“At the moment, my whole life depends on the exam”, says Mia sadly. Failing the first time was a dreadful blow as she was desperate to join her husband Faruk in Germany as soon as possible. She missed him so much. To assuage some of her longing, she went to visit him in Stuttgart – on a tourist visa – and stayed for two months.
Her language skills can’t be the reason why she failed the exam. Mia speaks fairly good German. She started learning the language at primary school and then continued for another four years at grammar school. That’s why she didn’t attend a language course to prepare for the exam. But in the exam, she was so nervous that she couldn’t understand the speakers during the listening comprehension. To prepare for her second attempt, she is now attending a course at the Goethe-Institut, which she thinks is “wonderful”.
Before she met Faruk, Mia was really quite settled. After studying law, she worked for the government as a legal expert, before moving to a pharmaceutical company. Giving up her profession and her well-paid job is difficult. But Faruk works for an insurance company in Germany and she hopes to move into this sector as well.
Faruk has lived in Germany for the last 18 years and only comes back to Bosnia and Herzegovina for holidays. His family left Bosnia in 1992, when the war broke out, but they returned home before the fighting ended. German culture was too “foreign” for them; they couldn’t settle in. Mia thinks that she will find it easier to acclimatise to life in Germany: after all, she and Faruk belong to a different generation. There is much less difference between the two cultures today than in the past, she says.
For now, the only problem is whether she’ll be able to keep her nerve during the exam. She’s already sent all her belongings to Germany. “Everything is already there – the only thing that should be and isn’t is me.”
* Name changed by the editors at the interviewee’s request.