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'Erfurt is small yet sustainable'

The Local · 15 Mar 2013, 06:45

Published: 15 Mar 2013 06:45 GMT+01:00

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Karthik Subramanian, originally from Chennai in Tamil Nadu, India, has been living in Germany since October 2010 and moved to Erfurt just over a year ago. He talked to The Local about the ups and downs of living in Thuringia's captial city.

How did you end up coming to Germany?

I got a bachelor's degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering in India. Then after starting work at a multinational company, I realised I had some free time so I started learning German. I was very impressed with the language, culture and opportunities there and even though I had been planning to go to USA to do my masters degree, Germany seemed more promising. I've been doing a Master's degree at the Bremen University of Applied Sciences and came to Erfurt last year to do an internship and write my thesis.

What do you love most about Erfurt? What's your favourite thing about the city?

The best thing about Erfurt is that it's small yet sustainable in that it has everything a person needs. The latest products are available here yet you still get the small-city feeling and it's got a lot of greenery.

What do you do for fun?

I am a nature lover and I love going to the park or taking a long walk. The Gera River flows near where I live, so I like to walk along that or go for a longer walk across the city while taking photos. A lot of these places are a mix of small cottages and bigger buildings - a combination I find really nice.

Is there anything you don't like about the city?

Maybe the tram as I have to use it every day, and the seating arrangement is uncomfortable. You always feel cold inside and can't stretch your legs. The newer ones are really good but they don't come to my line very often. Another thing I don't like is the fact that the city is dead after 8pm. It would've been nice if it were a little livelier at night.

Is Erfurt a friendly city for foreigners?

Yes, definitely and in fact, I would say that people should change this notion that Germans as a whole are not so friendly. I was speaking to a colleague of mine who said that a lot of the people here from the former GDR wonder why people from the west think they're unfriendly. As for me, except for the infrastructure, I don't see any difference between the former east and west.

What do you miss most about India?

The food, of course! The other thing I miss is the fact that in India I can just spontaneously hop on a train and go to any city. I don't have to plan everything. Here, things need to be planned in advance. Also, you need to have an appointment with practically everyone. Spontaneous plans don't happen very often here.

Are there any Indian restaurants in the city that you like?

There are two Indian restaurants called Bombay and Maharaja. They serve good north Indian food. I cook south Indian food myself at home. I am totally vegetarian and I've learnt to cook German groceries and products in an Indian way. I usually buy Indian groceries and food items from Frankfurt when I'm going through Frankfurt or I order them online from Berlin. Otherwise I can manage with what's available in the German supermarkets.

Do you also like German local food? What's your favourite dish?

Of course I love German food. My favourite dish is apple strudel. When you speak about Erfurt and its food you can't leave out the Thüringer Bratwurst - but being a vegetarian, I don't eat it.

Story continues below…

Can you tell us something about Erfurt that only the locals know?

There's the Nordpark near one of Germany's oldest open air swimming pools, the famous Nordbad. I personally walk across it to reach the other side called Magdeburger Allee. This is my favourite spot to go for a walk, hear the birds singing, and especially to do yoga and slacklining. Another place people don't explore much because it is not well connected is the Steigerwald nature park, but it is simply breathtaking.

What's the one thing a tourist shouldn't miss in Erfurt?

The Krämerbrücke is a beautiful spot in the heart of the city with lots of eateries and shops. Also, no tourist should miss going to the Molsdorf castle and taking the guided tour. There is a hideout near the Erfurt cathedral which acted as a shield during World War II. By taking the guided tour you get to know how they managed in the heavy snow during the war and the way they've connected it to the church. It's really interesting!

Want your German hometown featured on The Local? Contact us at: news@thelocal.de

Interview conducted by Mithila Borker

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

11:00 March 15, 2013 by iche
This was a nice article.

11:17 March 15, 2013 by adam.müller
"I had been planning to go to USA to do my masters degree, Germany seemed more promising"

Germany seemed more promising..........lol yeah, I will ask you how promising it is after you complete your degree and go in job market.
14:17 March 15, 2013 by RajeshG
Good to read these view points. i was also featured along with another indian here- http://bfriendlyblog.blogspot.de/ and this cross cultural exchange makes interesting read.
15:27 March 15, 2013 by Tilak RaJ
O f course German people are very friendly ,I was there in 2010 and 2011.

And they are punctual also.

I like German people.

21:19 March 15, 2013 by andywindy
Erfurt? I'd never heard of it, but this is the beauty of this series of articles, I've heard of it now and will look it up on the map and Wiki. Karthik paints a good honest view of a totally different culture to his homeland, and I am glad that he has found that the Natives are friendly!
18:25 March 17, 2013 by Masala
Having lived in Erfurt for two years, I can tell you that there are approximtely 1,560 better cities to live in in Germany.
20:54 March 17, 2013 by sasibreeze
'The other thing I miss is the fact that in India I can just spontaneously hop on a train and go to any city.'

I dont know how could u say this. here the transport system is ultimate... every 10 min or 20 min city train or tram and every 1hr frequency trains to other major cities.Such a wonderful train frequency... and u get easily tickets

if u miss one train other cities like maduari, nellai,, u have to wait 6 hr or 12 hrs. real fun man.. You wont get a reserved seat if u want to travel immed. i tamil nadu.... and u lived in bremen tooo. Bremen is such wonder place. tram journey are beautiful compared to S-bahns.

.Think of chennai and its metro bus crowd:))))))))
14:19 March 18, 2013 by venkyfra
@sasibreeze, true.

But if he wants to travel without a ticket and if he is fit then India is the right place for it. Its not easy to travel like that here.

Would like to hear what he has to say about Germany after he enters job market.
16:20 March 20, 2013 by rits
"I realised I had some free time so I started learning German."

I am sure he never learnt HINDI the national language of his country. I am ashamed that because of people like him , I have to talk in English with other Indian from his state, and my German and other European collueges laugh at this.
16:22 March 20, 2013 by rakeshag
Hello Brother,

It is nice to hear from you that you had a good experience in Erfurt. I was there in 2010 for my thesis work for 6 months.I found the people unfriendly and unwelcoming. I even came across some racial slurs while walking in the streets . I met some other Indian people/foreigners there. They all said the same thing.There are definitely lots of skinheads there. Later I got job in stuttgart and moved to stuttgart.

But may be Erfurt is changed now. but there are lots of much better

cities/towns in germany than Erfurt :)
11:47 March 21, 2013 by venkyfra

Hindi is NOT NATIONAL language of India. India doesnt have one national language. Hindi is official language of central govt which is not applicable for South India. For South India central govt has to use local language(mandatory), Hindi or English(optional). So grow up and first learn about India.
14:10 March 22, 2013 by rits

I think you first need to learn about India. Why is it not the National Language because of some unpatriotic states going into civil war.

As per the citizenship laws of most EU states, which requires to learn the national language, all citizen of south state will loose their citizenship.


But the point was why learn German and not Hindi the language which all Hindustani should know if they are real Hindustani.
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