| Hochschule, Studium

Start of studies at the University of Erfurt: "The happiest day of my life."

It's hard to start from scratch as a refugee in a foreign country. Shilan knows that all too well. The 24-year-old Kurdish woman has been through exactly that. She fled to Germany with her family to escape the war in Syria. Some of the memories of the situation in her homeland are depressing, the country destroyed in many places, the people traumatised - that's how many Shilan had to leave behind and how much she had to readjust to.

Shilan Ahmad
Shilan Ahmad

"It was not easy for me," she explains. "Everything around me was new. One of the biggest challenges was, of course, learning German. I learned German alone at the beginning, because our application for residence was rejected three times, so I couldn't attend a language school. So for eight months I struggled on my own. Fortunately, I was then able to attend language classes." Despite everything, Shilan has not only thought about herself and her own family, but has also started volunteering as a helper for refugees and immigrants.

She is someone who looks ahead. And is pursuing her dream - even if she has to overcome hurdles along the way. Ever since she was a child, she has dreamed of becoming a primary school teacher, says the 24-year-old. That's why she had already started studying in Syria. Fleeing with her family put an end to that. But Shilan would not be Shilan if she did not take her future into her own hands.  In the meantime, the 24-year-old has resumed her studies - here, at the University of Erfurt. She is completely enthusiastic about university life, she says, and is now sharing her experiences with others in "kohero magazine". In it, she tells how studying in Germany differs from studying in Syria, what hurdles she had to overcome and what opportunities her studies offer her for the future. The first day at the University of Erfurt? Shilan smiles: "The happiest of my life". But read for yourself...

Link to Shilan's story (German only)