Building tomorrow’s tech society with cultural diversity.

2hearts is a diverse community of people with immigration backgrounds in Europe’s tech industry. We provide mentorship for young talent and support each other to overcome cultural challenges and succeed in our professions.

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MANTRA: WHAT UNITES US

We have 2hearts.

We have parents or grandparents who immigrated into the country we grew up in.

Or we immigrated ourselves when we were young.

We grew up within at least 2 cultures.

We know the clash of cultures. We’ve been there.

Some of us struggled to find our place: Being a stranger in the countries we grew up, being a stranger in the countries of our parents and grandparents.

But we learned to appreciate what we have.

We learned to recognize how gifted we are.

We have 2 hearts.

We have 2 souls.

We have 2 cultures.

We have 2 perspectives in which we see and live the world.

We sometimes start one step behind, but we end 2 steps ahead.

We embrace our immigration backgrounds and diversity.

We have 2 hearts.

Or more.

Changing Perspectives

For many of us, 2hearts can mean: feeling lost between 2 (or more) cultures to embracing our 2 (or more) hearts and cultural gifts.

In other words: One of the biggest personal development journeys of our entire life.

Lost

Gifted

WHY: OUR MISSION

Empowering great talent with an immigration background
to enrich Europe’s tech economy

We want to enable young talent with (at least) two hearts to get into and build careers in tech, overcome obstacles, thrive as professionals, founders, or investors, and increase the share of culturally diverse people in Europe’s tech industry.

2hearts was founded on three mission pillars:

01

Mentor and guide underprivileged, young talents

02

Break silos, be a beachhead between cultures, facilitate mutual integration and understanding

03

Connect with and help each other – from business to private life

WHAT: our work

Our work is based on four impact areas:

Community Platform

Our Slack Community is our peer-to-peer platform: Here, we get to know each other, ask questions, get support, discuss, learn exciting new things, talk about culture, tech, have a lot of fun – and organize regional meet-up events.

Mentorship Program

More than 100 experienced mentors support students and young professionals with immigration backgrounds in their personal development: the focus includes how to build a successful career in tech, how to found a startup and raise money, how to overcome cultural challenges, etc.

Communication & Public Relations

We publicly share our members’ stories, raise awareness of cultural challenges as well as opportunities in present role models that show the young generation they can achieve everything in the tech industry, no matter what their background is.

Advocacy & Public Affairs

We connect with various other interest groups, politicians, corporations and everyone who is open and willing to get into a conversation and build a partnership with people with immigration backgrounds in European tech.

who: the people behind
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Founders

Four friends initially came together to found 2hearts, driven by their own experiences and challenges as 2nd and 3rd generation immigrants.

Iskender

Dirik

Managing Director & General Manager Samsung Next Europe
-
Samsung NEXT

Oktay

Erciyaz

Investor, Senior Advisor, Consultant
-

Min-Sung Sean

Kim

Managing Partner
-
Digital Health Ventures

Gülsah

Wilke

COO
-
Ada Health

Core Members

2hearts’ Management Team: Top founders, investors, and tech executives with 2nd and 3rd generation immigration backgrounds steering the 2hearts ship.

Chiara

Sommer

Investment Director
-
Intel Capital EMEA

Jonathan

Teklu

Entrepreneur & Investor
-
Teklu Holding

Thuy Ngan

Trinh

CMO
-
Project A

Gleb

Tritus

Managing Director
-
Lufthansa Innovation Hub

Richy

Ugwu

Entrepreneur & Venture Builder
-
Intersport Group

Chanyu

Xu

CEO & Founder
-
her1 GmbH

Ambassadors

Renowned and successful profiles (with and without immigration backgrounds) supporting our cause.

Jörg

Binnenbrücker

Founding Partner
-
Capnamic Ventures

Zoé

Fabian

Managing Director
-
Eurazeo

Ushananthan

Ganeshananthan

Partner / Consulting - Head of Cloud Consulting Services
-
KPMG

Ulrike

Handel

CEO
-
dentsu international

Hakan

Lucius

Head of Corporate Responsibility and Civil Society Division
-
European Investment Bank

Gesa

Miczaika

Partner
-
Auxxo Beteiligungen GmbH

Christian

Miele

Partner & President at German Startups Association
-
e.Ventures

Yaman

Pürsün

Partner Audit
-
KPMG

Wigan

Salazar

CEO
-
MSL Group Germany

Christian

Vollmann

Chairman of the Board
-
Nebenan.de

Gökhan

Öztürk

Senior Partner & Frankfurt Office Leader
-
Oliver Wyman Group

Community Team

The operational support group managing our Slack community.

