“Say it loud and say it clear: refugees are welcome here!” is the slogan of activists who fight for a more transparent and solidary policy for refugees. Many people come to Germany because the situation in their countries is very critical. They leave their life behind them to live in a place where they can feel safe. Sanaa is a Syrian woman in the age of 28. She flew to Germany to complete her studies. In Syria she studied tourism and worked in a company for fairs and expositions. She talks about how her life changed here in Münster, Germany.
Why did you come to Germany?
I’m here since half a year. First I came here to visit my brother and my sister, we spent Christmas together. My brother told me to stay in Germany to complete my studies. “Because Syria is in a bad situation, here in Germany you can feel safe and can make good things. If you want to go back to Syria, you can. But here you can complete what you want to do in your life.”, he said. It is a good country for young people like me. I can do a lot of things here. My brother lives here since 5 years, he came here to study after school. And my sister came here with her family one year ago, because her daughter has a problem in her legs. She came to Germany because of the good hospitals and the good doctors, because in Syria we didn’t find the reason, what was wrong with her.
Did you come here because of the situation in Syria or because the jobs and study in Germany?
I came here to study. Because I lived in Syria when there was this bad situation and somehow it became ok for me. But here my dreams maybe come true. I don’t know. It’s okay for me now.
When I was younger, I told my friends that I want to go to Germany one day and stay there. For some unknown reason, I loved Germany (also in Football and so on) *laughs*. I don’t know
why. Maybe, it’s good for me.
Do you still love it?
More than before. Because now I know many things about the people and how they live. I think here in Germany, nothing is impossible. You can make everything that you want. In your study, your job, your life. You can have fun. More than in Syria. Because when I was in Syria, I only worked. I forgot myself. Now I have fun. Now it’s Ok. Now I can concentrate on my language course and I have more time to have fun with my friends.
How Syrian people generally see German people?
They don’t know anything about the people themselves. Just in the news they hear some things: capital city Berlin, economic country etc. The Syrian people say that the Germans are not hopeful, not hospitable and they would only speak German and will not accept other languages.
But when I came here, the people were very hopeful- They try to speak English so that you understand, but also help you with learning German and give you advice concerning what to do and where to study and so on. I think they are really friendly people. This is my impression.
Where is the difference between Syrian and German people?
They have a different culture and a different way of thinking. People here are more open-minded than Syrian people. Here the people don’t care about what other people think of
you. You just do. In Syria everyone talks about everyone.
What do you miss about Syrian people?
Because I don’t speak German fluently yet I miss talking with people. Conversations, discussions, everything. You can find Syrian food and so on here, too. But I miss my family and friends and especially my city Damaskus. But Münster seems like Damaskus a bit because when I walk through Münster I feel like walking through Damaskus: these old things, the lights, the music in the streets.
My sister and my brother are here in Germany with me. And my other sister will come here next month to stay and live here with her family. She has a 2 year Visa to stay here in Germany. Her two daughters will go to school here in Germany because now the situation in Damaskus is bad. They can’t go to school there because of the “boom”. Every day people die, die, die.
Do you know other Syrian people here?
Yeah, I know a lot Syrian people from church, where we meet once a week. There are Syrian girls and boys who came here to study or to get away from the Syrian crisis. It’s good to meet them here.
What do you wish for the future?
Now I want to finish my language course and speak German well. After that, I want to find an institute to complete my studies. I found some hotels with apprenticeships for hotel management. That sounds cool and I hope I can work in a good place. Next year, I want to make a trip around Germany and Europe. I wish for my country Syria, that the war ends and that everything returns back. I want to go to Damaskus with my German friends and show them everything.
Do you have an advice for German people?
The German people know what is better for studying and where to go. This is your country. You know everything about how to live here and so on. Maybe you must make a group to help Syrian people. Because now many students come to Germany, we need German students to help us in the university and other places. This would really help us.
In Bad Bentheim I know a lot of people who help the Syrian by making a language course and give the families money, furniture and clothes. This is good. Some people need the help, because they came to Germany in bad and illegal ways, by the sea for example. I came by flight, because my uncle made an invitation for me. But other people came firstly to Italy and other countries …. They traveled a long way. One of my friends saw many dead people in the sea. Lots of Syrian come to Germany, because it’s in such a bad situation.
Is psychological help necessary?
Yes, because this friend told me, he is always dreaming of these experiences. He spent two months on the sea. It’s a very bad thing that happened. But it is okay, people don’t speak about anything, they just want to leave Syria. Not to forget, but to go to another place, to a safer place. If Syria will be good, we will all return back, because we used to live a very good life in Syria. It was a very safe place before the war began. I think after this war, all the wars, we will hear a lot bad stories. A lot of things happen. You can’t imagine. It’s very bad. The worst. Maybe someday we will wake up and everything is gone (laughs) I hope so. For all the countries, not only Syria. For all the poor people.