Because I have a Dream

What helped me the most is making friends in Berlin

von REFUGEE VOICE, Boryana Ivanova

Photo: Viktor Richardsson
Photo: Viktor Richardsson

I’m 23 years old and I’m a dental technician. I studied Dentistry at Damascus University. From the first day of university I also started a training in a private lab. I was going to lectures in the morning and straight after that I was heading to work in the lab. After six months, the training turned into a paid job. In this way I could complete my degree within two years. But very soon the war changed everything. While still in university, I was regularly taking part in demonstrations. I was also part of the university hip-hop band. We were trying to express our frustration with the situation through music. Very soon the regime caught on with our activities and soldiers started making our lives impossible. I knew that it was a matter of time before I end up in jail and that wasn’t what I wanted in life. I wanted to work, have a successful career, and be an active member of society. That’s all.
I organised my escape to Egypt and I spent an year working there. I started working in Cairo two days after I arrived. I can’t stay in a foreign country without working. I need to earn money in order to support myself. After a year my work permit was not extended and I had to go to Turkey. It took me 15 days in Istanbul to find a job because I didn’t speak the language. After 8 months there, the landlord refused to renew our contract because we were young Syrian man. At this point in Turkey there was a growing sentiment against the number of Syrians coming to the country. We searched half of Istanbul and couldn’t find a flat. I took this as a sign to move forward. At this moment I decided to ask for asylum in Europe, not to receive help but to be able to work.
On Christmas day in 2014 my brother and I arrived in Germany. What helped me the most is making friends in Berlin. There was a volunteer at the refugee camp who explained to me how to look for jobs and she put me in touch with the boss of a dental lab in Berlin. A month ago I finally got my residence permit and I was hired in the lab. I’m an orthodontist, I make braces. I don’t have direct contact with clients and with my colleagues I communicate in the little German I learned from youtube tutorials and volunteer classes. All my colleagues are very nice to me and happy to have a Syrian person working with them. I want to learn the language well anyway. This is the switch between being a refugee and somebody who has a normal life here. You will be a refugee as long as you don’t understand people around you. In the moment you speak German, people will stop judging you by the cover. You will have a chance to tell who you are.
I’m doing everything as fast as possible because I have a dream – I want to open my own lab at the age of 30. I want to give jobs to other people and contribute to society with whatever I can.

 

Boryana Ivanova launched REFUGEE VOICE as an attempt to humanise the discussion on refugees and change the often negative perceptions that people have towards them. REFUGEE VOICE wants to  show that every person has their worries and their dreams.