Iskender

Dirik

Managing Director & General Manager Samsung Next Europe
-
Samsung NEXT

Ha

Duong

Principal
-
Cambrial Capital

Matthaus

Krzykowski

VP Platform
-
Tenjin

Jennifer

Phan

Investment Manager
-
BtoV

Ziaf

Rehman

Growth Equity Associate Intern
-
Digital+ Partners

Yasemin

Sezer

Business Development
-
Cartier

Tahir

Simsek

Customer Success Manager
-
Microsoft

Mentorship Team

The working group responsible for our Mentorship program.

Mey

Cezairli

Investment Manager
-
Project A

Sophie

Chung

CEO & Founder
-
Qunomedical

Omiros

Grigoreas

Marketing Communications Manager
-
hubraum

Ali

Gündüz

Data Engineering & Analytics
-
Deloitte

Oskar

Hasinski

Executive Director
-
Scope Group

Min-Sung Sean

Kim

Managing Partner
-
Digital Health Ventures

Communications/PR Team

Our team for everything related to communications.

Onur

Can

Senior Investment Manager
-
APX

Judith

Dada

Partner
-
La Famiglia

Nergiz

Günel

Product Manager Central Europe
-
Visa

Farisa

Magazieva

Sales Intern
-
VAHA

Constanze

Osei

Head of Society & Innovation Policy
-
Facebook

Gleb

Tritus

Managing Director
-
Lufthansa Innovation Hub

Gülsah

Wilke

COO
-
Ada Health

Community

And most importantly: hundreds of beautiful community members (from students and young professionals to senior tech executives, founders, and investors) representing more than 110 hearts = nations.

QUOTES: STORIES THAT MOVE

What our members say about 2hearts

Iris Liliana Bleck

Co-Founder and CEO
-
FintechX GmbH

2hearts is a place where you can honor your heritage, give back to a community where everyone sometimes has to carry the weight of not fitting in and tap into a source of knowledge and experience of a very energetic crowd.

Nikbin Rohany

CEO
-
Shore

2hearts is the community that I would have wished for when starting my career as an entrepreneur. A group of open and like minded people facing similar obstacles in life and being open to support each other

Dinah Schmechel

Co-Founder & CEO
-
Themis Digital

2hearts is the place, where you are finally not the „only one“ in the room anymore

Chiedza Muguti

Head of Product
-
Penta

Join 2hearts, believe me, there is much treasure waiting for you on the other side. There is something very special about being a part of a community where you can bring your whole self and feel right at home when you are so far away from home. This is what 2hearts feels like to me. I am surrounded by people whose stories have many parallels with mine and it is comforting and enriching to hear how they have navigated this through the course of their lives and careers. I have spent half of my life away from my beautiful home country (Zimbabwe) and on many occasions, I have asked myself if over time, I am becoming a mesh of cultures and what that means for my identity. It is a known fact that to thrive in a place, you need to adapt to an extent. What is most important is that adapting does not mean you have to let go of your core identity or completely sacrifice your culture to feel accepted and included. I joined 2hearts because it is wonderful to be encircled by people who have similar backgrounds to me. It feels safe; welcoming and inspiring. Representation is also extremely important to me and I am eager to connect with and show young people with 2hearts that it is indeed a gift and use it as a driving force and not something to limit their success. I am also happy to connect with fellow professionals to share experiences and exchange ideas. I cannot thank the founding team and core members enough for creating and fostering this richly diverse community. For any organisation that wants to understand what equity; diversity and inclusion looks like - look no further than 2hearts. I feel seen; I feel heard, I feel completely accepted and I feel that what I say and think absolutely matters ❤️❤️

Tarik El Bouyahyan

Co-Founder
-
LuBu

2hearts is a one of a kind community. I've never been part of a community that inspired me so much - both professionally and personally. It's not only a network of super interesting people with very diverse professional and "ethnical" backgrounds. It is also a community in which I myself discover many new and fascinating aspects of my identity and how many people share these.

Farisa Magazieva

Sales Intern
-
VAHA

Joining 2hearts is like becoming part of a huge, supportive family! I have never been part of a community with so many diverse, like-minded, inspirational, and ambitious people who are willing to make the world a better place. Being part of 2hearts has helped me connect with and learn from some of the most inspirational people in the industry. When I first met community members in person, I realized how incredibly lucky I was to be in the right place at the right time and how this is just the start of something really big.❤️❤️

