Looking for a new home-South moving North

A new “migration wave” is spreading around Europe since the financial crisis is hitting some countries quite seriously. During my stay in Germany I’ve met a lot of young people coming from Spain, Greece, Italy and Portugal in the hope of better opportunities. I asked my Greek friend, Penelope, to share her experiences on the topic. She has been living in Germany for the last one and a half years and is one of those many young Southern Europeans who try their luck “up in the North”.

How do you like the life in Germany?
I really like the German lifestyle. It is really easy-going and suits my character. On the downside, the weather is terrible, the food is not that good and the mentality of the people is quite different from the Greek one. On the upside, this is a country which really respects its citizens, everyday life runs smoothly and people are friendly.

You have lived abroad before several times. Is it any different now that you are not sure about going home in the close future?
When I was living in France in 2006 I had a very different opinion of the world and my country. It was the peek of European prosperity and life seemed like it couldn’t be better for everyone. Six years later all Europe is in a very bad state and Greece has become the scapegoat. The occasion is very different because I am abroad and I am conscious that there are not many options for me in Greece. It’s sad but it is the reality.

So do you imagine yourself settling down here or do you want to go back to Greece?
I want to stay in Germany for a few more years to properly experience it in a non-university environment. But I would like to have the option of having a decent job if ever I choose to go back to Greece. For the time being that seems impossible.

What do you miss the most from Greece?
The sea and the sun. And the food. But I do not feel that I cannot live without the three of them. I feel that having a good life and a good job is more important than the sun and the sea. However, I do occasionally miss them very much.

What picture of Greece is your head now?
The classic summer picture where you drink your coffee one meter from the sea at a beach cafe and you have nothing to worry about in the whole world.


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