Hong Kong Girl on Working Holiday in Germany

4 Impressions

Working Holiday in Germany

Stephanie T. came all the way from Hong Kong to Berlin for a working holiday in Germany. She stayed for one year. Now she’s sharing her unique impressions of Germany, and Berlin in particular. Steph writes about the omnipresence of cafes in Germany, the absence of umbrellas during heavy rain and more intriguing details that she experienced as a girl from Hong Kong during her working holiday in Berlin.

I had an unforgettable and amazing journey in Berlin as I started my Working Holiday in Germany last year. Having,and wanting to have no concrete plan for my stay in Germany, I just told myself that “I want to leave Hong Kong and take a long break!”. That’s why I made the decision to go to Germany. To be frank, I was very scared and felt insecure before I arrived in Berlin, since I knew absolutely no one and nothing about this place. I was so relieved when everything turned out fine. I haven’t regretted this experience at all. In contrast, this was one of the best things that could have happened to me! As a Hong Kong girl, who grew up in a totally different culture and environment than Germany, Berlin surprised me a lot. Here are the 5 most special things about Berlin in my eyes.

Stephanie T.

#1 There are cafes everywhere in Berlin!

What impressed me a lot in Berlin is… there are countless cafés everywhere! You can find one easily, no matter which area you are in, ranging from the hippest areas like Rosenthaler Platz. to the residential areas like Birkenstrasse! The cafés are diverse with varying styles and decorations. I would say they are all independent and with their own characters. In Hong Kong, you can only find chain cafes…yes, Starbucks…everywhere! There is no way to find a café (with a ‘soul’) in the residential area as it is not profit-making to pay the high rent here. As a coffee lover who would like to spend her whole afternoon in the café doing nothing but relaxing, Berlin is a heaven to me!

#2 Germans love pets!

I was so surprised to see that pets are allowed to get into most places in Berlin. In shopping malls, in shops, parks… You can always find a cute dog passing you by when you are in the U-bahn, S-bahn, supermarket, restaurant, bookstore, boutique… Well, it is impossible to happen in Hong Kong as dogs are prohibited in most areas (not even the guide dogs….although the guide dogs are allowed to enter any premises with the visually impaired person according to the Hong Kong law, many people still complain/ reject about this when they see a dog enter those areas…). This is definitely one aspect about Berlin that I will miss back in HongKong… Of course, you have to love pets in order to appreciate this aspect ;)

#3 An abundance of performances!

No doubt that Berlin is famous for its complex history, but it is also renowned for being surrounded by an artistic atmosphere. Street performances, artists, musicians, singers, graffiti can be found in any corner of Berlin all day and night. All these made Berlin a unique city. You can also find live performances and creativity on the flea markets in Berlin!

Working Holiday in Germany

#4 Why the heck do Germans not use umbrellas when it’s raining?

Berlin’s weather frustrated me a lot. You can always experience sunny and hot weather in the morning; and heavy rain in the afternoon. I did discover a funny fact namely that most people in Berlin don’t like to use umbrella, no matter how heavy the rain is! Can anybody tell me the reason behind this? =) In Hongkong, people are even using umbrellas when the sun is shining…

#5 Berliners are bookworms!

People in Hong Kong indulge in their own phones so much whenever and wherever they are. You can always see people using Whatsapp, browsing Facebook, playing games, etc. with their phones when you are in Hong Kong. To be honest, I am one of them…! Yet, in Berlin, you could find people reading books instead! Berliners always carry a book and read it when they have nothing to do, e.g. when waiting for metro or in cafes. In my Hongkong’er perception, the amount of people playing with their phones during their free time is almost tiny in Berlin! I do think it is a good habit to get rid of the digital world. So I seldom played with my phone when I was in Berlin! :)

After living in Berlin for more than 1 year, I have already labelled it as my second home. Though I went back to Hong Kong because my visa expired (sigh…), I will always miss the people, friends and places in Berlin!

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