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My name is Bassel, I’m 24 years old, and I come from Syria. I used to live there with my family. Because of the critical situation in Syria, my brother and I decided to flee to Germany in 2015. I am a refugee and am doing my education at Daimler. Here and in our Daimler-Podcast Headlights (this episode only available in German) I tell you my story.
Before we left, we planned our route on Google, and then we started out. We crossed through Greece, Serbia, and Austria in ten days and finally arrived in Germany. We covered many parts of this route on foot and some of them by train. At some points we had to spend 30 hours without any food or water.
But the effort has paid off. Stuttgart was my dream destination from the very start. I love cars, especially Mercedes-Benz cars. Ever since I was a little boy, I’ve dreamed of driving an S-Class one day.
Find a training for a successful integration
However, making a new start as a refugee in Germany is not so easy if you don’t know the culture or speak the language. That’s why I realized that I had to start taking a German course right away so that I could start working as soon as possible. After all, how can I work if I don’t understand what the people here are saying to me?
I’m interested in IT and programming, and I love cars. When I saw the job ad for a education as an IT system electronics technician at Daimler, I applied immediately. And of course I was delighted to be invited for an interview. Even under normal conditions, a job interview is a stressful thing, but as you can imagine, it’s even more difficult if you still haven’t really mastered the language.
Before the interview, I rehearsed several possible interview situations together with an acquaintance who had helped me when I was looking for a training program. In addition, I used Google Translate before the interview to translate the answers to some questions I might be asked. I then did my best during the interview, and after it was over I actually received the place in the training program. I celebrated my acceptance together with my father on the phone.
Before I could start my traineeship, I spent a preparatory year at Daimler. During that time I continued to improve my German and received a good overview of the company. After the year was over, I started the training program. I had already studied business administration for two semesters in Syria, and that helped me a great deal with the commercial aspects of the program. But the program’s focus is on the installation and assembly of devices and networks, as well as information systems for computer centers and production areas, the installation and commissioning of hardware and software, and the design of business and service processes. …
Integration, education and language course in one
At my department, I’ve got not only a workplace but also an opportunity to improve my German every day. I’ve already noticed that my German classes have provided me with a very good and important foundation. But after a class is over I have to go out and talk to people in order to really get to know my new home and the people who live here. The many talks I’ve had with the people around me are what really enabled me to do a complete interview in German, like the one for the Headlights podcast at Daimler.
I’ve been very lucky to have colleagues at Daimler who not only help me with the professional aspects of my job but also support me in other ways. We’re a real team. That’s the thing I like best about our system at work. We do everything together and support one another.
For example, my colleagues help me whenever I don’t understand the language, have to apply for a residence permit, or need to fill out application forms. I’m never alone here, and I’ve always got someone who can help me. As a result, I’ve been able to integrate myself very well and find my place in this society. I’m part of it. My colleagues are also helping me understand German culture. I’d like to thank my colleagues for that: Thank you very much for always supporting me!
New culture, good food: Lentils, spätzle and onion pie
Of course many things are different here than they are in Syria. For example, in my homeland people start work much later in the day. I had to get used to the fact that in Germany we already start working at 6 a.m. rather than 8 a.m. or even later. The weather here is different from Syrian weather too — and frankly, I still haven’t really gotten used to it. In the winter it’s really cold here.
The food is also different than it is in my homeland, but I always enjoy trying out new things. So far, my favorite German dishes are lentils, spätzle, and onion pie. I also like the Swabian dialect. Because the people here are very friendly, I don’t mind talking about my flight from Syria. That’s because the people I talk with don’t make me feel it’s an uncomfortable topic.
All the same, I miss my family, even though we stay in touch via the Internet and phone calls. They’re very proud of the fact that I work at Daimler and speak German so well. In our conversations they are interested most of all in finding out what the biggest differences between Syria and Germany are.
My next dream after the training: Studying in Germany
In Syria I received a high school diploma before starting to study business administration. I also completed an apprenticeship as a printer and designer. Here in Germany I’ve dreamed of doing some kind of technical job in the area of IT. My dream has now come true, and my work is related to cars. After I’ve completed my training, I’d like to work on mainframe computers and switching cabinets. If my high school diploma is accepted here, I’d like to try to realize my next dream: studying at a German university.