Marcos' experiences:
„My choice of career has opened doors for me.“


The Colombian healthcare professional on his journey into a new life.

Marcos Berbesi Santafe is a registered nurse from Colombia. He has been living in Freiburg since April 2019 and works as a certified nurse at a renowned hospital. In an interview, he revealed what nursing means to him, why he dared to take the step abroad and what experiences he has had.

What do you love about your profession?

I love my job because I can help other people who are in a difficult situation. At the same time I have the chance to develop myself personally and professionally. My job has also given me the opportunity to do wonderful things in my life and to have great experiences like this one here in Germany.

Taking the opportunity

When, where and how long did you do the educational training?

I studied my profession at the University of Pamplona in Colomba and graduated in 2011. The study in Colombia takes ten semesters. In my opinion, it is a very good and recognised education, with which I am very satisfied.

When and where did you learn German and how was it for you to learn this language?

I started my German Intensive Course in Colombia in May 2018 and reached B1 level within four months. It was a wonderful experience to encounter such a different language. At the beginning it was difficult because I started with the language from scratch. Sometimes I thought I would never be able to learn it, but I had teachers who were very interested in teaching the language and who had a very good teaching methodology, for which I am very grateful. I also believe that the motivation to learn a language is very important. You learn something new every day and I continue to learn German independently.

How did you come to Germany?

I was selected for the TalentOrange programme for nurses and was able to travel to Germany. The team helped me with all the documentation and preparation for the recognition of my training. After I had also reached level B1 German with them, I continued the second part up to level B2 in Frankfurt before I could start working at the hospital.

Who supported you during this intensive time?

I got help from TalentOrange. Among other things, they took care of the recognition of my academic title and I received financial support for the duration of the German course. The fact that the company also took care of the payment for the course, which was very intensive, meant that I could devote 100% of my time to learning the language. My personal savings also helped me to make perparations and maintain my standard of living.

How did you hear about the TalentOrange programme?

I searched the internet for options and information about possible job opportunities abroad and came across the company. I sent my CV and was soon invited for interviews.

professionals enoying their work as nurses in Germany

Taking the step into new life

When and how was the day of departure from Colombia? How did you feel?

I travelled to Germany on 18 November 2018 and I can still remember being very excited. At the same time I was a little nervous because the new experience was just around the corner and I had some ideas and dreams. I was highly motivated and super happy to have completed the first phase of this personal project. I felt a little insecure because I didn't quite know what to expect in Germany, but I was also willing to do my best to get to know this culture and integrate myself.

How was the entry to Germany?

Fortunately the trip went very well, we were welcomed at the airport by TalentOrange and then drove straight to the place where we would be living for the next three months. The team helped us with documentation and legal procedures. At first it was a bit strange to suddenly find ourselves in such a different place far away from home. But the new impressions were great and there was so much to discover. Winter was just around the corner and everything was a little cold and dark, but soon everything was illuminated with the arrival of Christmas and I also had the opportunity to meet wonderful people who accompanied me during these first days in Germany.

How was your arrival in Germany, when was that and where do you live now?

For the first three months I lived in Frankfurt with the other colleagues in my group, and after the B2 German exam I travelled to the city of Freiburg with two other colleagues. It was a bit sad to leave the colleagues with whom I had shared almost seven months - my first time in Germany - but it was also the beginning of my new job at the hospital where I currently work.

Start over after a fresh start

How do you feel since your arrival?

I think it was a very enriching process. Not everything was easy, but every experience helped me to integrate into the culture and this new way of working. I think that the most important, but also the most difficult part of this whole process was learning the language. At the moment, I can say that I am very satisfied with the work at the hospital, where I have received all the necessary support from the staff responsible for the foreign workers. Every day you learn new things and every day is a challenge of new learning. I am also very happy to have the opportunity to get to know many places and people of different nationalities.

Are you in exchange with nursing colleagues in Colombia? If so, what knowledge do you pass on?

I have many friends in Colombia who also come from the health sector and who are interested to know what the working system is like for us here in Germany. They want to know everything about life, working conditions, culture, etc. So I opened a channel on YouTube and started to record some videos with information that could be useful for other people who, like me, are looking for life alternatives and job opportunities abroad.

What should people know about your profession?

I think that nursing is a profession that has a lot to offer and that enables people to develop fully, both personally and professionally. I am very grateful that I have chosen this profession because it has given me a lot of satisfaction.

What do you wish for the future?

I still have many goals and projects ahead of me. I hope to do a specialisation and a master's degree, but I also want to work on projects that will help other people achieve their goals. I think the future holds many more positive encounters.

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