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Jumping into the unknown and keeping your true self

Moving to Germany opens you up to enriching diversity, with different cultures, personal backgrounds, and interests. How do you stay true to yourself though?

We all know how challenging is to move to another country.

You live in a place for years; you get to know everything about the lifestyle and the place, to the point where you feel in your perfect comfort-zone bubble.

Then, one day you decide to move abroad, and you know it’s the best decision you could ever have made.
For me, moving to Germany has been a game changer. Being here means I had to make modifications and, at the same time, jump into something I didn’t know anything about.

I realised how important it was for me to be open to all the possibilities and people coming my way but not lose myself at the same time.

Being a student in Germany is an incredible experience.

If you are somehow like me, you are a people person or, at least, you like diversity. Being around like-minded people gives me the right amount of energy to always be open in trying different things and talking to different people. I find it enriching to conversate with people that have had different lives, backgrounds, and interests than you. Don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to change your mind on everything to enjoy the beauty of diversity.

We all have a story to tell and whether we like it or not, it belongs to us, but it doesn’t define us. We are naturally drawn to change, and I find it fantastic.

I try to be a better version of myself and that, sometimes, needs different perspectives.

  • A stairwell photographed from above.
    A stairwell photographed from above.© Roberta/DAAD
  • Entrance or stairway to the tram in a big city.
    Entrance or stairway to the tram in a big city.© Roberta/DAAD
  • Small snack for in between: filled sandwiches, arranged on a table.
    Small snack for in between: filled sandwiches, arranged on a table. © Roberta/DAAD

After one year here in Germany, I also realised how important it is to be myself despite the temptation of trying to fit in.
We might find stereotypes along the way that try to tell us who we are. Even if there is some sort of truth at the base, they don’t and they can’t define us. We are much more than what people think or have heard. I come from Italy, and I’ve been told many different things about being Italian. But if I was to reset myself just to make people feel comfortable then I would slowly lose track of who I really am.

I believe there has to be a balance here.
Firstly, I surround myself with people that accept and love me as I am now.

Secondly, I try to be open in trying different things and meeting new people, both just need a bit of courage to go out of your comfort zone.

Thirdly, I stand straight on what it means to me to be Italian. For each one of you, your nationality might hold a different meaning and that is totally ok. Here in Germany, you have the possibility of living in a country that is extremely friendly and open. You have millions of possibilities, in terms of education, personal experience, growth and work.

Look into nature. In the foreground you can see a road, street lamp and trees, on the horizon you can see mountains and the sunset.
Look into nature. In the foreground you can see a road, street lamp and trees, on the horizon you can see mountains and the sunset.© Roberta/DAAD

I guess that is, to me, the key to being true to yourself while being open. My only advice is to not be scared to jump into the unknown, simply because growth, healthy change and beautiful experiences are always worth it.

What is something you are excited to experience? Let us know in the comments below.

  • Cologne
  • Community
  • Everyday life
  • First steps in Germany
  • Thoughts about life

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