Anja Nettler Living Abroad
November 30, 2009 Leave a comment
A slight green-eyed young woman with a posh British accent sat down to be interviewed. She appeared more English than German. Blond haired ponytail and glasses, she was believable as a confident student journalist. Yet, vulnerability exists within Anja Nettler, because she’s so far from home.
Born and raised in Lagenhagen, Germany, Anja decided to live abroad five years ago when her boyfriend Jörg was offered a job in London.
As Jörg worked tirelessly to make ends meet in the expensive city, Anja went to Queen Mary University to achieve her Bachelors. Eventually, she joined a Masters programme for International Journalism at the University of Westminster.
Living within a different cultural background hasn’t been easy for Anja. It didn’t take long before she noticed some preconceived judgments of Germans in the UK.
“When I lived in Harrow, a 15-year old boy once asked me what I thought about Hitler?” Anja found it appalling that the boy didn’t assume she would denounce Hitler the same way any other sane person would.
Anja is concerned for the way that Germans are looked at by the rest of the world. There was no hesitation in setting the record straight about the Germany that she had always known.
“It is against the law in Germany to glorify the Nazi’s. You are also forbidden to wear a Swastika,” she said in a way that asked, Isn’t this obvious?
Anja blames the constant references to World War II in the UK as a possible reason for anti-German sentiment and one is forced to think back a few weeks to the sea of poppies on lapels of commuters.
Not Abroad Forever
Originally, Anja had agreed to three years in London, but was forced to change tactics when her boyfriend received a pay raise and promotion. She was miserable when she and Jörg first arrived. Due to very little money, they were forced to live on fast food in a room with a pest control problem.
“They say that money doesn’t make you happy, but having no money makes you extremely unhappy.”
Yet, despite the challenges that Anja has faced in the UK, it hasn’t been complete gloom and doom for the International student. She admits to the wonderful culture of art that London has to offer and even plans to visit England again once she returns home for good.
Now that her education is almost complete, Anja has a 3-year plan to return to her beloved Germany, where she will use her British education to propel herself in the field of journalism.