35-year-old Almedin Mujezinovic comes from Bosnia and Herzegovina and now works as a bus driver for Jena’s local public transport. Mr Mujezinovic and his wife made the decision to come to Germany back in 2018, but the process took a long time.
In the interview, he talks about the reason for his move to Jena, describes his path to the employment contract and explains how he copes with the Thuringian dialect.
Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to Jena.
Our family did not choose Germany as our new home by chance. When there was war in Bosnia in 1992, I fled with my parents to Austria as a child. We lived there for four years and I went to school and learned the German language. After the war, our family went back home and we had a normal life in Bosnia. But the economic and political situation was very bad. And that is also the reason why we moved to Germany. For almost 30 years, nothing changed. But I decided with my family to change something. I had not lost my language skills. Even during my time as a professional driver, I was regularly in Germany delivering furniture from Bosnia.
I am a trained professional driver and traffic technician and have years of experience in this field. When driving a truck, however, you are always alone, which is why I swapped the truck driver’s seat for the bus steering wheel from 2017. Working for Sarajevo Municipal Transport also allowed me to spend more time with my family.
Driving a bus in the city is therefore not new to me, but the working conditions are much better here in Jena and there are better vehicles. Sarajevo is the bigger city, but Jena has the bigger tram network. The local transport here is the best.
In Bosnia we didn’t have as much economic security as here. That’s why we couldn’t make any plans. For us it is certain:
We want to stay in Jena and are very happy here. We feel at home in Jena.
How long did the whole (entry) process take? What helped you to stay confident?
That took a very long time. In September 2018, we applied to the German embassy to get an appointment in the first place. Due to the pandemic situation, we still didn’t have one in December 2020. Instead, the German embassy cancelled all applications for the current year and introduced the lottery procedure from January 2021, where you had to reapply every month. In my predicament, I finally turned to the IQ Network Thuringia in December 2020 and initially received support from the Information and Counselling Centre Recognition for Eastern Thuringia (IBAT Ost) in Jena.
It was difficult to get a work visa. With professional recognition, it was much easier to get an appointment at the embassy. Dr Minonne from IBAT helped me a lot with the application. Together with the IQ Projekt Fachinformationszentrum Einwanderung Jena and the Welcome Center Jena, my entry into Germany was made easier.
Why did you decide to take a job at Jenaer Nahverkehr (Jena Local Transport) and how was your start there?
I looked for the contact to the Jena local public transport on my own. I applied all over Germany, but the local transport in Jena left a good impression right away: they were very specific and knew exactly what was going on. After an online interview, the employer decided to hire me within a day. However, due to the Corona situation, I was not able to enter Germany for a test drive. This did not take place until a year later, in May 2021, after which I received my employment contract directly. And so it started!
My driving licence was only valid for six months in Germany, after which I had to take the theory and practical test again. But that went without a hitch.
On 3 January 2022, I drove a bus in Germany for the first time – and not as a passenger.
How did the induction work out for you and how would you describe your first days at the company?
I was not nervous before my first day at work. The colleagues were very nice, I had a good briefing and I knew the language well. There are many similarities in the German and Bosnian languages. I can get along well with the control centre and with everyone. At first I only had problems with the Thuringian dialect. But if I don’t understand something, I ask the colleague “Can you repeat that?” or “What does that word mean?”.
My colleagues at the Jena public transport company welcomed me well as a new member of the team and my employer supported us as a family in finding a place to live. I didn’t believe that such a thing existed.
In the meantime, I have also got used to the new daily routine. In Sarajevo, I only drove the night shift from 5 pm to midnight. In Jena, I work all shifts and always drive different routes. However, that doesn’t bother me because I was trained very well. In the meantime, my employer has given me the opportunity to work as a tram driver in the future.
Thank you very much for the interview and all the best for you and your family!