The other day, in one of my classes, I had two new students. I was able to tell that one of the students was not a native German, but I don’t think anything of it. I thought his ethnicity might be Turkish because German has a strong minority of Turkish people.
Anyway, I had asked the students to write a small essay for me. I had just spent the entire last class talking and truth be told, really wanted to rest my voice for a bit. I told the students to write a small essay about the following topic: “We all sometimes have to make difficult decisions in our lives. What was one difficult decision you had to make? Please explain what the decision was, what you decided for, why and what the effects of that decision were.”
After assigning the task, I went and got myself a cup of coffee. It was only later, when I was marking the essays, that I found out that the new student who looked like he was from Turkey actually was from Syria. And not only that, he was a refugee who had escaped that war-torn land and made it to Europe in the most difficult kind of way, by crossing the Mediterranean. I was immediately humbled by his story, which I have reproduced below. Enjoy.
The most difficult decision in my life was my journey to Germany. I was in Turkey and I had a little budget to start a life there but I decided to leave Turkey and go to Europe, exactly like a lot of Syrian refugees who wanted to start a good life and get better chances in their own life. It was very hard to take the risk and travel illegally across the sea with the death boats, risking my life leaving my friends and family and all the people that I have known to go to live in a foreign country with a new culture, new language and start from zero or maybe even less than zero. For me it was “to be or not to be.” I wanted to make my future with my own hands and build it as I want. I didn’t know how hard it would be. I went through very bad moments. Luckily, I have made it all the time. A lot of bad memories and lot of good things I have learned. The life is experiments and I want to try everything I want.