My personal experience in the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, located in the Northern part of Germany, has been outstanding. I have always believed that to have a positive experience in a foreign city several factors have to converge: you must have a mutual symbiotic relationship with the city, you must learn their language, culture, background and traditions and meet new people and build strong friendships.
In order to achieve this goal you will first need to familiarize yourself with the scenario, with the world around you, with Hamburg, a city of seafaring grit, with a vast network of canals, many of which are open for navigation and the Alster lakes. You should visit the nerve centre where you can find the town hall and see the wonderful botanical garden “Planten un Blomen”, walk through the small, narrow and winding streets that intertwine with each other and end up in squares of Altona with very diverse shops and facilities and go to the port area and see architectural gems like the historical office building “Chile Haus”, with a structure that looks like a prow of a ship or the “Elbphilharmonie”, a wave of glass built on a traditional brick building along the Elbe river.
It is also interesting to know all the revelry that Reeperbahn street and the surrounding streets such as Hamburger Berg in Hamburg’s St. Pauli district has to offer. In this district you can find pubs and clubs as well as a lively theatre and music scene in the “Operetta House”, and the “Indra Club”, where The Beatles first played on arriving in Hamburg.
Another definitive place to see and be seen is the multicultural neighborhood of Sternschanze, known by the inhabitants of Hamburg as “Schanze”, that retains a distinctly bohemian character and is full of ethnic restaurants, bars, clubs and lounges.
The immersion and understanding of the destination country’s culture and their language is also an important component to facilitate integration into the host country. Have an interest in the German language; go to the “Weihnachtsmarkt in Hamburg” (Christmas markets) that you can find all around the city; visit the famous Fischmarkt (fish market) where there are dozens of stalls selling a large amount of fresh fish and seafood (smoked eel seems the main attraction) and also fruits, vegetables, plants and all kinds of souvenirs every Sunday; see the five largest Lutheran churches of Hamburg; hear some popular German songs; taste the local gastronomy such as: plaice, herring in salt meat and rollmops and drink the “Glühwein” and the “Feuerzangenbowle” are some things you should do while you live abroad.
However, despite all of this, I consider that the most important thing when you visit another country is to be an open-minded person and to be friendly and easygoing. In my case, I have experienced warmth and an overwhelming sense of happiness. It has been one of the most valuable, gratifying and rewarding experiences I have had. My fundamental pillar in Hamburg has been all those people I have met, both in the Unnastraße dormitory and in bab.la. Extraordinary people with infinite kindness, sense of humor, thirst for adventure, curiosity and new knowledge and enthusiasm for life! Thank you very much to all of you for this unforgettable experience!
What are the advantages of living abroad?