31 In Adventures/ Europe/ Journal/ NYC

Goodbye, America | On Moving Abroad

So, about a year ago, Michelle and I were preparing to launch this website. One of the first things we had to do before all the ‘housekeeping’ protocol involved in creating a website was to prepare an introduction — to showcase what viewers would expect from our platform. When I was writing our ‘Welcome‘ post, I wrote about a city I’d never been to before, but one that was on my list to visit and potentially take residence due to a graceful visa policy for Americans and freelancers alike. I remember drafting that post in March of last year. Little did I know, that not long after, I’d be visiting that city and an entire year after my visit, I’d be in the process of moving there.

In four months, I’ll be starting something new. In four months, I’ll be away from the city I call home and begin embarking on an adventure I never thought was possible. I’m excited to share that I will be pursuing a Master’s degree in Journalism this autumn in the heart and soul of a wonderful city that I have now visited and explored.

I’m moving to Berlin. 

What stemmed from my desire to move to Berlin came subconsciously, evident at the fact that I’d never been there before, knew very little about the country and city in general, and even less of a word of German. But even with my limited knowledge of Germany as a whole, for some reason I was still interested and intruiged by it, so much so that I looked up “what’s a freelance visa and how to get one as an American?” Researching, pursuing, and getting accepted into a university abroad for a Master’s also came subconsciously.

I told myself after graduation back in 2015 that I wanted to do my Master’s, not right away but not too far out into my career either. I didn’t know where or what I would pursue, but I knew that preferably, I didn’t want to do it at home. The high cost of living in New York along with the ridiculous amount of money it costs to enroll in graduate programs in the US (even at the less expensive schools), wasn’t a valid enough reason for me to acquire more student debt, even though I wanted to continue my education anyway. It’s now been almost two years since graduation.

I guess I’m a woman of my word.

After an incredible month I had traveling around Europe last summer, I knew I had to be back for good. I had done the whole three week Euro Trip after graduation two years back and then immediately got into a full-time job. I left that job shortly thereafter, only to find myself traveling again. Boston, Toronto, all over Costa Rica, and then back to Europe just as the summer ended. Yet, it was during this last trip across the Atlantic that I knew I had to be away from America and away from NYC long term. I’m not entirely sure how long I’ll be away for in the grand scheme of my life, but for right now, I lucked out in finding this course. My program will be TWO YEARS long, and completely taught in English, with the opportunity for a visa extension of 18 months to find a job right after, since Germany likes to keep its skilled workers in, well, Germany (but only if you know the language, which…I’m working on).

If I’m being completely honest, Germany wasn’t really on my radar until recently. When I came back from studying abroad in London in 2013, I wanted nothing more than to be back there. London is, to this day, my favorite city that I’ve ever been to. But slowly, I started to realise that moving there would not only be incredibly price draining for me, but also borderline impossible. Now with BREXIT, it seems even less likely so. No, I don’t want to give up my dreams of moving to London. A small part in the back of my brain still has lifelong dreams? goals? of living there in my 30s/40s, when my career is up and running, but that’s too far ahead to think about.

Did I ever anticipate Germany to be the first country I’d move to when I finally moved to Europe? I didn’t, and I’m not sure why not. The country has one of the highest standards of living in Europe, yet isn’t as expensive (depending on where you are) as some of its neighbors, like Switzerland, Denmark, or France. Education, if it’s publicly funded, is also entirely free for both national and international students. Beer is cheaper than water. They have a pretty brutal history that they have handled with grace and acknowledgement, have the highest GDP in Europe, as well as some amazing ties outside of the EU, especially with America, are home to some incredible castles and gorgeous countrysides. And last but not least, home to over 300 types of bread (more than Italy or France, surprisingly). If you know me, you know how much of a BIG DEAL that is.

That isn’t even the half of it, but I’m still stunted at myself for not realizing what a catch Germany is. It’s like the sexy older brother that didn’t really go out much and was quite shy, while England, Italy and France were hogging the spotlight with confidence and charm. It was only after Germany’s opened its shell that, HOT DAMN, then you know he’d arrived.

And don’t even get me started on Berlin: an artist’s mecca, an incredible, random and diverse music scene, start ups on start ups, culture and history that you can physically see and touch, amazing food, networking events galore – I could go on. It’s a HUGE, diverse city with great public transport, with something always happening, and with international people at every step. It’s like New York, but it’s also not New York and that’s exactly why it fits perfectly.

HONEST MOMENT HERE: am I ‘glamorizing’ what could be of this? Absolutely. I’m always glamorizing Europe, anyone who knows me knows that, but that’s okay. I’m allowed. I’ve never lived abroad and I’ve always wanted to. New York City will always be home base. but it isn’t what I want right now. And with the state of my country right now, I think it’s the most opportune chance I have. I know I need to leave for a little bit, maybe forever, so why not right now? ‘If you love something, set it free,’ right?

In short, this really is an opportunity like no other for me. Growing up, living studying my entire life in New York, I never got to go away or live on my own long term. I’d like to consider myself an independent person by default, but I still rely on my family for a lot of things, just because I never had to move away or struggle at that level, because at the end of day, I was always going back home.

