Name: Christian Berg
Overseas since: Since 2005
Can you name some of the countries you’ve lived in since leaving the place where you grew up?
Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam.
What’s your definition of ‘home’?
The center of gravity in my life. It is not a fixed place.
Have you discovered any new passions during your time as an expat?
I picked up photography and made a career out of it. Another passion is food. My wife is a foodie so that helps.
Have you held any unusual jobs or titles over the years you’ve been abroad?
When I first came to Vietnam I got paid to show my white face to advertise for an English school in a local book store. I just had to be there and wear a tie. My first business card in Vietnam simply read “freelancer.”
How has being an expat changed your perception of your home country?
I find myself liking or even longing for things from Germany that I considered silly. Cheesy schlager music, gummibears, cold weather, certain moods that are hard to describe. I definitely appreciate Germany more than when I lived there.
Can you think of any particular moment, exchange or encounter that made you mentally or emotionally feel you’d left home “for good”?
I still don’t think I have. Even though I think In reality I did when I let my return ticket eight years ago expire.
Are there any ways in which your adopted country has changed your behavior or thinking significantly?
I have changed for sure, but I would not say that is due to one country. It is more about being an expat in general. And anyway I see myself as being based in Southeast Asia, rather than just Vietnam.
Is there anything that bothers you about your adopted home?
Many things. But the positives surely outweigh the negatives. So I am still here.
What’s most surprising or useful insight you could offer a newbie expat in your adopted country?
No matter how chaotic it seems, in the end things almost always work out.
What aspect of life as an expat is most challenging or worrisome for you?
Being far away from my parents when they grow old.
What, if anything, do the expats you’ve met have in common?
They are hungry for life.
Can you see yourself living in your adopted country indefinitely?
No, but it might happen. Who knows.
If yes, what makes you stay?
If no, why not?
Is there anywhere that you can see yourself settling down indefinitely? Asia is great when you are young. It is fast, exciting. But I start missing nature more and more. When I get older I would not mind living in Europe, or maybe New Zealand, but indefinitely? I don’t know, I think I am still sort of a nomad at heart.