocation agency's ones are temporary, and expensive anyway), choose the utilities providers, and so on.