NEW FACES OF SLOVENIA – 1. Story of Mehmet from Turkey

True story: “I searched and made use of every opportunity, and then I finally made it” (Mehmet from Turkey, 38 years old)

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.

1️⃣This is Mehmet’s story…

➡️Mehmet (38 years old, from Turkey) graduated from Georgia State University in the Mathematics Department and completed his Master’s degree at Fatih University in Istanbul. He has also worked as a mathematics teacher in various countries.

🗣️“I live in Slovenia now and people often ask me why I left my country or why I don’t go back to Turkey. I have been living abroad for about 18 years. I originally left to study, but then I didn’t come back. The reason is that I love freedom, especially as an educated person and as a teacher. At the moment, I cannot go back to a place where I cannot speak and think freely. It could be country A, country B, it doesn’t matter.”

➡️Mehmet initially had some difficulties finding a job in Slovenia and after some time he decided to change his field.

🗣️“I found it difficult to be a teacher in Slovenia, as I had to pass the C1 language proficiency exam, which is almost impossible. The reason for this is that the basic Slovenian language courses are not enough to pass the exam for this level.”

➡️It is very difficult to reach the C1 level in such a short time with the small number of hours currently available through educational institutions, and it is extremely challenging to pay for additional language courses without a job. 

➡️The only option was to look for a new field where I could get a job, so I went into the IT sector,’ said Mehmet, who currently works for a software company in Ljubljana.  

➡️One of the problems he points out as an immigrant is the lack of support on the path to employment:

🗣️“I told the Employment Service (ZRSZ) that I needed to do a vocational course, but the Employment Service didn’t support me. I think they have an extremely simple logic when it comes to employing foreigners and they simply don’t support us enough.”

🗣️“It would be good to give more financial support to immigrants for education, training, language learning, and so on.”

🗣️“I searched and took every opportunity to jump into the IT sector, and then, with persistent searching, language learning, and the support of my family, I finally made it.”

➡️Mehmet svojo zgodbo zaključuje z zahvalo:

🗣️‘Zelo sem hvaležen in ponosen na svojo družino, ker so bili na moji poti zelo potrpežljivi.’

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.

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

For more on the stories and the project, see :