Mrs Ribeiro, for those who don’t know yet: Could you explain the nature of leipglo.com?
Leipglo.com is part online magazine, part blog, part local, part global – or international. What that means is that we are based in Leipzig but do travel around and write from other places too, and we try to keep our readers up-to-date on what’s happening in Leipzig and abroad, but from a personal angle. Many of our articles are opinion articles or involve personal experiences. Our writers come from many different countries and professional backgrounds. We write articles about arts and culture, local and international politics, community-based organizations and initiatives, travel, film and restaurant reviews, special events happening in the Leipzig area, and more.
In addition to that, our pages inform readers about jobs available in Leipzig that are open to hiring people whose first language is not German, about doctors who speak English, Arabic and other languages besides German, about movies playing in Leipzig in their original languages – meaning not dubbed in German, and about a variety of events happening locally. Last year we started organizing events ourselves, with an open mic every two months and job fairs for internationals and Germans alike. Our next job fair is on 24 May 2019, as part of Startup SAFARI Leipzig.
What is the motivation behind the project?
I started The Leipzig Glocal in March 2015 with the motivation to share my own stories and also stories and artistic work of people I’d met in Leipzig and other places I’d lived and traveled to – a platform for the exchange of creative ideas and different perspectives on life, in English because this is the language a lot of international people share, no matter where they come from. Soon, other people became interested in joining the project on a more permanent basis, and besides sharing people’s creative work, our purpose became to provide information in English to help those who didn’t speak German that well and were trying to navigate Leipzig, which was something some of us struggled to find when we first moved here.
We also wanted to provide a platform for people with diverse international experiences to share their stories with Leipzigers who may be interested in knowing their perspectives. Since then, the website has grown into attracting diverse members of the Leipzig community who would like our platform to share their personal stories and projects they care about, while still publishing stories from people living outside of Leipzig whose experiences may be of interest to our readership.
The English speaking community in Leipzig has been growing over recent years (Symbolbild). Foto: Marko Hofmann
Where do both, readers and authors, come from?
Our contributors come from Germany, Brazil, Venezuela, the US, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Australia, Slovakia, Greece, Poland, South Africa, Kenya, and other countries. Most of them are based in Leipzig.We also have guest posts coming in quite often, with people having written from as far away as Hong Kong. Our readers are mostly based in Leipzig, followed by Berlin in second place, and then Halle, Dresden and other major German cities such as Munich, Cologne, Hamburg, and Frankfurt. We also regularly have dozens of readers based in London and New York.
The main languages of the people who read our site tend to be English ,about 50 percent, and German, about 25 percent. Other than that, people from all over the world read The Leipzig Glocal in smaller numbers, depending on the articles we publish at the time and who is sharing them on their networks. A lot of our growth has been organic and driven by the people engaged enough in our website who want to share their stories with us and our readership, or contribute to the website, content, design, marketing, through their creative work.
How come you are editor-in-chief of an Englisch website about Leipzig?
I launched The Leipzig Glocal myself and think English is a good language to reach a large number of people in Leipzig and abroad, including people considering visiting or relocating to Leipzig. More and more, though, we are publishing articles also in German or bilingually in English and German, like our current series of interviews with candidates for the 26 May elections.
We’ve also had a few pieces in Spanish, Portuguese, Ukrainian, and Russian, the latter two languages as part of a literary contest about Leipzig we organized last year.
You as an expert: Is this a false impression or has the number of English-speaking people increased rapidly in our city over the last five years?
The number of English-speakers does seem to be increasing in Leipzig, as it’s often the common language among those coming from different places abroad. In late 2015, Leipzig was Germany’s fastest-growing city, most of it driven by migration from other German cities but some of it also from abroad. Growth has slowed down a bit since, but still, according to a report from Stadt Leipzig LeipGlo recently quoted, the percentage of those with a migrant background living in Leipzig is now close to 15 percent.
Why is that?
I think there are more English-speakers in Leipzig now both due to more migrants coming in and to more Leipzigers learning English. More jobs are becoming available for English-speakers in Leipzig, a city with a lot of foreign students, refugees and other migrants who come here looking for a change of pace or a better quality of life. Many people I know have come to Leipzig to pursue Master’s or PhD’s, teach English at local schools or work for large companies and startups that are creating hundreds of jobs.
What is Leipzig to you?
After moving around so much, finding Leipzig to me has meant living for the past almost seven years in a place where I can be myself, pursue and build up the projects that are dear to me, and nurture a „family“ with the diverse friends I have met here.