Rob Dolce: IIP Berlin

I am going to write today about Individual/Personal Issues. This is something that has been a very prominent thing I have noticed as my time in Berlin has eclipsed the one month remaining mark. I was initially concerned being an American citizen in a foreign country for a variety of reasons: I wasn’t sure how the rest of the city of Berlin handled Americans, or how my workplace would react to having an American in the office. Most of it was just curiosity more anxiety, mainly due to the projection of American culture and society on the rest of the world. Living in the US, we tend to be quite self-concerned with just what happens in our country, not to say that we are ignorant of the rest of the world, but we appear to foreigners to be very absorbed in our own culture. This is not our fault entirely, because as I have begun to notice, the rest of the world is also very absorbed in our culture. My initial concerns were eased once I realized how much American culture has assimilated itself into the culture here in Berlin. Between the US entertainment industry being dominant here, including movies and music especially, and some American fashion having its place among the esteemed European fashion culture, I did not feel like too much of an outsider. In fact, the presence of so much US culture was sort of welcoming. It felt like I wouldn’t be standing out in public, and feeling like “the American” on the subway or walking through the streets.

In my workplace more specifically, I work with a lot of people from around Europe and Australia/New Zealand. And since they are almost all native English speakers, being an American did not make me feel singled out. As I mentioned before with the assimilation of US culture, I noticed that some of my coworkers embrace this culture too, and what surprised me the most was actually their knowledge and up-to-date information on news and politics in our country. I am constantly being asked about politics or US news, and it actually has been very stimulating to have a discussion with people outside the US involving the things we are so used to discussing with other Americans. It gives a refreshing perspective on the perhaps biased or one-shaded discussions we have with our friends and colleagues back home.