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Tolga Ermis

CEO & Founder
-
promiseQ GmbH

I was a misfit my whole life. It started with elementary school where I scored very high grades and the teacher still didn't want to send me to the "Gymnasium" (best of the secondary schools) and tried hard to convince my parents not to. My mum believed in me and still send me to the best school in town (Thanks, mum!). I graduated without problems. Still, I never really had the feeling of belonging there. Maybe because of phrases like "Oh, the turk has the best grade. What a surprise" from my math teacher. I was just the odd Turkish kid who was good at math and sciences. All the while, my friends from my neighborhood were thinking "the wanna be German going to the Gymnasium". I didn't really fit in both worlds. So, when I went to university to study engineering, I subconsciously decided to ignore my heritage and definitely not to befriend anyone with Turkish background anymore. It went even so far, that I said I was allergic when offered pork (I am muslim and back then not vegan yet). That worked fine- I travelled the world. I lived in LA, China and Tokyo. I worked in autonomous driving and recently founded my own company. I always felt something is missing, though. Only when I first heard of 2hearts and finally met many of them during the first event, I felt among my peers. We don't need to chose, we can have 2 hearts, be proud of both and still achieve great things. I am still on my way and there are, for the first time, truly amazing people that have a similar background as me and I can look up to and learn from! Thank you, 2hearts!

Alina Bassi

Co-Founder
-
Kleiderly and Founderland

Connecting with individuals from similar backgrounds through 2hearts has been empowering. I am incredibly grateful to be part of such a diverse community where I feel like I belong.

Barbara Buchalik

COO
-
Stealth-Mode FinTech Startup

The 2hearts community guarantees goosebumps moments - Never before have I felt so inspired by the stories of others.

Alina Gegamova

Head of Communication
-
LETA Capital

I adore communities where your personality and cultural background are valued. I think people should be united in communities based on respect for their differences as well as similarities—2hearts is definitely about that!

Ray Farid

Startup Program Manager Central Europe (D-A-CH)
-
OVHcloud

2hearts means giving back, raising awareness about multiculturalism with our stories and empowering the tech ecosystem. It is an amazing, open-minded and genuine community of like-minded people, where you instantly feel a common connection and energy as we have all faced similar challenges. I have met many great and inspiring people at 2hearts and would definitely recommend joining! :)

Donika Pirraku

INFOMOTION GmbH
-
Donika Pirraku

The 2hearts community is more than just about networking. The various and diverse backgrounds make you realize that everyone has a place in this world and that you should give your best to find it. Having a supporting and like-minded network in this process is the cherry on the top. :-)

Peyman Pouryekta

CEO
-
Pouryekta UG

It is a diverse group of people who have grown up in different cultures. This makes everyone unique and unites them. Understanding different cultures enables to mediate and move between these cultures and is their strength. The community members support each other on all kinds of issues.

Michelle Olschewski

Chief Operating Officer
-
Vivira Health Lab

With 2hearts I found a supporting and exciting family that welcomes cultural diversity - a community I can really identify with.

Can Asal

Co-Founder / CCO
-
Non Nocere UG

The diversity in the German business world is slowly increasing…but way too slow! I believe that the 2hearts community will fasten that process and I love to be part of it. The community is very diverse and extremely supportive. And having something in common makes it very easy to connect quickly and empower each other.

Oezer Kopdur

Head of Investment Network
-
CyberForum e.V

To see and feel how others have walked the path just as I did as a guest worker child, has encouraged me to support people with a migration background. 2Hearts supports tech founders with a migration background and is at their side with a lot of experienced serial founders and experts. Help is provided here in an uncomplicated, direct manner and without expectations. The future is colorful and diverse and that's why I support 2Hearts.

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Jamshed Omary

Co-Founder
-
naturefit e.V.

2hearts is not just a community it is a family and makes me feel at home. I don't feel like a stranger anymore and I can be who I want to be. I can talk about things and ask questions that I can't ask anyone else. Apart from that 2hearts gives me role models that I can look up to and who are accessible to me.Through 2hearts I have made many good friends and found mentors who gives me regular mentorship and helps me with tough decisions. Germany need initiatives that help young people from underprivileged backgrounds for educational and equal opportunities. I am proud to be part of this unique community and can recommend it to everyone. #WeAreOneBigFamily

Nelly Strohmer

Founder
-
Talent Garden Agency

1) It means connecting and positively identifying myself with 2 or more cultures. Who knows where I will go next?2) 2hearts is a great community because it goes beyond creating a space for like-minded people, it lifts and empowers INCLUSION as a solution in the long-term plan. I see it as more than increasing diversity in tech, to be honest.3) I cannot put a value on the sense of belonging I get here at the moment. In the end, the value for me is that a) I am not alone and b) a reminder that we are capable of great things. Diverse Talent that succeeds in Tech seems so far away from me that the community reminds me that we might not have had all the privileges but we can succeed. I am anchoring myself on this as I usually suffer from the pressure to overperform just to match my peers or be visible where I go.4) Senior Talent in tech that are approachable, a safe place to shoot my doubts, people willing to help, the idea that every contribution is important - there is no small help <3 5) a) so they can feel they belong; b) learn from others; c) so they can learn that they can also contribute, regardless of their seniority.

