My name is Samer, I’m 26 years old.
Where are you from?
I’m from Syria. My hometown Idleb, was bombarded again a week ago with phosphorus bombs.
Why did you come to Austria?
I came to Austria because of the war in my country. There are bombs and terror. My brother came here before me, I wanted to join him. Also I read on the internet that Vienna has often been voted the city with the highest living standard. This was also a reason to come.
Where are your family living?
My parents, one brother and a sister are still in Syria. My father is a farmer and was a history teacher before his retirement. Two of my brothers are living in Qatar, one sister is married there. One of my brothers attained asylum in Austria and is living in Vienna.
What did you do back home?
I studied marketing in Aleppo, but I had to give up my studies before finishing. Aleppo is on the side of the Syrian President: my hometown was the first city to turn against Assad. So it became very dangerous for me to continue going to university. There were students from my hometown who were simply arrested and imprisoned. There is a vast spy network at the University of Aleppo. Anyone who says anything against the president is sent to prison and terrorized.
Also, the University campus was targeted in a bomb attack in which 91 students were killed.
After stopping of studies I was helping my father on the farm.
Which languages do you speak?
I speak English and Arabic.
What are your hobbies?
I ‘m a photographer and have a Facebook page for my pictures with many followers. Photography is more than a hobby. I already have a job prospect once I get asylum.
Apart from that, I really like cycling and volleyball. I was introduced to Volleyball in Austria, I really enjoy it.
What plans do you have for your future in Austria?
If I get asylum, I want to learn to speak German really well. Then I would like to work to finance a degree in solar energy. There’s been a move away from the oil-dependent energy to clean energy. I think there will be many jobs in this sector.
What would you like from the Austrian people?
I would like refugees to get support in their first steps to quickly build a life here. No more. I didn’t come here to live on welfare. I would like to be able to work as soon as possible.
Is there anything else you would like to say?
Coming here, I expected everything to be complicated and strange. But when I arrived, I met people who helped me. They didn’t care which culture I came from or what religion I have. The only thing that mattered to them was humanity.
I’ve met the best people I will ever meet in my life. I can tell them everything, confide all my secrets. They are like family to me.
What they have done for us, not even my relatives would do: they have welcomed us into their home, given us food and helped us with everything. In my home country the younger generation probably wouldn’t do something like that anymore, but my father’s generation might.
From mid-September Samer will attend an A2 German course.