The dual study programme is a unique form of study in Germany, one that is not necessarily familiar when you arrive here from abroad. I was lucky that my family and I found a new home in Lörrach after our escape from Homs in Syria. Dual studies are available at the local university, and thus were familiar to me. I myself learned from friends that in this way I am able to combine university studies with practical experience in a company. A clear advantage for me is that I can both study and work and thus earn money at the same time.
Preparing for dual studies
However, I did not enter the dual study programme directly and am currently in the contact study programme. This means that as a guest student I attend lectures in my favourite subjects in industrial and business informatics and thus am preparing myself for the dual studies programme. For example, I take a German course at the DHBW in order to achieve the required language level C1. In addition, I had to prove that I have a high school diploma. For this purpose I had my Syrian high school diploma as well as my Syrian diploma in law recognised.
Since October 2018 I have been attending lectures in programming, business administration, mathematics and law on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. At the end of each semester I can take written exams in order to see if I would pass them. The next exams will be in July 2019. In my opinion the contact study programme is a very good opportunity to familiarise oneself with the dual studies programme and to get to know the workings of a German university. I also get together with other students and lecturers and am able to make contacts. At the moment I am also applying for a work experience position with DHBW partner companies and I am already curious to see which company I will likely be working for come the autumn. The dual studies programme will then last three years. The university phases alternate with the practical phases every three months.
Starting at the beginning
Altogether I have been in Germany for three years. The war in Syria and the bombing of my hometown forced my family to leave the country. My mother, my three brothers and I came to Lörrach via several stops within two weeks of our departure. Here we received help from different organisations. The staff of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) and the Jobcenter supported us with the formalities. At the BAMF reception facility there were social workers and volunteers who were there for us. I also had good experiences with Amiko, a community of helpers for refugees and the needy.
In the beginning I found it difficult to adjust because I did not speak German and could not work in my profession as a lawyer. I had to start all over again. In the meantime, however, I got to know life and culture in Germany, made friends and developed a perspective for myself with my dual studies programme.