It’s time we stop asking ‘where are you from?’ in Germany

When a study published last week revealed that foreigners in Germany with a visible migration background experience discrimination far more often than foreigners who appear “typically German,” it resonated with The Local’s Shelley Pascual.

Flags in Stuttgart (l) and people obtaining German citizenship (r). Photos: DPA

In the study, carried out by the Council of German Foundations on Integration and Migration (SVR), responses from over 5,000 immigrants and people with a migrant background across Germany were collected.

Of those who described their appearance as “typically German,” around 17 percent stated they felt disadvantaged because of their roots. By contrast, 48 percent of participants with a visible immigration background (e.g. those who have dark skin or wear a headscarf) reported having experienced discrimination.

According to these respondents, discrimination can come in many forms: violence, unfairness with regard to the search for jobs and housing, offensive statements as well as statements that may not necessarily be considered negative by the person saying it – including the often-asked question, “where are you actually from?”

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Canada-Germany: My Youth Mobility Visa Story

Who knew that trusting my gut and risking everything would alter the course of my life? 

Berlin Wall, Germany

Seeing the Berlin Wall for the first time.

When I flew from Toronto to Berlin on a one-way ticket back in early 2012, I didn’t have a job or an internship lined up in Germany. I was 25 years old and I had just spent a year in Australia.

At the time, all I knew was that I was keen on continuing to live abroad. I was intrigued by the idea of immersing myself in German culture and society. I also wanted to be reunited with my German boyfriend, as we’d met in Australia.

The only plan I had was to figure everything out once I got to Germany.

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The press covering the press!

Local German newspaper The Braunschweiger Zeitung has featured my article about living in Braunschweig as an expat.

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[The text above translated from German into English:]

Brunswick!

The online news site The Local Germany presents an international audience with the best of Germany – in the English language. Braunschweig is mentioned rather often, just like recently.

Journalist Shelley Pascual from Toronto summarizes her life experiences in Brunswick. For her, it’s probably the most underrated city in Germany. She’s even met people from Berlin who don’t know where Braunschweig is.

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90-day travel ban: How I became an illegal alien in Germany

When I flew from Toronto to Berlin in January, I had no idea I was breaking the law. 

My family came to visit me in Germany back in 2014. At the time, I had been living in a city called Braunschweig for two years. I officially left Braunschweig in late 2015.

 

On the same day I found out, I booked a last minute flight from Frankfurt to Toronto.

I had less than 48 hours to pack my life into a suitcase before I flew home. Home home.

Even though I’d just been home! I’d spent three weeks in Toronto over the Christmas holidays and I flew back to Germany via Berlin in early January.

I had only been back across the pond for a month before I was told I had to leave.

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