Can refugees study in Germany? #1 (English Version)

Can refugees study in Germany? #1 (English Version)

Imagine you just finished your Bachelor but could not stay in your home country because of the political situation. This is Aya’s Story. The 24-year-old, open-minded young woman has recently traveled from Latakia in Syria to Germanyas a refugee. In her luggage, she brought a diploma in geotechnics and a lot of motivation to get her Master’s degree in Germany. We are happy to be able to accompany the young Syrian woman along her way during the next months. We are going to share her experiences and give helpful tips for other interested Refugees on StudiHeld.

In the first part of our series we would like to introduce Aya and her personal story in an interview:

Aya, where are you from and why did you come to Germany?

„I have fled from Syria to Germany, because my husband has been living here since 2015. I have also been dreaming of studying at a German university for a long time. Now I’m here and after my first month I can say: I love Germany! Even if I’m not used to the huge amount of paperwork. But I love that the cities are so clean in Germany and I’m enthusiastic about the German recycling system. So far everybody treated me nicely and  open-minded. I’m looking forward to building up  a new life here in Germany with my husband and hope that I will get the chance to have a career as an Engineer.“

How was your life in Syria?

„I grew up in Latakia, a Syrian port town on the Mediterranean Sea. We had a beautiful life there, we felt safe and lived in a beautiful city in a very beautiful country. During my school time, I often went to the beach with my family and friends and enjoyed our lives.  After my Baccalaurean, I started to study engineering sciences at the University of Latakia. But during my first year at the university, the war began and our life changed suddenly. We lived in constant fear, we were concerned about the developments in our country, we had no electricity, no water, food was expensive, and it was hard to go to the university by public transport. My parents wanted me to stay at home, but the university went on as usual and I was motivated to continue my studies that had just begun. So, I accepted the constant fear and studied engineering sciences.“

College in Latakia

How did you come up with engineering sciences? In Germany, comparatively few women study this subject.

„Yes, it’s the same case in Syria. Many girls are afraid of studying sciences. I have always loved mathematics, physics and have been interested in technology. My curiosity encouraged me to choose the discipline I liked most. But the study was very difficult. Arabic universities are generally considered to be demanding and I had to learn a lot to earn good grades. But it was worth it. I chose geotechnics as my specialization and finished last year with a good result. This makes me very proud.“

Congratulations on graduation! Why did you come to Germany?

„At the beginning of my studies, I had a boyfriend who was summoned to the Syrian army when the war started. He did not want to support the army and decided to flee. Because we were sure that we wanted to spend our lives together, we married before he went to Germany. He had already learned German and started to build our new life but I decided to finish my studies in Syria. To prepare myself, I studied German and English at the university.“

Have you been able to just fly to Germany?

First, Aya had to travel from Syria to Turkey

„No, my way to Germany was very difficult and I like to tell more about it. I did not want to go the dangerous way to Germany. So my husband and I planned a family reunion in Germany. This has to be applied for in a German consulate. Since all German consulates are closed in Syria, you have to travel to a neighboring country to apply for a visa. Because I have friends in Turkey, I decided to apply there for my visa. To get permission to leave, I had to ask for a lot of permits from officials in Syria. I got them but it was also uncertain whether I would arrive safely in Turkey and what could happen at the Turkish border. But I was lucky and finally arrived in Mersin last fall.“


How did you feel and how did your journey continue?

„I was afraid because I left my family back in Syria and traveled alone for the first time ever in my life. Turkey is a very beautiful country, but it was difficult for me because I was alone and foreign and did not speak the language. In Mercin I stayed with different friends. It was a hard time for me, but I always had the goal in mind to finally travel to my husband to Germany. After a few weeks, I finally received the invitation to the German consulate in Izmir and went on the 16-hour bus trip from Mersin to Izmir. Then I had to answer a lot of questions about myself and my husband. This process was repeated twice and lasted for about three months. This was the hardest time for me, just waiting in Turkey. But then I got the news that I could pick up my visa. Finally, I was able to fly directly from Turkey to Germany, which made me really happy.“

Mit dem Bus fuhr Aya mehrmals von Mersin nach Izmir
Aya travelled several times from Mersin to Izmir

Respect for your courage. Now you have arrived in Baden-Württemberg. What is next?

„Yes, I think that we Syrians have to be strong right now and we need the courage to have a fresh start at a safe place. I am currently waiting for my residency status and for my intensive German lessons to get started. I use this time to improve my knowledge in German on my own. I also apply to universities that offer special refugee programs. My goal is to be included in such a program at the winter term 2017/18. My husband is currently looking for an apprenticeship training position and my great dream is to study and get a Master’s degree in geotechnics at a German university.“

Flugreise von Izmir nach Stuttgart
Flight from Izmir to Stuttgart