Go with Oh Berlin: Getting Local Experiment

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 I Love Berlin

Bradenberg Gate

In late 2008, on my second long-term trip, the first thing I did was return to Berlin. I wanted to see if I could live there a bit – try to be a local in Berlin – maybe find a job, get a cute apartment in Prenzlauer Berg and soak up life in the exciting capital for a while.

The Berlin Job Question

Fernsehturm - TV Tower Berlin


I didn’t really know what I was going to do, but IF a job of some kind materialized (I interviewed to be a director at a video game company – directing actors to re-record voice-overs in English; I made some in roads at Deutsche Welle TV; and I was already freelancing for Cornelsen Publishing), I was thinking maybe I could stay there a year or so? I had no idea really, that was the beauty of my travels—no schedule, no dates, no pressure. But I did get ahead of myself actually and found my way to the crazy German Immigration office (Ausländerbehörde –the first thing I did was learn how to say that!) to find out about getting a residency/work permit. I waited on line to get the forms and info but they really encourage you to speak German (nein) or to bring a German with you (nein). So when I got to the window…of course my lady didn’t speak English (sprechen sie Englisch??…NEIN!). I muddled through and got the forms I needed. I was told it was hard to get approved, but I was optimistic and even got two letters in writing from the people who had interviewed me.   It was sort of just for info I suppose, but was an act in futility really.  It made for an interesting day though.

I am sure I could have stayed longer and made something happen, but as I often do, I just got antsy and confused as to what the hell I was doing, so I left town and continued to travel.

Back in Berlin

Fast forward to 2013, I am once again being drawn back to Berlin. This time it is to live there in the hot neighborhood of Freidrichshain in a furnished apartment. My friend and fellow travel blogger, Sherry Ott, and I are going to be rooming together, but more than that, we are part of a new experiment.

the apt

I often talk about getting local on here and how much I like to immerse myself in the places to which I travel. Well, now we are going to be doing that literally.

Go with OH

European apartment rental company ‘Go with Oh’ will be putting the “getting local” concept under the microscope, in what they are billing Living la Vida Local’ – the ‘Go with Oh’ Experiment.

me&sherryFor the entire month of March, Sherry and I will live in a ‘Go with Oh’ rental apartment in East Berlin. We have been tasked with the assignment to uncover whether it is really possible to actually live like a local and if so, how?

So  you can bet I will be doing this the best way I know how: through food! We will be hosting dinner parties each week and inviting local German bloggers, journalists, and friends to come cook and eat with us. We also plan to learn some German (ja!), have bicycles to get around like many of the locals, take local yoga classes, and get schooled by Berliners in their ‘hoods, their food, and what day-to-day life is really like in the exciting German capital.  For more current updates…make sure you ‘like’ my Facebook Page (if you haven’t already!) where I will check in with daily photos and give you a glimpse into our experiement!

‘Go with Oh’ will be observing, capturing and sharing our progress through live updates on their website as well.

–>Other ways to follow along:

Follow and add your opinion to the hashtag #GWOlocal on twitter
Facebook pages where we will be posting photos and updates from our experiments in Berlin:

Plus – check out and enter the Go with Oh Facebook competition they are running in order to win your very own weekend for two in Berlin.

What do you think? What does it mean to really get local? Can a foreigner be a local? How long does it take? Months? Years?  I don’t think I will be a local, but I will have fun trying to become one as much as possible!

Disclosure: Living la Vida Local is an initiative brought to you by Go With Oh. As always, all views expressed here are my own. 

GWO logo


  1. says

    Sounds like an awesome experiment, Lisa. Kind of jealous here. :) Berlin would be a wonderful place to live like a local, and I think you’ll get the hang of it quite quickly. Enjoy!

  2. says

    Such a cool opportunity!
    I absolutely love Berlin and think it will be great living there for a month.
    Don’t think you’ll become a ‘local’ though. I don’t know how much time that would take, but speaking for myself I don’t think I’d ever feel local somewhere if I didn’t speak the language.
    Really looking forward to your experiences!

  3. says

    This will be a really fun experiment! Living like a local is highly subjective, so if I had to predict, I’ll guess that after the month you’ll feel like a local in some ways and not in others. In my opinion, the biggest thing you have going for you is you want to really fit in, so you’ll make a lot of effort.

    I was just explaining to someone last week how living in Myanmar I became culturally fluent after a few months time, although I was deeply immersed spending more than half my time meeting and talking intimately with locals, not to mention eating, traveling, understanding the history, struggles, and dreams.

    I could ramble on an on, but in short I look forward to seeing what you do it fit in and how the experiment goes!

  4. says

    Sounds like a great idea! I’ll be spending some time in Berlin this year too in the hopes of getting to experience the city as a local, in particular with trying local restaurants and learning the language, so I’m looking forward to seeing how it works out for you.

  5. Phil says

    Oh, there is so mush I could tell U about my experience in Berlin I love t5he city and the people.I live there in the1900s and own the first Tex-Mex Rest about 2 blks from Ku dawm
    short for Kaffustadawm sta downtown in the west sector of Berlin. Yes the best curry worst are in Berlin. Next try to explore all 13 main sectors of Berlin,very interesting ,like Kroittsburg and Wannsse lake area,or Challattenburg,OMG its beautiful The largest Park in Europe( Grunnewalde ) is in Berlin,one of the greatest Zoos is in the middle of town.It is an international city.One of the greatest experience of my life . I was there in the 1960s in the military for two N half years befor going to Nam. I love to go back one more time ,but I’m in my 70s, so don’t know .

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