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Newbie in Berlin
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 15323

PostPosted: Fri Jan 26, 2018 5:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am planning a visit to a city I first came to know in 1964 - the "Florence on the Elbe", Dresden now capital of the Federal State of Saxony - "Freistaat Sachsen".
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 15323

PostPosted: Thu Feb 08, 2018 5:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Of course no one is interested in the ramblings of an Old Man like me - I feel like the character Kilgore Trout in the novels by Whatsisname.
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twowheel



Joined: 03 Jul 2015
Posts: 640

PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2018 6:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

scot47 wrote:
Of course no one is interested in the ramblings of an Old Man like me - I feel like the character Kilgore Trout in the novels by Whatsisname.


Ramble on about your ramblings! I remain interested.

I have never been to Dresden, but I have been to Saxony, to Leipzig. I went in March 1994 and that visit made quite an impression on me.

Needless to say, there's been a world of change since that time and I do hope to some day return to Saxony and take in both Dresden and Leipzig.

I envy you!

twowheel
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scot47



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Posts: 15323

PostPosted: Mon Feb 12, 2018 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My friendship with a lady in Dresden dates back to the last summer of the GDR when I taught on a summer course at the "Pedagogische Hochschule Karl Liebknecht" in Potsdam. Teachers of English from all over the GDR gathered for 2 weeks of activities designed to enrich their abilities and their knowledge of Anglophone Culture. My special contribution was a seminar on the use of Pop Music and Country Music as teaching aids.

That was in 1990. I first visited Dresden as a youth of 17 summers in 1964.
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twowheel



Joined: 03 Jul 2015
Posts: 640

PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2018 12:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

scot47 wrote:
My friendship with a lady in Dresden dates back to the last summer of the GDR when I taught on a summer course at the "Pedagogische Hochschule Karl Liebknecht" in Potsdam. Teachers of English from all over the GDR gathered for 2 weeks of activities designed to enrich their abilities and their knowledge of Anglophone Culture. My special contribution was a seminar on the use of Pop Music and Country Music as teaching aids.

That was in 1990. I first visited Dresden as a youth of 17 summers in 1964.


The good ole daze!

I remain highly interested in anecdotes about the past and present of die 5 neuen Bundesländer (haha, are they still even referred to as such--28 years later?).

I may get bored traveling through the old BRD but rambling through die ex-DDR would still have me wide-eyed. I would cherish such a trip.

Warm regards,
twowheel
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Loobs



Joined: 25 Aug 2010
Posts: 14
Location: Berlin, Germany

PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2018 5:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought I'd revive this thread - the last time I posted in it was about 5 years ago, before I came to Berlin and I think I can offer some perspective on the EFL scene in Berlin. Since it's usually the voice of the discontented that shouts the loudest on these EFL job forums, I thought it would be nice to offer some (positive) insight after working for just under 4 years as an EFL teacher here in Berlin. (Incidentially, I've just 'retired' from EFL after getting a new job in another area.)

I came to Berlin knowing nobody in the city, only having taught EFL in London for a couple of years and was generally quite wet behind the ears. There were countless stories online of people complaining about how tough it is in Berlin to freelance doing EFL, and several people on this forum and on toytown flat out told me that I'd be wasting my time coming here and that I should try another town/country/vocation. But I came, undeterred.

Admittedly, the work was slow to pick up over the first 6 months, but this gave me a great opportunity to explore the city and meet people without having to work full-time; I'd brought with me enough money to scape by for a few months.

I had work with 2 'schools' within about a month. Yes, the job involves travelling quite a lot around the city, but I didn't mind this, having only just arrived and I was keen to get to know Berlin.

After about 6 months I had more or less full-time employment with one of the bigger language schools here. It took some perseverance to get the job there, but after continuously bugging them, they took me on. I was able to get a lot of work between them and the other two aforementioned schools, as well as private students and other such tidbits. It went like that for pretty much the next 3 years.