Orhan Yildirim

Specialist Regulatory Reporting / Business Analyst / Project Manager
-
DekaBank

2hearts brings people with different cultural backgrounds together to unleash their own potential in the european tech sector. It is great to have role models and mentors who are at your side for advice and support to develop your skillset

Markus Demirci

Founder & CEO
-
mPocket

I look back admiring my parents for taking the risk and starting from scratch not speaking nor understanding a word.Today our parents courage has lead to a 2hearts community of highly skilled professionals and amazing human beings who shape the world for the better.Thank you 2hearts for creating a home for great talent with immigration backgrounds so that more amazing ideas will come to life.

Ulrike Handel

CEO
-
dentsu Germany & DACH

As one of the first Ambassadors and without migration background, I am supporting this wonderful and fast growing community with all my experience and my network in order to help building a better and more diverse society and tech industry!

Joon Kang

Product Development
-
SKC Investment

It's great to be in a community that gathers people with an immigration background within the tech community. It's a testimony to not only to our parents, but also to the tech-community that diversity is important to accelerate the tech world. I am very grateful to have met such like-minded people.

Parham Tavakoli

Manager Inhouse Consulting
-
Commerz Business Consulting

2hearts brings together an impressive community of openminded and helpful high potentials, whose existence I was not aware of. As a german with iranian background and currently developing in finance and innovation, I know the added value that a multi-cultural mind can bring personally and to every solution development. While adapting to 2 cultures might seem like a struggle, I figured it actually represents a unique gift and this is exactly what the people of 2hearts are leveraging in the community. I just can’t think of anything better than helping others find out that it is possible to have the best of both worlds.

Rajarshi Chakraborty

Ecosystem designer
-
Erasmus Centre for Data Analytics, Erasmus University

Being originally from India, growing up in Ukraine and UAE and now living in the Netherlands, 2hearths was exactly what I was looking for. It is a community that not only unites based on a shared background, but also based on a common vision and set of values. That is what makes this community so impactful

Yasemin Sezer

BizDev
-
Cartier

When I first heard about 2hearts, I thought ''I think I was unconsciously waiting for a community like this maybe my entire life!''. I was lucky enough to listen to the first clubhouse talk and when I heard the co-founders speaking I thought ''WOW, I feel everything that these people are saying to the core of my heart!'' Long story short: I ended up being one of the first mentee's and feel so incredibly honoured to be able to actively support 2hearts because this community is the home I was looking for such a long time! The co-founders and core members of this community demonstrate that anything is possible. That we too can make it to the top without suppressing our diversity; on the contrary: using our diversity as a leverage. Last but not least: I believe 2hearts is a remarkable magnet for kind, generous, and golden hearts!

Some member stories from applications we received:

Anonymized

My childhood was very difficult. My father died from cancer when I was 4, so I was raised by my mother alone who worked full-time and didn't speak German well.

Therefore she was not able to help me with homework at school or had attention for my emotional needs. I also had a huge cultural gap, as I was raised Muslim in a small-town going to a protestant Kindergarten. I struggled a lot fitting into both Arabic and German culture, as both identities can be very much in conflict.

As a teenager it was hard to feel normal, when I was not allowed to meet in mixed gender groups, wear a bikini, have a boyfriend, drink or be outside the house past 18 o'clock.

I fought hard to gain independence and had big fallouts with most of my family members. My family migrated fleeing the Iraq-Iran war and later more family came after the US invaded Iraq.

My father came to Germany even earlier, because he received a scholarship to study engineering but was then exiled from Iraq for not returning to work there.

Later in life both of my parents became successful entrepreneurs and most of my family members in Germany and Europe went into higher education.

I'm proud for their hard work, resilience and strong family values. I'm also proud of my dual heritage that helps me transcends normative ideas of being.

Anonymized

My parents immigrated from China to Germany in the 1980s because my father received a scholarship by the Chinese government to study in Germany. He later was given the option to stay in Germany for the long term and he decided to do so. My childhood was definitely largely influenced by the fact that I was raised bilingually and with two cultures.

I often faced the challenge of not really knowing where I belonged too and feeling like an outsider. It was later during my time as a university student that I got to know a lot more people who were in the same or similar situation, and I also learned to fully see my multicultural background as an amazing privilege - you literally get to experience the best of both worlds!