That’s not to say I’ve had an easy life – I haven’t. This past year also hasn’t been very kind to me either mentally, but the life experience I know I’m going to gain from this opportunity is much needed for me now that I’m 23 and thinking ahead. That’s not to say things are going to be easy abroad either. I know they’re not. My mother continues to remind me that they damn well won’t be. It’s going to be hard. Tbh, as much as I’m excited, I’m also fucking terrified, excuse my French, I don’t know that word in German, yet. There’s only so much that the Internet or YouTube can help me understand. So yes, I’m grateful. I’m stoked for what’s to come, but I’m also scared, too. And I’m here to say that it’s okay to be scared. I’m telling myself that it’s okay to go into something not knowing the entirety of the situation. That it’s good to be nervous, only so, if you’re not in danger, and with everything that growing up in NYC has taught me, I won’t be.

I’m finally leaving home and growing up. I hope to take you all on that adventure with me, while Michelle holds down the fort in NYC, until she decides to leave long-term, too. I still have some time here to wreak havoc and get everything together though. It’s been 8 months since I came back from visiting Berlin. And in September, I’ll be living there. Who would’ve thought? Life is full of surprises. So, until then.

Diana Signature

Feel free to ask any questions or share your experiences on moving away  in the comments below! 

Tschussie.

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31 Comments

  • Reply
    Jo Spotswood
    May 5, 2017 at 12:23 PM

    Diana, I am so happy for you! Go explore and do your thing! Let’s hang out more before you leave, please.

    • Reply
      Diana
      May 5, 2017 at 8:20 PM

      Thank you! And yes please we must!

  • Reply
    LocalNomads
    May 6, 2017 at 3:53 AM

    That’s so exciting! It’s a great time to be going abroad. We left the US in September and it’s been wonderful.

  • Reply
    Jean
    May 6, 2017 at 5:25 AM

    You’ll love Berlin. It’s a fun and welcoming city with so many expats too. So depending on your mood you can be surrounded with other westerners or just locals!

  • Reply
    Sara
    May 6, 2017 at 5:37 AM

    One of my friends just recently came back from her time abroad in Berlin. She loved it so much, finding the people and the place incredible! Best of luck to you on your adventure, I look forward to reading about it in the future 🙂

  • Reply
    Gabby
    May 6, 2017 at 7:20 AM

    Exciting for you! I’m an expat, too, living in the Netherlands for about 6.5 years. Moving abroad is great, it will teach you a lot about yourself and expand your world view (all the cliches are true!). You’ll also learn and get to know the US in a way you probably never imagined – I think the best way to understand the US as an American is to look in from the outside. Wish you a lot of luck living in Berlin – it’s a great city and indeed there are lots of expats running creative agencies there so there are lots of job opportunities!

    • Reply
      Diana
      May 6, 2017 at 5:34 PM

      Thanks Gabby! The goal is to not look back and continue living abroad with a creative job that I love. Hoping to learn enough German to do so!

  • Reply
    Ali
    May 6, 2017 at 7:38 AM

    You’ll love Berlin! I’ve been living in Germany for 6 years & in Berlin for 2 & it’s a great city. Yes it’s important to learn German but you’ll be fine in Berlin with English. My husband is fluent but as soon as people hear his non native accent they almost always switch to English.

    • Reply
      Diana
      May 6, 2017 at 5:35 PM

      Thanks Ali! If you know of any open accommodations, that’d be greatly appreciated! I would love to keep chatting with you on life in Germany. You can add me on FB if you like also! Couldn’t find your whole name in the group.

  • Reply
    Christina
    May 6, 2017 at 8:01 AM

    I am so happy for you, this is great! And Berlin is one of the coolest cities in Europe, you will absolutely love it!

  • Reply
    Rosie Fluskey
    May 6, 2017 at 8:12 AM

    Firstly, congratulations on having the guts to move. It will be an amazing experience!
    Berlin is a fantastic city. People speak great English and there is a huge English speaking expat population. It’s great fun and so interesting, you’ll never run out of new things to learn.
    Good luck with everything and if ever find yourself near cafe Chagall, their big breakfast cured the most epic hangover of mine. A huge plate of bread, meat, cheese and fruit..awesome stuff.

    • Reply
      Diana
      May 6, 2017 at 5:36 PM

      THANK YOU FOR THAT AMAZING PIECE OF ADVICE!

  • Reply
    Charmaine
    May 6, 2017 at 9:56 AM

    I loved Berlin when I was there! I was so shocked at how inexpensive it was – given of how big of a city it is. I really thought it’ll be expensive like those other urban cities! I hope you will enjoy it! I’ve lived a couple of years abroad (exactly what I blog about) and I’m so glad you are taking the leap! Studying is a really good option because immediately you’ll have a circle of friends and you’ll transition faster (with other people). To your question via Facebook – moving abroad has changed me because it constantly challenges me to push my limits. When I’m in trouble, I have no one to turn to but myself. I turn to strangers sometimes, and sometimes it works out. Other times it does not. The point is – moving abroad is hard and it’s not as pretty as you see on Instagram. But it is also rewarding. You learn so much about yourself on the road and so much about who you are as a person as well! 🙂

  • Reply
    Kirsty -What Kirsty Did Next
    May 6, 2017 at 10:01 AM

    I left my home country when I was 24 to move to London and never looked back! Granted I didn’t have to contend with a different language but that also makes it quite exciting. Best of luck!

