Life-Changing Experiences

When I received my residence permit I also received a letter that stated that if I wanted to increase my chances of obtaining a permanent residence permit I had to assist to an Integration Course. This Integration Course has two parts and when you complete both of them you have to do two tests to prove that you successfully completed this course.

When I received the letter that stated that I had to assist to this course, I was already taking german classes so I was able  to skip the german part of the course nevertheless, I did have to attend a 20-day Orientation Course.

Being the nerd that I am, I was excited to assist to the course because this course touches on different topics that in my opinion are very important to understand the society and the culture of the germans. If you don’t understand how the german society is structured the adaptation process can be a shock. I already lived here so I got that lesson with tough love.

In this class I spent the time with people from different countries something that made the course even more interesting. I had classmates from Afghanistan, Rumania, Spain, Brazil and Ukraine.

One of the things I enjoyed the most was being able to discuss a broad-range of subjects in a respectful manner while at the same time being able to share our experiences from each of our own countries and cultures. These days showed me that even though our cultures are deeply embedded in ourselves and also very different from one another being open and respectful are the key to each of us better integrating into the German society.

I can’t tell that I know everything about each of their cultures but the biggest lesson I got from this whole experience is that not knowing much about a person and a culture is not a reason to forget that this person is a human being. A human being that deserves my empathy and my respect and even more my admiration because moving to another country, for whatever the reason behind this big step and doing your best to integrate, to learn and to adapt is a big thing to admire and from me, to you, that ever took this big step I give you a big round of applause.

Living abroad changed my life. It will change yours if and only if you step out of your comfort zone. If you don’t , this experience won’t  have a meaningful impact on your life but if you do, how you see yourself and how you see life will change. Studying in Germany was an experience that did change my life and one of the reasons why I decided to pursue this project.

July 2013, Hamburg

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