This Is the Place I Want to Be

Experience  Study 

Leverkusen is a small city of around 160 000 people just north of Cologne in Germany. It’s where Kezban, Mahir & Lara Bozkurt lived until just a few weeks ago - now they call the Gold Coast home. So why would this German couple in their early 40’s and their teenage daughter travel half way across the world to make a new home?

Kezban: “I’ve been a child care worker in Germany since 2001 and even though I enjoyed my job I’d get bored because I wanted to see more of the world. I have this strong desire to teach children in other parts of the world and I want to know what it’s like to live and work in other countries.”

But why Australia, and more specifically, the Gold Coast?

Mahir: “We’ve been to Australia twice before, in 2010 and 2013 and we love this country very much – the weather, people, nature and the animals. This is the best place in the world. I think this is nearly heaven!

“We went to Sydney on our first two trips to Australia, then we decided to go to Queensland because so many people said we should come and see it. So we went to Brisbane, then the Sunshine Coast and finally the Gold Coast and we decided that we like it here the best.”

Enrolling to Study

Kezban has enrolled in an English language course at TAFE and then wants to attain her credentials as a qualified English speaking childcare worker. “I’m really excited about being here and I really want to teach Australian children. Later I want to go back to Germany and tell everyone how amazing it is here. But it’s such a nice place to live that I’m not sure that we will ever want to go back!

“You have the beaches, the city and nature – everything is so close here on the Gold Coast. We’ve rented an apartment very close to TAFE and it was surprising how quickly you can find somewhere to live.”

Kezban and Mahir’s daughter Lara is 14 and they’ve enrolled her at Southport State High School. Lara’s keen to start school, but her student visa application is yet to be processed.

Mahir: “Lara’s English is very good, she’s been learning in Germany since grade 2. English is compulsory in German schools for 1 – 2 hours per week.

Feeling Right at Home

As they wait for the green light to study, the Bozkurt’s have been happily making themselves at home while soaking up all that the Gold Coast has to offer.

Kezban: “It’s a very easy place to live, everyone is so helpful. Even when I’m on the phone and my English isn’t so good, people are very understanding. I don’t feel like a foreigner here because people come from so many different places and they all make you feel at home.”

Mahir: “The amazing part for us is that we have met people from all over the world here – there are so many different cultures. People from China, France, Scandinavia… it’s wonderful. In Germany we virtually have only one language – that’s it.

“I was born in Germany and I’m 43 years old, yet I’ve never really felt at home there. The first time I came to Australia the very first thought I had was ‘this is my home.’ This is the place I want to be.”

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