  • Reply
    Bri
    May 6, 2017 at 6:02 PM

    I am so happy for you! What a dream come true. I haven’t actually heard much about Berlin besides its brutal history so I’m quite excited to read all your future blog posts!

  • Reply
    Melissa
    May 6, 2017 at 6:12 PM

    Berlin is a great place! Last time I went I was actually thinking this could be a good option where to live! Good luck!

  • Reply
    Meg | MeanderWithMeg
    May 6, 2017 at 7:48 PM

    What an inspiring city to move to! I am confident you will have a brilliant time in Berlin and it will be a truly rewarding experience on many levels! I’ve heard great things about living in Berlin and have certainly enjoyed it as a tourist.

  • Reply
    VAN
    May 8, 2017 at 12:22 AM

    I haven’t been the best at keeping up with your travels but I’m so stoked for you girlie. I know you’ll have an amazing time! And maybe I’ll come visit with Shun sometime 🙂

    • Reply
      Diana
      May 8, 2017 at 3:08 PM

      Thanks girl, means a lot! We should definitely meet before I go. Always have so much to learn from you and your adventures/blogging tales! Come visit any time. x

  • Reply
    Sam | Alternative Travelers
    May 8, 2017 at 7:35 AM

    Berlin is an amazing city! Was just there in February and really enjoyed it – so much so that I’m planning a trip back in August for a week! I’m also an American expat in Europe (Spain) and it really is so nice to be able to explore other countries on vacations or even a long weekend!

    • Reply
      Diana
      May 8, 2017 at 3:09 PM

      Great to hear! How bearable was it in the winter? I’m always hearing the worst about Germany during the cold. Hope you’re enjoying Spanish life and culture. Es tan maravillosa!

  • Reply
    RJ
    May 10, 2017 at 4:02 PM

    I can completely understand your love for Berlin! I did a study abroad in Kiel and took a few trips into Berlin and fell in love! I was there during the summer and it was SUPER HOT, but it was a great excuse to get a bike and explore all of the gardens! Have fun!

  • Reply
    Erika
    May 10, 2017 at 4:42 PM

    Congratulations! Have the most amazing time in Berlin! I hope you learn German and who knows, Berlin way become your new favorite city! Who doesn’t love Germany and Germans?! 🙂

  • Reply
    Kareemah
    May 10, 2017 at 5:12 PM

    I thoroughly enjoyed your post! I was like you . In 2015 I moved to Spain and that was hands down the best decision I ever made. Now I’m back, and still longing for Madrid, Spain. I will stay here in the US to get some debt cleared and I have a feeling I might return to Europe for the long term. Btw, don’t fret, You’ll love Germany. I know it might seem scary to move to another place but with time you’ll adjust and tell yourself “Why didn’t I do this before?”

    • Reply
      Diana
      May 10, 2017 at 5:27 PM

      That puts my mind at ease. Thank you for your kind words! 🙂

  • Reply
    Anita
    May 10, 2017 at 5:28 PM

    What an exciting journey! I totally understand the uneasiness about moving to a new place, but I think there will be many worthwhile adventures along the way. Berlin sounds like a fun place! Good luck!

  • Reply
    Priyanka
    May 10, 2017 at 9:56 PM

    Berlin is just such a great, diverse and huge city!! Such a great post you have here with colorful pictures. Great post 🙂

  • Reply
    Janie
    May 10, 2017 at 11:59 PM

    First of all, I love your photos!! I haven’t moved out of my own country (yet!) but I’m sure it will be a wonderful experience. And it’s okay to glamorize because it means that despite the uneasiness, you’re excited and looking forward to the adventure! Good luck on your journey, I hope I can do the same one day 😉

  • Reply
    Lauren
    May 11, 2017 at 2:43 AM

    Life is full of surprises and the biggest surprise I took from this post is the fact that Germany has more types of breadn than Italy and France?! Who knew! It’s so exciting to move away and I know tons of people who’ve fallen in love with Berlin, so I’m SURE you’ll have a great time. And if not, well, you’ll have some great anecdotes!

  • Reply
    Delaine
    May 11, 2017 at 7:42 AM

    Moving abroad might not be the easiest thing at first, but hey, life is an adventure right? Berlin is such an amazing city! I was there like 3 years ago and was impressed by the art scene there … and the amazing Christmas markets too!

  • Reply
    Veronika
    May 11, 2017 at 8:36 AM

    Berlin is a great ‘starting’ point for an expat. A lot of people speak English there and a lot of companies hires foreigners. I am sure you will love it. Also Berlin is a great strategic point for exploring the rest of Europe from 🙂

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