„I was naturalized two years ago. I feel very comfortable here, super integrated and have many friends from different countries.“
I was born in Bogota, Columbia. I graduated from high school there and started studying economics at the age of 16. The high-school diploma in Columbia is done after the 11th grade. Because I wasn’t enjoying my studies and really wanted to learn German, I decided to go to Germany as an au pair for a year. My uncle, who was already living in Germany found me an au pair job with a single mother in Berlin - Charlottenburg. A month later - at the age of 17 in 2002 - I came to Berlin. My host mother welcomed me very well. I didn’t have to take care of the household, only the little daughter. She also learned German with me, corrected me when I made mistakes and made sure that I also read German books. I felt safe and secure with her. The authorities were the biggest problems. Because my German wasn’t very good, the immigration authorities made me feel small and even discriminated me, and send me away again without having achieved anything. I also have my host mother to thank for the fact that I was allowed to stay in Germany after my au pair contract expired. She stood up for me at the Immigration Office. Since she has a good job, she acted as a guarantor for me. I then studied Ethnology, Latin and American studies. At that time a dictator came to power in Columbia and many critics of the regime came to Berlin to apply for Asylum. That’s how I got into refugee aid. A difficult time, because opponents of the regime and helpers were observed and threatened by members of the Colombian Embassy. Originally I hadn’t planned to stay in Germany, but the political problems in my home country made it happen. Berlin is my home. I am married to a polish man who grew up in Germany. I feel safe here, there is far less crime then in Bogota, for example. When I arrived in Berlin there was snow. I had never seen anything like it and was fascinated. Everything seemed so still and peacefully to me. Bogota is a lively, colorful hustle and bustle due to the many street vendors on the streets. For me beer and the directness of the people are typically German.