Anonymized

“You will have to work twice as hard to get half as far." This is a sentence I grew up with and I know for a fact that I'm not the only child of immigrants that was told this exact sentence. I remember my childhood in a conflicting ways:

Raised by my single Moroccan mom, who left Morocco as a 21 year old young woman, and my older sister, I never really realized that I was different and grew up carefree. That changed when I entered elementary school. I remember so many memories of where my teachers believed I wasn’t “Worthy” enough and shouldn’t visit the Gymnasium although I was best in class.

This judgement went so far that I began hating myself and my heritage when I became a teenager. I refused to speak Arabic and did not want anyone to visit our home, since I lived in a neighbourhood with a high percentage of people with Arab heritage. I was ashamed and wholeheartedly believed I needed to be as “German” as possible to be successful.. back then I didn’t even know how to define what “being German” looks like.

This identity crisis is something you will most likely know as well, because today I know that I’m not alone. Today I do not only accept my heritage but I embrace it simultaneously to what I define as me being German.

I still face challenges today like not being taken seriously, being continuously underestimated just to be told that my German is “amazing” when I participate in panel discussions and finally being told I’m too loud, when demanding change.

These are all challenges most children with a migration history know well, the only addition in my case is that I wasn’t only raised by a single mom but I grew up with an absent Iraqi father, who’s (politically known) last name closed many doors for me (and also for him).

Anonymized

Born in Germany, a child of Turkish parents, I was raised Turkish at home, German at school, globally after my high school graduation. Rather than linguistic and cultural challenges as have been faced by my grandparents or parents, the challenge for me was the question of belonging.

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Anonymized

During my childhood, I experienced the rapid raise of China. The first time I was exposed to another culture was the age of 16, when I lived one year in a village of 60 people in former Easter Germany. Naturally, lots of misunderstandings and prejudiced occurred at that little German village. Later, i finished my undergrad in New York and Masters in Munich. I am a first generation immigrant, and obviously, a lot of challenges came with it. In the early years, a lot of it had to do with the clash of cultures, overcoming language barriers and homesickness. During college, it transcended into finding my self-identity and who I am. Right now, during my career, the focus is more about finding my voice, preserving my authenticity.

Anonymized

Metaphorically, I have 3 hearts beating in my body and soul: My mother being Chinese (from Shanghai) and my father being half German, half Syrian. The story behind how they both met is the most intriguing: they were both in Germany learning the language at Goethe Institute - my dad as he was having an identity crisis and wanted to learn German next to Arabic so he could talk to his German side of the family. My mother being a very "unconvential Chinese" for her generation vehemently refusing to marry one of the Chinese men introduced to her by my Grandfather.

In his picture, no other man of another nation shall have the hand of his first daughter. The pressure was so strong, my Mum decided to run away and met and fell in love with my father in Germany.

I grew up going to the Mosque with my father and family members of his family, to the Church with family members of my Mum (excluding my Grandfather as he never accepted me). Though born in Germany, I was raised in Hong Kong, but came to Germany with my Mum without being able to speak German - I first had to learn the language and the culture, fueling my identity crisis even more - at first never mentioning my family background, being afraid of exclusion.

Now, at 30 years of age, I happily tell everyone my story and stand to my multiple cultural background with all it's beauties and difficulties.

Anonymized

Two hearts: I call myself Germoraqui because there are three hearts beating inside of me. I was born and raised in Germany (Germ :de:) My mom is Moroccan (mor :flagge-ma:) and my baba is Iraqi (aqui :flagge-iq:). You can imagine the kind of identity crisis I’ve had to deal with as a youngster.

Anonymized

I was raised as the oldest daughter of Turkish immigrants. Even though my parents have been living in Germany since their youth, they never had the chance to go and graduate from a German school. Their job was to earn money to enable their children to do what they never could. Being the first one, my father always dreamed of his little girl graduating from college someday. He couldn’t help me with my homework but he was supporting me mentally every day in my life. He knew nothing about the periodic table but worked overtime shifts to afford toys for me and my 3 siblings.

Growing up I’ve never realized how much my parents did for us. But on the contrary: I was mad at them for raising me in Germany. The cultural differences started to gnaw on my self esteem. I gave my best to make my parents proud, to make myself proud but I would never fit into the picture. I would never think or behave as the others, I would never be like the others. I used to live in a small town where not many migrants lived so I always felt different. I tried to assimilate. But it wouldn’t work. I was always torn between two cultures, identified myself as a broken, hybrid character. Only as I began to study and matured I could finally find my true identity and accept myself as a person with two backgrounds. Now I am able to see the bigger picture and how precious and valuable my cultural diversity, my 2 hearts are. And thus I thank my parents every day for what they have done for me.

