As foreign language courses boom, the desire to leave among Albanians increases

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times November 2, 2018 10:54

As foreign language courses boom, the desire to leave among Albanians increases

Story Highlights

  • The surveyed that wanted to leave said they don’t trust they could have a future for themselves or their children in Albania. The negative economic situation prevails as a reason for 57 percent of the surveyed, due to high unemployment, low wages, bad working conditions and malfunctioning insurances, as well as debts and high expenses as opposed to earnings.

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If a few years back everyone was learning English, the trend now in Albania is shifting to German language courses. It is estimated that the demand for learning German has been increasing with about 30 percent annually, as Germany remains the most preferred destination for Albanian migrants.

There are several reasons for this. Most Albanians, especially students, prefer to study in Germany as the country offers low education taxes and has social policies that help students with an affordable living. It has good education programs and assumed higher employment security than many other European countries. Germany comes third in the world for the number of international students, with about 190 thousand of them.

Education taxes vary per university, but there is an estimated average amounted to 500 euros per semester, while private institutions issue higher bills. There are universities which don't tax students unless their education prolongs, or if they choose a second major. The living expenses are amounted to around 6500 euros per year, but there are conveniences offered for students, such as discounts and job opportunities while studying.

While being a student-friendly country, Germany is also looking for qualified professionals in various fields, such as doctors, engineers, IT professionals, nurses, scientists, etc., and also qualified labor force, in order to eliminate the black market.

But the number one requirement, besides being a legal immigrant, is being able to communicate in German. There are language tests made for both potential students and employees to test their German language knowledge level - the TestDaf and DSH. TestDaf can be taken at the origin countries from licensed institutions, whereas DSH can only be taken in Germany.

One such institution in Albania is the Goethe Institute. Its Director Alketa Kuka confirmed the trend of demand in German language courses and the respective 30 percent rise.

"Each year this center counts around 370 groups with an average students circle that learn German, where a considerable number of them are between 12 and 15 years old,'' said Kuka.

Another teacher of German near a center claims that the number has drastically increased in the past four years, and the students learning in her center are between 25 and 40 years old. This group is either the youth that wants to conduct post-university studies in Germany, or people who learn the language for family reunification purposes.

To meet this high demand, more than 150 language centers are located in Tirana and tens of them are opening around the country. Where there is lack of these centers, German-speaking individuals have made a living offering private language lessons.

On the other hand, the German Language Dpt. of the Tirana University reports a rising number of Bachelor students studying in German. 490 freshmen are registered in the Bachelor degree annually, whereas the Master's degree quota amounts to 60 students.

"The quotas appended three years ago, considering the increased demand on the German language. It's simple, the language is being taught more in high schools, both public and private; the language centers have quickly spread, or the youth aims to work in Germany. All these reasons have turned German into a beneficial work option,'' said Mihallaq Zileshiu, professor of German at the Faculty of Foreign Languages.

 

What is happening in Albania?

 

Professors Ilir Gedeshi and Russell King recently conducted a study on the pattern and emigration desires of Albanians. Their findings point out that 52 percent of the Albanian population aged 18 to 40 want to leave the country.

More findings claim that 70 percent of returnees want to leave again, 65 percent of students want to leave the country, and a new interesting note was that along the unemployed population, 58 percent of the employed people with monthly wages of 945-1416 euros, also want to leave.

The main reason is the lack of trust and hope that Albania's situation will improve. A 36.5 percent of the population said they wanted to leave because of the country's living standards.

The surveyed that wanted to leave said they don't trust they could have a future for themselves or their children in Albania. The negative economic situation prevails as a reason for 57 percent of the surveyed, due to high unemployment, low wages, bad working conditions and malfunctioning insurances, as well as debts and high expenses as opposed to earnings.

However, the economic situation isn't the only reason at this point, with the condition having mildly become better for a portion of the population over the past few years.

Other, just as important, reasons amounted to an unsatisfying educational system, wanting to get an education abroad, for family reunifications, and lacking healthcare. A 19.4 percent of the surveyed said that Albania lacks an economic, social and political perspective.

Nevertheless, the wish to leave remains farfetched and, for many, only a desire. 33.1 percent of potential emigrants said they wanted to leave within a year, 32.1 percent within three years, a 16 percent within ten years, and an 18 percent was undecided.

Reasons for this is that most people don't know how to meander in the country of preferred migration destination, they don't possess the language or other base requirements the country demands from potential immigrants, or don't have the financial means to support their traveling expenses.

The study found that the top preferred destination of emigration for Albanians was Germany (22 percent). Asylum seekers returning to Albania have transmitted to the masses an image of Germany as a social country, in terms of education, healthcare and social protection, with great employment opportunities and high wages. Most people or returning migrants, wanted to live in Germany, and most students as well want to conduct their studies in that country.

Other Western European countries hold similar high regards from Albanians, with the United Kingdom (11 percent), followed by France (3 percent), Sweden (2.3 percent), Switzerland (2.3 percent), etc. Meanwhile, Italy (15.7 percent) and Greece (14.4 percent) although have seen declining numbers of immigrants due to a declining economy and high unemployment rates are still on demand, as the two countries have been traditionally known as friendly hosts to Albanians.

Overall 74.6 percent of the surveyed named the Western European countries as preferred destinations, 16.4 percent chose the US, 2.7 percent chose Canada, 1.3 percent chose Turkey, and 0.7 percent wished to go as far as Australia.

Germany has been a top choice for many migrants and refugees in the past few years, as the country has behaved rather welcoming to the people in need. The economy is on the rise, the politics is rather mitigating for incoming migrants and students, it has been working extensively on legal immigration policies, and it is the number one economic partner to Albania, financing multiple projects in the country, welcoming qualified professionals, and supporting our country in its path to EU integration and membership.

 

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times November 2, 2018 10:54