Ask überlin: Itchy feet, cold feet
by James Glazebrook
We answer our readers’ questions about moving to, and living in, Berlin. An English student asks: “Do you think I’m making a mistake moving to Berlin with no support or back up plan?”
First off, I love your blog! The music you post is amazing. Secondly, I was wondering if you could possibly offer me some advice? I’m planning to move to Berlin next summer from England but I’m terrified at the prospect of “failing” in my attempt to build a life for myself in a foreign country. I have a large sum of savings that I don’t want to blow but will cushion me for the first few months. Ideally, my plan was to find an apartment to rent in either Mitte or X-berg (as these are the two places I know the best) and find myself a job in a bar/restaurant/coffee shop until I’m settled and then look into something in the creative industry. I’m 22 years old and about to complete a degree in Visual Communication. Do you think I’m making a mistake moving to Berlin with no support or back up plan? Is there any advice you can offer me?
First off, thanks! We love hearing from people who like what we do, and are thinking of embarking on a Berlin adventure of their own.
The short answer to your question is: no, you’re not making a mistake. As far as we’re concerned, there is no such thing as “failing” to move to a foreign country. Fears like yours kept us in London for five years, and our final decision to move came with the realisation that the worse that could happen is we have to go back home with a little less money, having done a lot more living. Other expats and travellers would agree that trying to change your life is rewarding in itself, and a risk worth taking.
Plus, you seem to be going about things in the right way. Coming cushioned with savings and prepared to work menial jobs is smart, as is coming in summer! And there’s no better time for creatives to move to Berlin. However, we have some advice before you take the leap:
Consider a flat share (WG) rather than renting by yourself. Your savings will stretch further, and you might make friends with some locals who can introduce you to the city’s hidden treasures. Check out WG Gesucht for flat share ads.
If your German isn’t up to much, you might have problems getting work in bars, cafes and other service businesses where the occasional German person pops in from time to time. If this is the case, you might find the quickest route into the creative industry is an internship in one of the city’s many awesome agencies or startups. Sign up to Watson Jobs‘ newsletter for job vacancies and internships. If you already have great Deutsch then well done – you’re more prepared than most of the expats who already live here!
Hope this helps. Let us know if you have any more questions, and when you arrive in the city look us up for a celebratory Berliner Weisse. Good luck!