“What I like about Germany – and what I don’t like!

The weather is often gray, and the people are angry: there are many Germans who dream of emigrating abroad or have already done so. On the contrary, there are also many newcomers to Germany who have deliberately turned their backs on their homeland. For example, because of love or work – or because they just think that Germany is great. In our new TRAVELBOOK series, people who have immigrated to Germany report on their positive and negative experiences here. First up is Matthew Pelletier from Canada.

The percentage of people immigrating from America to Germany is negligible. According to data from Federal Statistical Office Americans (i.e. residents of South and North America) made up only 3% of all immigrants to Germany in 2020.

In this regard, the step taken by the Canadian Matthew Pelletier in 2009 is quite unusual: he moved to Berlin. Here he fell in love with a German woman and had a daughter with her in 2016. In a TRAVELBOOK interview, the 36-year-old, who comes from a small town in Quebec and now works as an actor at the Atze Musiktheater in Berlin, talks about his good and bad experiences as a newcomer to Germany.

Travel book: How did it happen that you decided to immigrate to Germany of all places?

Matthew: “I really wanted to become an actor and applied to theater schools in Quebec but was not accepted. Not wanting to give up, I applied to the International School of Theater Jacques Lecock in Paris, where I was accepted. So, my studies took me first to Paris, and then to Barcelona later. At the end of my studies I felt that it would be difficult to find work in Spain. So I moved to Berlin. I was drawn to the cultural life here and I longed for an organized place to work.”

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What was your biggest “culture shock” when you came to Germany?

“The Germans’ inability to think outside the box, eg b- to help others. It’s a bit like robots… but you can trust them!”

What exactly do you like here?

“The art scene is more open to newcomers.”

What do you miss the most about your country? What’s better than here?

“People in Quebec are more friendly, more relaxed, resilient, and more helpful. I miss snow, nature, and my family.”

As a newcomer, how easy is it to make friends in Germany?

“And.”

What has been your best experience in Germany so far that you will never forget?

“The birth of my daughter.”

Do you like German food?

“I love modern German cuisine, especially the improvements being made to the vegetarian cuisine here. I love the Spreewald cucumber in the winter, the white asparagus and wild garlic in the spring and the beer all year round – although I have to be careful not to drink too much of it.”

Is there a particular trait of Germans that you find particularly strange?

“What keeps happening is that Germans tend to split all the banknotes when they go out together. I like to mix things up by paying the bill for everyone. Then I see them work out in their heads how much they owe me. If I refuse then, it starts a cycle of generosity. In which everyone invites the other in turn. This breaks a bit with their rule of calculating everything separately. But even if they take turns calling each other, I get the impression that they count exactly from paying any bill on different trips…”

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Do you intend to stay in Germany forever?

“And.”

If you want to know more about Mathieu Pelletier, you should visit his site YouTube channel “Great Math Adventures” Watching, watching. There are Canadian vlogs with a great deal of humor about his life in Germany (in French with English subtitles).

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