Yes, I'm aware that my story is a successful one. Yes, if you 'play the game' and pay everything you should pay (tax, health insurance and retirement fund), you aren't left with a ton of money, but you can make ends meet.

I have to say that I had a lot of fun and met some incredible people doing EFL in Berlin. It took me to places I would never have gone otherwise and to parts of the city I probably wouldn't have ever seen.

There are numerous EFL teachers making it work in Berlin. It is not impossible, with a little perseverance and hard work. If you're considering doing it, I recommend at the very least coming for a few months and giving it a shot. It might just work out.
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yurii



Joined: 12 Jan 2017
Posts: 92

PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2018 9:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Am I missing something here?

1 You took 6 months to find a job (food, rent, transport, entertainment costs must have added up) after what seems to have been a lot of effort.
2 When you finally got a job it was with Berlitz or Wall Street or the like.
3 Added to that you had to work another 2 jobs
4 And do private lessons to survive and other 'tidbits'.

Loobs wrote:


Yes, I'm aware that my story is a successful one.


How on God's name can this be a success story? I see you're happy with what you achieved / your experience there and that's great for you, but in my eyes scraping by on 3 jobs just to live in Berlin is far from a success story and not one that would make me want to do what you did just to live in the city of my choice.
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Loobs



Joined: 25 Aug 2010
Posts: 14
Location: Berlin, Germany

PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2018 10:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

yurii wrote:
Am I missing something here?

1 You took 6 months to find a job (food, rent, transport, entertainment costs must have added up) after what seems to have been a lot of effort.
2 When you finally got a job it was with Berlitz or Wall Street or the like.
3 Added to that you had to work another 2 jobs
4 And do private lessons to survive and other 'tidbits'.

Loobs wrote:


Yes, I'm aware that my story is a successful one.


How on God's name can this be a success story? I see you're happy with what you achieved / your experience there and that's great for you, but in my eyes scraping by on 3 jobs just to live in Berlin is far from a success story and not one that would make me want to do what you did just to live in the city of my choice.


Ah, the first naysayer arrives.

I wouldn't say it was 'a lot of effort' to find a job, more than I took it easy the first 6 months and enjoyed the city. And no, I worked at neither Wall Street or Berlitz.

Why is it not a success story? I was able to do it for several years while living a comfortable lifestyle and travelling a lot. If the forums are to be believed, being a freelance EFL teacher in Berlin is a miserable existence of living in poverty. This wasn't my experience at all. I wasn't 'scraping by' by any means.

What is your definition of success in the EFL game?
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yurii



Joined: 12 Jan 2017
Posts: 92

PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2018 6:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Ah, the first naysayer arrives.
Rolling Eyes

You wrote

Quote:
It took some perseverance to get the job there, but after continuously bugging them, they took me on



Now you write

Quote:
I wouldn't say it was 'a lot of effort' to find a job, more than I took it easy the first 6 months and enjoyed the city. And no, I worked at neither Wall Street or Berlitz.




Quite different.

Btw, I wrote: Berlitz or Wall Street or the like. My idea of a success story differs vastly and doesn't involve having 3 different jobs at the same time. Anyway, I'll let others decide if they think it's a success story.
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spiral78



Joined: 05 Apr 2004
Posts: 11512
Location: On a Short Leash

PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2018 6:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If your goal is to spend a few years enjoying the country, without any longer-term aspirations, it's a success. Sounds like it required some reasonable financial cushion at least to start up (not an asset every EFL teacher possesses).


For teachers who are engaged in a career, then this might not seem so successful; kinda depends on what assets you left with!!
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Moma



Joined: 26 Jul 2017
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2018 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Loobs, I lived in Berlin for six years and loved it too. Transport is ridiculously cheap and reliable, and I’d say accommodation and living costs compare well to the rest of Europe. Bear in mind other posters will have had support from local partners and so have higher expectation and possibly thinner skins. Assuming you didn’t run off, I think you should feel proud of your time and achievements in Berlin.
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