Tag Archives: berlin

Germany’s Discriminatory CV Requirements

Married.  No kids.  Born in Afghanistan. Female.  Can you believe these are details that are actually REQUIRED on a person’s CV in Germany (and most of Europe for that matter)? The best part is that you are also required to include a photo of yourself.  I’m actually quite shocked that there has not been an uproar about requiring these details to apply for a job – it’s essentially inviting the employer to discriminate against you using a variety of different criteria!

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What to do on a cold, wintery night in Berlin?

It’s a cold, winter night in Berlin – do you just stay at home, warm and cozy, or do you brave the cold and venture out into the city?  We ventured out last night and what a great evening – from relaxing to underwater music in a warm, saltwater pool to eating Moroccan food in a cave-theme inspired restaurant to dancing it up in a Soju bar, we shivered along the way but still managed to discover a whole new side to Berlin!

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Darn Immigrants! – What I Have to Deal with in my German Integration Course – Part 1

I go to an immigrant integration course here in Berlin – a mix of all different kinds of people from different backgrounds – all of us mixed together for 4 hours every day trying to learn one of the most difficult languages out there: GERMAN.  This leads to a lot of tense/interesting/funny/strange moments and comments that I thought I would capture here because it is truly a unique experience I am going through.  It’s not every day that so many different backgrounds, ages, cultures, social upbringings, education levels, etc. are mixed in one room and forced to try to get along!

My background: I’m Canadian, ethnically Afghan and a lawyer in Canada.  I have two university degrees and have lived in a few different countries.  I speak English, Farsi, Spanish, a bit of French and now German. Generally, we Canadians are polite, non-confrontational and respectful of others’ opinions and personal space.

My classmates’ background:

  • Number of students: 18
  • Ages 24 – 65
  • Countries represented: Cameroon, Afghanistan, Philippines, Iran, Bangladesh, Sweden, Iraq, China, Russia, Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, Kosovo, Chile, France, United Arab Emirates
  • Professions represented: Tailor, Waitress, Housewife (6), Mechanic, Salesperson, Student, Consultant, IT

Something new happens every day so I will just start writing about the interesting ones on here as they happen so you can have a taste of what I go through every day!  Some incidents are funny, some are astonishing, some are racist, some are just silly…but this is real life…

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Need an Apartment in Berlin? GOOD LUCK.

What We Heard:

We heard mixed things about finding an apartment in Berlin.  Some insisted that Berlin rents were dirt cheap – that you could find huge lofts for a fraction of the price that it would cost you in any other German city.  Some cautioned about super high commissions charged by the real estate agents – costing as high as two or three months rent.  Some warned us that finding an apartment in Berlin wasn’t easy – nice apartments were difficult to come by.   Even when you found something decent, it usually wasn’t in the right neighbourhood.  And finding the right neighbourhood is key in Berlin – it is such a big city that typically residents stick to their area when going out – venturing to the other side of the city for dinner just doesn’t happen as often as it should.  Some warned us about living in Prenzlauer Berg, where the yuppy mommies hang out with their baby bjorns and their strollers.  Some encouraged us to find a place in Kreutzberg – the coolest area in town where the clubs and after-hours clubs kept you partying from Friday night to Sunday morning.  Some mentioned that Neukoln was the next hot spot and to get a leg up on it by finding an apartment there now, even though the area is still a bit dodgy.

Bars/restaurants along the Paul-Lincke Ufer canal in Kreutzberg

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