When I first arrived here, I wasn’t terribly sure if I’d stay. I had a backup plan to return to New York, my belongings still in storage, a place to stay, and a job I could go back to.
Two years later, I’ve never even gone back to visit New York.
I miss some things about the states. Most of those are people: family, friends, former colleagues (the rest being almost entirely food). Likewise, if I were to leave Berlin, I’d miss many people and things in Germany as well.
In my two years here, I’ve gone through the growing pains of a fledgling startup as I’ve dealt with the ups and downs of moving to a new continent. I’ve gotten better at German culture and worse at the German language. I’ve met amazing, inspiring people. I’ve met horrible, toxic people. I’ve guided friends and friends of friends through their own journeys through and into Germany as some succeed, and others fail. I went to my first German wedding, and I went to my first German funeral.
As I begin this third year in a city I love so much, the path forward is the same for me as it’s always been: do better, do more, improve, learn, teach, help…simply strive to be a smarter and better person than before.
Berlin is amazing in so many ways, but the tech scene here makes me feel all squishy inside. There is an overall feeling of optimism here and a genuine excitement for what’s developing and the future it holds that is utterly contagious. I can’t imagine anyone digging into the Berlin tech community and not wanting to be a part of it.
There are some bigger companies, but the bulk of the business here is in startups, and I think that makes all the difference. Even more than the rest of Berlin, the tech scene is young, cool, and very international. They like to code, but they like to hang out, too.
photo by Marc John; marcjohn.de
I’ve only been here for a few weeks, and I’ve already been overwhelmed by the meetups, which not only happen a lot, but are especially frequent due to Tech Open Air this weekend. I’ve gone to a few of these, and it’s gone pretty well; people are open and friendly to new people, and happy to chat (even after the meetup is long over). People here are also happy to help, I’ve found, whether that means advice on coding or helping a friend of a friend find a job. There’s a sense of community here that one doesn’t normally see in business, and I believe it’s going to make Berlin the international tech hub success that it strives to be.
Check out a few of these and see for yourself: