Look at them. Five young women from Korea. Working as certified nurses in Germany. Their steps are swift, full of energy. Their smiles are broad, overfloating with optimism. And they connect: Arm in arm they march into their future.
The German economy is booming. The factories work under full load to produce machines for export. Power plants work at their full capacity to provide the energy needed. And the hospitals are desperately looking for certified nurses. There are many old people, but too few young ones to do all the work.
The year, by the way is now: 1963.
This year Germany signed the “Anwerbeabkommen” with Korea. Soon 10.000 young women came to work as certified nurses in Germany. Along with thousands of Korean men; well educated. There was no work in Korea. So they rather worked in German mines, than to sit idle at home.
Fast forward 50 years. 2013. The future.
Oh, look at that old picture. Haven’t seen it for ages. Look how young these nurses were. How optimistic. Their faces say “Let’s go. Let’s get stuff done.”
What did become of them?
Those young nurses are long retired. They worked hard, educated themselves constantly and saved money for their dreams. They looked for opportunities with wide open eyes. And then: Took risks to get ahead. They built a good life. You can see it in their children and grandchildren.
50.000 people with Korean roots live in Germany today. They speak German as their mother tongue, go to university and are successful in business, science and government.
Their success is built on the attitude and discipline of their parents and grandparents. Their Immigrant Spirit.
Remember those young nurses from that old picture?
What made them succeed?
Optimism. They believed in their own strength to build a good life.
Vigor. They didn’t wait for permission. They had the energy to make things happen.
Courage. To avoid all risks means not to live. Those nurses took risks to get ahead.
Stamina. No pain, no gain. They carried on when times were tough, until they succeeded.
Openness. They built friendships based on values. Not heritage.
And: They give back to society. And made our lives richer.
That’s the Immigrant Spirit. Embrace it, because you are an Immigrant into this land called “future”. It will be different, challenging – but you will look back at your life with pride.
To all those certified nurses working in Germany I say “Thank you”. You give help and heart to our aging citizens. It doesn’t matter if you are Korean, German or from somewhere else.
It doesn’t matter where you came from. But where you want to go.
Embrace the Immigrant Spirit!
Share this article with your friends and help us spread the Immigrant Spirit.
Have you made the same experience?
You are well educated, you have professional experience and most important: You have drive and ambition. You want to make a contribution and build a good career.
But German employers don't value your talent. You apply for job after job. You spent hours editing your CV and cover letter to fit perfectly. And then: You don't even get an answer.
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