EVS Diary

On being a foreigner

A warm welcome back in these cold autumn days! Thank you for joining me again on my EVS diary. Today I would like to just write a bit about the funny feeling I have once I realize that I am a foreigner in Bratislava and how I experience my life here as a stranger.

I probably didn’t entirely think the culture shock through before I moved to Bratislava because I am still surprised a lot of times about the severe faces of the pedestrians on the streets and, in contrary to that, their willingness to help a stranger even if they are busy themselves. I had been waiting for the smiling faces in the post office that I am used to from Germany and instead found some very angry employees. People give me bewildered looks when I walk in my normal speed, because no one walks as fast as Hamburg’s citizens do around here. The lady at the bakery down my street smiles at me whenever I remember some Slovak words to not only say my order through pantomime. When I have visitors from home and show them around the city I can’t distinguish whether I am a tourist or a local, because none of it really feels right. I do miss the seabirds by the Elbe, but the sunrise over the Danube is beautiful as well. Life here is a bag full of surprises as Germans would say.

One more thing about Bratislava for foreigners in general: It’s worth it to come here already just because of the phenomenal hot chocolate you can get at any café, but the long-term stay is worth its pain because of the variety people you meet once you go abroad. The Slovaks and other foreigners are already each one of them such extraordinary collections of talents, interests and mindsets that it rather feels like the entire world has collected on your doorstep than that you have gone out into the world. But maybe that is the same after all?

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