ESL Travel Blogger – David says goodbye to Berlin

Student stories August 11, 2017

It’s been more than a week since I came back from Berlin! I still have some pictures and sounds in my mind like graffiti all around town, the big parks, the famous S-Bahn doorbell or the smell of currywurst… I have the feeling I’m still in Berlin even if it’s far from me now. It was such an intense experience; everything happened so fast that I’m feeling a bit uncomfortable here in my quiet Switzerland, but I know I’m going to get used to it! Since my trip and my return, people have asked me a lot of questions about this “adventure”. I talked a lot about Berlin in my last blog posts but I’m going to answer those questions in a very personal way here:


How would you describe Berlin?

Berlin is a very unique city in Europe, even in Germany! Due to its rich alternative culture, I would first describe Berlin as a multicultural and artistic town. I would also describe it as a town which had suffered from a painful past and you can feel it. You don’t need to visit all the museums or to read all the history books; you just need to wander around the city in East and West Berlin and you’ll feel this past and what has been built over it. This past could have divided the population and mentalities forever but that didn’t happen!


Now, Berlin is a town which invites you to get another point of view than the one of a classical and glamorous capitals like Paris or Rome. Berlin is the anti-hero of the sexiest cities and I have to tell you: not everyone is attracted by the mood and personality of this city. For me, I was really charmed by the atypical side of this town, the mix of cultures and people and by all kinds of art you find in the streets and places. I have the feeling Berlin is a town which just let itself grow up and develop with freedom and care from its new generation. A new generation who really wants to focus on the present.


What about the people you met there?

One of the great things about travelling and attending language courses abroad is discovering other lives and shaking so many hands! As a storyteller, I love hearing stories from people I meet from all around the world. It’s fun to bring many different cultures face to face with each other and to deal with it. For example, some of my classmates in Berlin were 17 years old, still in high school and wanted to reinforce this language for their exams, while others were older than 33 years old and just wanted to take a break after finishing a job and improve their vocabulary!

Something I also liked is the fact that we all had something in common: we chose to come to Berlin, even if we had different backgrounds. Even if English is a simple way to communicate, the German language links all of us! It’s as if we were all trying to find something special in this city and only for us! This is a kind of story I can hear when I’m hanging out with my schoolmates!


In another case, for example after having dinner and playing the guitar with my host family, I was always enthusiastic to hear stories about Turkey and Germany from my host family: they come from this mixed European and Asian land and I learned many facts about Turkish culture in Germany (which is the biggest foreign community). I think it’s a more original way to discover German culture from a different point of view which is also part of its current identity. Berlin is a city which allows you easily to meet and share simple moments with its citizens.


What did you learn?

Honestly, this ​social ​experience was totally new for me. I admit, I’m normally an artist and filmmaker and being a travel blogger was like learning a brand new job. I’m usually creative for art and visuals; working on those kind of projects takes time to finish. In Berlin, I learned to be very “instant”, “spontaneous” and to share my experience on social networks daily! This was a challenge because I really tried to express myself in this city creatively and to avoid being like a “tourist”. I really wanted people to see Berlin through my eyes.

Like in every trip, I discovered new parts of myself. Going to many places like a little adventurer and reporting at the end of the day or when my internet connection was acceptable made me feel like a kind of journalist. I also had the feeling that you tend to be more dynamic when you know you’re travelling with a mission. In the end, I noticed that this experience has many similarities with my artistic projects: you meet people, time goes fast, sometimes you have the feeling everything is going badly but finally it’s ok!


Now it’s been many days since I left Berlin; it’s extremely late at night (or extremely early in the morning?), and I’m sitting at my desk in Switzerland, far from the yellow U-Bahn and thinking of my time in this city. I realised there’s something I’m looking for unconsciously when I’m doing this kind of project, something which is still difficult to describe with words, something that money can’t buy, that makes me feel glad and which always motivates me to go further: feelings.

I want to thank all the people who​ followed me,​ helped me take this trip ​and who made me enjoy this adventure. I​ really​ hope I can travel and blog again soon. Who knows?


P.S: I also made a short film that summarises and shows what I saw and how I felt Berlin. Just watch it!​​​ ​


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By David Nguyen

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