Anonymized

The first language I learnt to speak & read was Russian, only when I started to go to the Kinder garden I came in contact with the German language. I was always told off when I would be speaking Russian to my friend Viktor. Nowadays it's the other way around, my mum is always telling me off for not speaking Russian to her, but rather German. It felt like, when growing up, you had to hide that something was different. Hide the accent, hide the language, hide the culture.. but there was no way of hiding the name. Today I can accept that there are two cultures combined in me. But every now and then there are awkward questions after hearing the name: "And where are you really from?", "Your German is really good", etc.

Anonymized

During my childhood I experienced everyday-racism. My classmates made fun of me, the teachers didn't intervene and I grew with the perception that I will always be different. At first it was about my appearance. They called me "chinky eyes". Later they confronted me with "eating cats and dogs" and political issues, where they gave me no room to speak up my mind. One of the biggest challenges I faced was when I realized how my surroundings made me lose my voice. I was disinterested in politics and history, I felt misunderstood. I had identity issues - I didn't know where I belonged. My parents were the first ones and they had the opportunity to go abroad for economical reasons.

Anonymized

I was born in Iran and came to Germany together with my parents and two older sisters when I was 5 years old. We came to Germany as refugees so when thinking about my childhood I mainly think about the pain that my parents went through and the hard times we as a whole family went through.

Most of the struggles we faced were financial matters, the feeling of not belonging and being different as well as insecurities about whether we can stay in Germany. For 10 years our family didn’t have a German nor an Iranian passport so we always had to stay in that small village the authorities had placed us. For me the hardest challenge was however to see how my parents would be treated. I remember at some point the government didn’t give us financial aid in terms of cash but they gave us a piece of paper saying „this is for socially disadvantaged people. You are only allowed to buy groceries.“ I always caught how my father would feel ashamed to go to the grocery market because he felt like his identity was taken away.

Watching things like this in my childhood gave me the fearless energy to work hard for the future of my parents and my family.

Anonymized

Always seeking to belong somewhere.” Due to the civil war in Albania, we were forced to leave everything my family had built to seek safety. I was 6 at the time and had to be separated from my parents to reach EU, as we could not get visas as a whole family.

We did find safety, but we were not welcome. Got placed in immigrant neighborhoods, not allowed to work. Then came the constant terrifying fear of being sent back. Asylum got rejected, moved to Norway. Same experience, different country. Outsider. Immigrant. Norway did not keep us either. Got sent back again with 0 money in our bank accounts. Expected to feel welcome in Albania, but I was no longer really much of an Albanian. I had spent 15 years on a foreign country and now I had to catch up on 15 years of school material to be able to get educated.

But we stuck together as a family. Crazy corruption, toxic mentality against girls, poverty did not stop me from studying. Eventually I applied to come to Germany. Tried every program until I found the way. Worked as a waitress, tutor, call center agent. Got bullied for my bad German in university. Yet that didn’t stop me from daring to speak german. I got so good that even my German neighbors were complimenting me on my German, until I realized that it is not much of a compliment. I quit my job, started my own thing with incredible people, yet many people still try to intimidate me by telling me that it is hard to get successful since I do not have connections or anything else. I am here to prove that you can have had a crazy childhood, be poor, risk your life, barely make it to study, come to a country completely alone with no help and still make it.

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Anonymized

My grandfather (paternal) was the typical guest worker from Turkey and thus the first ever of our family to travel outside Turkey. His goal was actually only a small time to earn money in Germany and then return back to Turkey. But it came differently and has recognized that he can offer a quite better future, education and security to his children in Germany, than in central Turkey. So he packed up his wife and children (my father and 3 aunts) and emigrated to Germany. My father completed his education here and met my mother in Turkey and decided with her that they wanted to start their family in Germany. The rest of the family (grandparents and aunts) immigrated back to Turkey. My childhood and especially my school years were always marked by the sentence of my parents: "You always have to be better, faster and more diligent than the others (Germans), because you are a foreigner."

This sentence was burned into my brain and I drew my motivation from it even in the worst times. I am proud to say that I am the first in our family to graduate from high school with a bachelor's degree and soon to graduate with a master's degree. I feel torn between two worlds - Turkish background and life in Germany. My mother doesn't really speak German and my Turkish is unfortunately disappearing more and more. I dream of a world where we compete on who helps and supports society the most and everyone has equal opportunities and open doors in front of them.

Anonymized

I grew up in Hamburg as the youngest son of three children. My father did hard physical work in a factory and my mother worked as a cleaner. My father was the first in our family to come to Germany as a guest worker at the age of 25 and worked in the same factory until he retired. 10 years later my mother moved in.

