I have been living in Germany for a little over two years now. Since coming here, I have resided in a total of three different cities and have noticed the region-dependent variations of German culture.
But, Berlin is a whole different story.
It’s so different that you might easily forget you’re even in Germany! I find this so ironic considering how many significant national historical events took place in this city and even more ironic that Berlin is the capital of Germany!
While these thoughts and feelings flow through me, I cannot help but wonder what it is that makes this city so distinct. Is it the crazily unparalleled nightlife? Is it the cosmopolitanism? Could it be the representation of numerous cultures, languages and backgrounds? Or is it the various authentic cuisines that make me forget I am in just one city? I still remain stupefied yet pleasantly in awe.
The people make this city. Berliners are unique because of their genuine inquisitiveness. Everyone is constantly asking questions. They ask themselves, they ask friends, they ask strangers all because of their incessant desire to understand. They want to understand diversity because Berliners themselves are diverse.
Everyone I come across does not only ask me where I am from, but what Egypt is truly like. They wonder how growing up in Egypt shaped me as an individual, how the experience of moving to Germany has been, and whether I feel comfortable.
You would think the term ‘Berliner’ refers to Germans, but really the word denotes all the cultures that make up this city. Berliners really do embody diversity.
In this city, it isn’t the government alone that takes on the responsibility of ensuring the adjustment of their residents, but the Berliners themselves. Whether migrants, refugees, or locals integration is everyone’s ultimate way of life here and I think it is precisely this naturally nurtured sense of belonging and comfort that has made Berlin the perfect next city for SPEAK.
I could not think of a more suiting and contextually appropriate occupation than the promotion of SPEAK’s linguistic and cultural integration that Berlin so pleasantly accommodates. The numerous like-minded organizations and innately curious Berliners hop on-board the first chance they can because everyone wants to live in each other’s shoes.
Integration is a matter of both giving and receiving; therefore, everyone here wants to share their world. That is what makes SPEAKing in Berlin so easy. You feel welcomed, wanted, and most importantly, heard.
I am already confident that this project will continue to grow because, in a way, SPEAK already existed before it arrived in Berlin. All it is doing right now is maintaining and deepening Berliners’ curiosity in the fun and inclusive SPEAK way.