Teilhabe und Begegnung

conversation 3425921 1920Have you ever found yourself in a situation in which you and the person you’re with can’t speak the same language? If so, here are a number of actions that may or may not help you, tested by yours truly:

  1. Are you just passing by? Smile and wave, perhaps say hello in the language of the country. Congratulations, you’ve established a friendly relationship!
  2. Are you sitting next to one another? Share food. This is universally the most successful method for making friends. A lot can be said by pointing fingers and raising eyebrows. This method works for questions such as, “Do you want that?”, “Have you seen this?”, and “Is that your child that just put a beetle in his mouth?”
  3. High-fives are the preferred exchange of children. Before testing this tip, please be aware that young boys often turn this into a game of how-red-can-I-make-your-hand? If you want to become friends with a child aged four or younger, a game of chase doesn’t need a single word!
  4. With a single nudge on the shoulder, you can offer someone a chair, tell them that the bus has arrived, or keep them from walking in front of the tricycle that is flying far too quickly down the path for something so small.
  5. Finally, carry cough drops with you at all times. You do not know when you can save someone from a terrible attack of the coughs by pulling out one of those, and in my personal experience, this always earns a friend, even if all you can understand is “thank you!”


This article is part of the new project RawafedZusammenfluss - connecting old and new neighbours in Treptow-Köpenick. Together we explore the district and portray it's diversity.

IMG 0090 aMelissa is studying Arabic and Linguistics at Brigham Young University. She is an avid lover of good stories, mountains, and any growing green thing. She likes people too, especially small ones - specifically, her ten younger siblings. Her biggest accomplishments are still in the making.

Photo: Private

basketball hoop 463458 1920Twenty people, five nationalities, four quarters, two teams, one basketball game. You probably wouldn’t think it that unusual, and honestly, it was the most American thing I’ve experienced since coming to Berlin. But the experience was surreal. We left in a group, taking the S-Bahn by storm, and approached the arena in the pouring rain. Once in, the familiar, homegrown smells of nachos and butter popcorn filled the air along with a sense of universal excitement.  You could tell by the tone of the voices around you that everyone was ready for a good time. Filing into our seats, we folded our paper clappers decorated with a large picture of the Berlin basketball team, standing tall in yellow and blue. The players warmed up, the horns blared, and the game begin. We were seated directly behind the most loyal group of cheering fans. Decked head to toe in Alba Berlin gear, a sea of yellow that never sat down. They chanted and clapped in rhythm to their cheer songs, and the whole crowd followed, banging their clappers on their knees in an organized cacophony.

“Go Alba!” we yelled. “Ra, ra, ra!”

When you picture Berlin, what comes to mind? The bustling streets and plazas, the eclectic mix of architecture, or Brandenburger Tor? Perhaps you think of your own street, or the bikes, or the wind. You may have been in Berlin for years, months, or perhaps only a couple of weeks, but have you visited any of the 2,500 public parks that this city contains? I have explored a very tiny percentage of this huge variety of green spaces, but when I picture Berlin, its beautiful green spaces are one of my favorite parts. Below are just a few of the wonderful parks I’ve visited and why you should make them part of your Berlin experience, too!



Wannsee 1Do you want to feel like you’ve left the city altogether? Lucky for you, Berlin has many lakes and forests where you can be transported into another world. One I have visited recently and adored is the Wannsee, a calm lake surrounded by towering trees and gentle hills (actual slopes in Berlin!). You can enjoy a walk with a friend or find some personal time to think while listening to the water lap or collecting the colorful autumn leaves. If I ever move back to Berlin, I want to live next to this lake.

Wannsee 2

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