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From Refugee To Doctor
1.       Roswitha
4132 posts
 29 Jul 2008 Tue 03:11 pm

With the help of parents, siblings and teachers, the children of immigrants in Germany are becoming upwardly mobile – By Wolf Schmidt

They verbally harass others, fight, drop out of school and end up unemployed or even in jail. This image of the children of immigrants in Germany is widespread in the German media. Still, many have become very successful. How?

Berlin sociologist Ulrich Raiser examined the resumes of 24 successful children of immigrants. His conclusion: Parents are the main factor in paving the way to success. “You are here to make something of yourself,” they told their children. He says, this is “like an engine that helps them clear the hurdles in the German educational system.”

Gülperi Atalay, 26, is a good example. Her parents came to Berlin from Mersin in southern Turkey at the end of the 1960s. Her father assembled motorcycles for BMW before retiring while her mother still works for a cleaning service. “The attitude that girls don’t need a good education is still prevalent in some Turkish families,” said Atalay. “Luckily, that was very different in my family.”

For Atalay’s parents, there was no question: Our daughter will qualify to go to university and get her degree. And she did better: The young German-Turk completed law school when she was only 23. Atalay will finish her clerkship soon and then wants to start working in an accountancy. Atalay herself calls her career “unspectacular.” Her high school and law studies “went smoothly,” she says – not any different from many others in Germany.

If one looks at the statistics, careers like Atalay’s are anything but ordinary. Children of immigrant families clearly have to perform better in order to make the college-bound track. And the higher the level within the educational system, the lower their participation in it, according to the latest government report on immigrants. Only 8 percent of all university students have an immigrant background but they make up almost 20 percent of the total population in Germany.

http://www.atlantic-times.com/archive_detail.php?recordID=1346

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