The ‘Why Are You Here?’ Question

08/05/2017 - 08:17-0 Comments by | new_zealand flag

When I first arrived here, the “why are you here?” question was the question, which would stump me. I’d answer vaguely, mainly because my German language ability was limited, and also because I wasn’t entirely sure myself – ‘Why was I actually here?’

“Weil ich Deutsch in der Schule gelernt habe” “Because I learnt German at high school”

It’s now been 15 months since I arrived, and the ‘Why are you here?’ question has followed me like a unavoidable shadow. I am still confronted by it multiple times a month – expect now, I have my answer fine-tuned.

To Europeans, New Zealand is one of the gems of the Western World. To them, we the live quarter acre dream, set amongst some of the world’s most extravagant coastlines, green rolling fertile hills and world class ski slopes. We walk around town barefoot, greet strangers on the street with a genuine smile, live a life, which is spent just as much outdoors as it is indoors, and holiday in neighbouring countries, which are just as equally beautiful as our own: Australia, Fiji, Rarotonga, Samoa and the Cook Islands. And the thing is – the Europeans aren’t wrong. Life, isolated in the middle of the Pacific Ocean is extravagant, and unlike anything I’ve experienced here.

But that’s just it.

Our isolation is what makes our lives and our country quintessential, but it is also what leads many of us away. I have the isolation of the Pacific Ocean to thank for leading me here, and it is this isolation, which ignites a fire and the burning desire to travel in most Kiwi youth. To the Germans, this inner fire would be perfectly described by their noun: Fernweh.  Everything that lacks in New Zealand, can be found in Europe. Or more specifically in my case, everything that lacks in New Zealand, can be found in Berlin.

And that, is exactly why I’m here. And that’s what i tell them, when I am asked – Because Berlin, and Europe feels like it’s on the footstep of the world.

Last year I woke up in Berlin, ate lunch in the centre of Brussels and sat in a open-air bar in Budapest later that night. I spent only 17euro on flights and experienced 3 countries and 3 cultures in one day. Even after 15 months, I am one of the few of my friends who speak English as their mother tongue. I live in Germany, but my group of friends and their Herkunftsländer extend as far as Argentina, Israel, Czech Republic, Spain,Poland, Taiwan, Albania, France, Syria, Korea, Spain, Italy, Mexico, Australia, Switzerland, Wales and England. If this wasn’t enough, the opportunity of a free, world class education, definitely should be.
Over the next few weeks, before I begin explaining my experience at German Uni, I’ll be describing how I actually set my life up in Berlin, and created a ‘home-base’. Because after all – I spent almost 10 months here, before my life at Uni actually began.

Say hello, I’d love to hear from you! Where are you from? And what’s your answer to the ‘Why are you here?’ question?

Tags: English Blog Post, First Steps in Germany, Holidays & Events, Student Life


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