NEW FACES OF SLOVENIA – 4. Story of Melissa from South America

“The biggest challenge was the lack of opportunities to show my skills, I was not treated equally and I was often discriminated against.” 37 years old Melissa* from South America

The BODE project (#BrezOvirDoEnakosti) is committed to empowering people with a migrant background in the field of advocacy, as they often do not get the right opportunity to present their side of the story. This time, however, it is different – by sharing real stories, we are fighting against the prejudice that migrants are not educated or skilled enough to participate equally and qualitatively in the progress of Slovenian society.

In this context, we will share with you 10 true stories of people with migrant backgrounds in Slovenia.

4️⃣ This is Melissa’s story…

Melissa (37), from South America, started her studies at university but was unable to complete them due to her family’s poor status and the high costs (books, transport, food, etc.). Fortunately, she soon got a job and became quite successful in her field.

When she arrived in Slovenia, she faced several obstacles as an immigrant: “The biggest challenge was the lack of opportunities to show my abilities, I was not treated equally and I was often discriminated against.”

Melissa recognized the link between the job opportunity and language skills, as she felt that language was the biggest barrier for her too. “The basic course, which is available for free for foreigners for 60-180 hours, was not very useful for me. I felt that the course was designed more for people from the Balkans or other Slavic language groups. Secondly, the challenge is the high price of the language courses, which as a jobseeker is hard to afford. As we also have to prove our language skills in a test, it would be important to make it easier for foreigners to access language and culture learning in a systemic way.”

The biggest success for Melissa is that after living in Slovenia for a few years, she can feel equal and safe and she does not feel so discriminated against because she is not fully fluent in the language. She herself is a strong advocate for women’s rights, is pro-active against violence against women, and believes that we as a society in Slovenia could do more to protect women in general.

We fight stereotypes, discrimination, and prejudice. It is important to stand together for social justice, equal treatment, and opportunities for all members of our society. Let us be tolerant, friendly, and open to new faces, new acquaintances, and opportunities for people to surprise us positively as great employees, talented individuals, or just loyal friends. Although different, we are all equal.

As a graduate engineer at a Slovenian university, I expect the residence and work permit regime to be easier for all those who work and can contribute even a little to improving the country. In addition, it would be excellent if the government would provide the family members of foreigners who have been in Slovenia for a long time with the possibility of free education, at least at the bachelor’s or master’s level.

For more on the stories and the project, see :



ADRA Slovenija

Ministrstvo za notranje zadeve

𝑻𝒉𝒆 𝒑𝒓𝒐𝒋𝒆𝒄𝒕 “𝑩𝑶𝑫𝑬/𝑩𝒓𝒆𝒛 𝑶𝒗𝒊𝒓 𝑫𝒐 𝑬𝒏𝒂𝒌𝒐𝒔𝒕𝒊” 𝒊𝒔 𝒇𝒖𝒏𝒅𝒆𝒅 𝒃𝒚 𝒕𝒉𝒆 𝑨𝒄𝒕𝒊𝒗𝒆 𝑪𝒊𝒕𝒊𝒛𝒆𝒏𝒔 𝑭𝒖𝒏𝒅 𝒊𝒏 𝑺𝒍𝒐𝒗𝒆𝒏𝒊𝒂 𝒇𝒓𝒐𝒎 𝑴𝒂𝒓𝒄𝒉 𝟐𝟎𝟐𝟐 – 𝒕𝒐 𝑵𝒐𝒗𝒆𝒎𝒃𝒆𝒓 𝟐𝟎𝟐𝟐.