migrant entrepreneurs Germany

Migrant Entrepreneurs

in Germany



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hope dream (2) background (2)
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accept rusty (2) public relations
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kit touch (2) seek/sought/sought
tasty bubble (3) pressing (2)
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kind of arrival (2) forget/forgot/forgotten
talent master (2) bring/brought/brought
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Video: Immigrants in German




Edward Bae has lived in Germany for over 20 Years: “I studied automotive design, and I wanted to work for Volkswagen.

Anna Maria Alvarez Monge Migration HUB Founder: “You migrate because you are looking for a better opportunity.”

Leo Legorreta, has lived in Germany for three years: “You can’t tell me you like the weather.”

Malakeh Jazmati, Owns Malakeh Restaurant: “I will do everything for this place because it’s my home.”


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Edward comes from South Korea. Anna from Costa Rica. Leo from Mexico. And Maleke from Syria.

They each came to Germany for different reasons, but all made a life for themselves here.

At the beginning, it was tough. The most pressing issue was to find a job.


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Edward Bae has lived in Germany for over 20 Years: “It was a bit different than what I had expected.”

Anna Maria: “No one takes you seriously in the beginning, especially if you say, ‘I came with this background and I worked here and I worked there.’ You can have your contacts back home, but here you don’t know anybody.”


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It’s hard for new arrivals to get a foot in the German labor market.

Edward Bae has a work visa for professionals. He studied automotive design in the United States. And always dreamed of working for a German automaker.

He did indeed get a job at Volkswagen. And a visa. But the job didn’t turn out quite as he had hoped.

Edward Bae, Has lived in Germany for over 20 Years: “My vision for Volkswagen design and where the company was going was . . . was a little bit different. So trying to to to adjust to that was kind of difficult. I was just doing my thing, and hoping that thing would be accepted, but many times that was not the case.”

Eventually he started over, and opened an Asian-meal-kit store in Berlin. Each kit contains a recipe and all the ingredients for a tasty dish, which you just have to cook at home.

Edward Bae, Founder of Zoom Fresh: “I was living in a kind of bubble, but since I started my business, the local people — I mean I know many of my customers by name. I’m feeling a lot more integrated into the community here.”


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Non-EU foreigners who want to live in Germany need a work-visa or residency permit. There are various visas, depending on country of origin, education and personal situation.

Anna Maria Alvarez Monhieg, Migration HUB Founder: “Germany provides a lot of opportunities in terms of visa for people to get a job here.”

Anna Maria Alvarez Monge came to Germany three-and-a-half years ago. She was married to a German, so getting a visa wasn’t a problem.

She studied law and worked for the finance ministry and public relations firms in Costa Rica.

But here, she couldn’t find a job. So she set up a platform called Migration HUB. It provides support for migrants, asylum-seekers and refugees.

Anna Maria Alvarez Monhieg, Migration HUB Founder: “What we want, and what we aim is basically to support their livelihoods, whether it’s education, employment and entrepreneurship.

Most importantly is for migrants to have an opportunity.”

The entrepreneur wants to change what she sees as widespread perception that migrants are not as competent as Germans — even when they’re just as qualified.

Anna Maria Alvarez Monge, Social Entrepreneur: “We need to change this narrative that whatever we are doing, just because we are migrants, we are not doing it the same way as Germans are.

We work even harder because we have to do it in a different language and get support to understand how to go through something, because we need to make sure that works.”


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Moving to a new country involves finding somewhere to live and making a home. Yet another of many challenges.

Me and my baby and my husband — we live in one room. I’m looking for a flat, actually.

Malakeh Jazmati fled the civil war in Syria, where she had studied political science and literature.

She started cooking more or less by chance.

Malakeh Jazmati, Owns Malakeh Restaurant: “This place is like a Syrian home, to put a lot of culture and my touch. She first set up a catering service. And meanwhile had her own restaurant in Berlin.

Malakeh Jazmati, Owns Malakeh Restaurant: “Nothing in life is easy. Nothing. And also, nothing is impossible.”


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Along with work, founding a company and finding a flat, there’s also the language to learn.

Leo Legorreta, has lived in Germany for three years: “My German is totally rusty: I’ve forgotten it all. Berlin is so international and everybody speaks English. And my job doesn’t help either because even the Germans here speak Spanish.”

It’s love that brought Leo Legorreta to Berlin from Mexico City. He’s a graphic designer, but pursuing his career here without mastering the language is hard, if not down-right impossible.

So he opened a Mexican bar.

Leo Legorreta, has lived in Germany for three years: “My job consisted of talking to clients and developing ideas with them. Here, because I don’t speak German, my talents were of no use.


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As anyone who has lived in a new country soon finds out, things don’t always go to plan. Expecting the unexpected is a good rule of thumb.

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1. This report is about the life of native-born Germans. True or false? Are they from other parts of Europe?

2. Did they have a smooth, easy transition into German society?

3. Edward Bae had a long, successful career at Volkswagen. Is this right or wrong?

4. Did Edward switch to a similar new career? What does he do now? Has he assimilated in Germany?

5. Was Anna Maria an unemployed university graduate in her home country? Did she come to Germany on a work visa?

6. Did Anna Maria open a Costa Rican restaurant? Do Germans believe they are more educated, skilled, talented, industrious, organized, disciplined and responsible than other nationalities?

7. Malakeh attended a culinary academy in Syria and works in a pizzaria. Is this correct or incorrect? Does she have any advice for people? Does she have a positive or negative attitude towards life?

8. Is Leo good at mastering new languages? Are Berliners close-minded and insular? Does Leo work as a graphic artist in Berlin?


A. I am a migrant. Yes or no? Do you know anyone who is a migrant?

B. Are there (lots of) foreigners or migrants in your city? Who are they? Where do they come from? What do they do?

C. There are many ethnic restaurants in my city. True or false?

D. Have you or your friends made career changes?

E. What might happen in the future?

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