Childhood was marked by financial insecurity. We couldn't afford many leisure activities, not to mention homework help. There was also a lack of strong role models in my life. I didn't know what I wanted to do for a job until I graduated from high school. I couldn't really talk to anyone about it either. My brothers didn't study at a university, and my parents only attended secondary school. I couldn't talk to anyone about my plans to study.

I was always diligent in school and had good grades, but never worked towards a concrete goal, for example to study medicine. I just liked the school and the environment. Soon I started to give free tutoring to my friends, because I saw that they lived in similar family and financial conditions. It was difficult for me in high school to be the only migrant with a strange sounding name in the class. That was when I realized the most that I was different. It was very difficult for me to be seen as a German in Tunisia and as a Tunisian in Germany.The lack of a sense of belonging also led to a lack of self-confidence in my own performanc

Anonymized

Unfortunately, my childhood was full of obstacles. Besides having a recommendation for the Gymnasium (German Highschool) my teachers always told me to better change to a Real- or Hauptschule. During my school time I changed schools three times. At least once it was because of clear indications against my immigration background. Fortunately, the school's liaison teacher drew our attention to this fact, besides other comments from teachers towards me like “what is it with this little Turkish kid?”. My parents being from Iran, this comment showed us that everyone was clearly just “the same” in their eyes.

I was mostly one of the few school kids with an immigration background - especially from the Middle East. Thanks to my parents and their immense efforts of talking with the school directors and always teaching me that I am not “different” than others, I gained enough confidence during my last years of school to successfully complete my degree and start studying. My parents themselves are from Iran. They grew up in Tehran and Mashad. During the 1979 islamic revolution in Iran my parents stayed in Germany (bc of political reasons) and thus enabled me and my brother the life we have now (with all the possibilities and obstacles).

Anonymized

I was born in 1989 in Dresden. My Syrian father was a doctoral candidate, who was given the chance to study abroad in the former GDR. He met my mother, who is the daughter of a Greek refugee, during their studies. Together they decided to leave the GDR and emigrate to Syria right after I was born. The next 4 years we spent in Damaskus and I didn’t know anything about my German roots. But when the Berlin Wall came down, my father was approached to move back to Germany and help to build up the economy. So, me, my two siblings and my parents became Germans the second time. I spend most of my life in Dresden and my holidays in Syria. Only a few times we visited our family in Greece.

I felt like a German, but due to the fact that Eastern Germany had never experienced migration politics, I was always „the foreigner“. I remember that there were only a few Volga Germans in my grade level in school - although we were around 180 kids. I wouldn't say that I had disadvantages because of my background, but I was definitely treated differently. I experienced a lot of xenophobia and racism and at the same time solidarity and integration. Being "different" spurred me on to get involved everywhere and build relationships. I am very proud of what I achieved at a young age. And I am grateful for the experience that I was able to make precisely because of my background.

Anonymized

My parents flew from Gaza (Palestine) at the age of 18 and 22 to Stuttgart (Germany) in order to create a better life with more opportunities for their family, me and my 3 younger siblings. My mother was 19 years old when I was born in Stuttgart and my father was working hard next to his studies to build up something. I was one of the only kids in school with a migration background. Due to the fact my mother could and did only speak arabic at home, I had difficulties later learning German in kindergarden and school. Hard lessons in life as a German with a migration background taught me to always work harder than the others to get the same results. Moreover, I haven't always had the same opportunities as other friends or kids in school, because we haven't had enough money or connections to do the same. However in general I am really grateful that my parents came to Germany and gave us the opportunities to get proper education and teach us that nothing in life is for granted.

Anonymized

My heritage is much connected to colonialism and ww2. my grandma (100% indonesian) was left pregnant cause of racist parents reason from my real granddad. my mum then was raised in holland by her "dad" which she only found out early 20ties that he is not. my fathers side is 50% slesia farm people fleeing and on the move meeting a berlin grandfather and then the whole family coming to munich. as child it was quite weird being in germany since my mum always was quite anti-german (all nazis etc.) and my granddad was a real nazi (young, scientist for the nazis). so at the age of 8 i wanted to visit the KZ in dachau and i always understood that i am different. i was "lucky" though that i didn't look different and if kids heard indonesia they didn't make jokes since they just didn't know what it is. out of all this melange my family was always active in the protestant church, amnesty international and on own initiative (i basically grew up in the 80ties meeting lots of asylum seekers, guarding the kids etc). both my parents have a lifelong history of helping other (my dad is dead now but my mum still teaches languages incl. migrant kids and mums etc. from troubled families. so i still sometimes struggle with my identity, my cultural heritage and to see esp. white, male privilege happening every day.

Anonymized

In the 1970's, my parents emigrated from former Yugoslavia to Germany in order to escape poverty. They have worked their whole life in production, often in three shifts. My parents were not able to help me in school or give advice for the academic path I was striving for as they didn't have access to higher education. It was rather the other way round: Being not even a juvenile yet, I helped my parents fill out forms for authorities, such as the tax office.

I faced challenges because I have always been considered a foreigner, even though I was born in Germany. This label has always been linked to the assumption that I'm probably also not well-educated. I faced challenges because I had no academics in my family telling me to quit that job as a waiter during university and to get a working student job instead because it will be important for the entry into professional life.

Anonymized

My immigration background was characterized by being stuck between two cultures: the german (outside of my home) and turkish / muslim (inside my home). For me it was challenging to cope with both the german language and traditions (to understand as a kid why christmas, pork or alcohol is not allowed for me) ans the turkish / muslim language and traditions such as going to the koran school for 5 years and learning about my religion (on the weekends) while being in a predominantly christ background (in the week). The first one migrating was my grandfather back in the late 60s to the city of rüsselsheim in hessen because at that time the car manufacturer opel offered assembly line jobs to the migrants, which came from asia to europe at that time. One story which he told me was because his place where he lived (with several other man) was 40 mins away from the opel factory and he was afraid that the would be late to his first shifts, which would get him fired, he slept on a bench in the nearby woods for 2 weeks and showered at a nearby asylum home and only ate at the factory, which at that time they offered free lunch for all the workers in the in-house canteen. From him I learned attributes like endurance, discipline, persistence and motivation in general to focus on your dreams and just work towards your goals.

Anonymized

My father is an African-American ex-military man who met my mother in Germany. I was born in the US, but grew up in a small town in Germany. Fitting in, or rather finding myself with all the foreign imagery projected on me without a peer-group was complicated and is an ongoing project. It has been trying at times, but also enriching. I also think this 2-heartedness makes you open and helps you see life from different perspectives and have an authentic understanding of the different foundations on which people live their lives.

Anonymized

My parents, my brother and I were one of the first from our family to immigrate. We came to Germany as so-called "Kontingenzflüchtlinge" for economic reasons. This is because then, Jewish people had the chance to move to Germany. Language was less of a problem for me as it was for my parents and I adapted it quickly. The toughest challenge for me was, and still is, the problem of personal identity and belonging.

Anonymized

My parents came to Germany during the war in former Jugoslawia. Even though being born and raised here, I soon realized that I was born between two countries and ultimately two mentalities. For me this means the urge to integrate into German society without neglecting my parents cultural background. A challenge I have not figured out yet and assume that will accompany me my whole life.

Anonymized

When I was little, my parents left everything behind and moved from Ukraine to Germany. Growing up in refugee housing and seeing my parents start from scratch. These experiences are my anchor and inner drive.

It took me some time to realize how blessed I’m to have 2hearts. Many of you probably know this feeling... whenever I visited Ukraine I was “the German kid” but over here I was the “Ausländer” from Ukraine. Ironically, I had to leave Germany and live 6 years in Philadelphia to learn to be proud of my 2 hearts.

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Anonymized

Both of my parents were born and raised in Afghanistan. They had to leave their home country due the still ongoing civil war. In the 1990s, they immigrated to Germany where my sister and I were born (Berlin/Hamburg). I had a great childhood, my parents were able to offer me most of the opportunities and privileges that German children enjoyed. The main challenge of my childhood consisted in a lack of identification/cultural belonging. It took me many years to realize that my cultural background/duality is a great gift and strength, which is also the reason why I am highly motivated to join your initiative.

Anonymized

(...) I think my challenges were to accept that I am different and to be very proud of that, I see it as a total enrichment, I am as German as I am Japanese. Finding your identity is a struggle in every person’s life but finding your identity within several cultures and being accepted is challenging in a different way. And I am glad that growing up like that taught me to be very open and curious with other cultures and mixed backgrounds.

Anonymized

My mother came to Germany with my father when I was born. I grew up between two very different cultures trying to grasp why I was different from other kids in my childhood in Germany. When I moved to Spain at the age of 10 I had to completely rewire my cultural understanding from a German to a Spanish perspective. This has helped me to be open towards and curious about new cultures and has probably also influenced why I have lived in 6 different countries by the age of 24.

Anonymized

(...) So, I dropped out of my studies in Egypt, moved to Germany, learnt German and then joined a Germany university. Honestly, my main challenge here as a first generation immigrant was getting used to what is known here as „Sozialkälte“. I still remember trying to get along with other students during the orientation week and being surprised by some of the reactions. Also, getting used to the fact that many things that could be considered „rude“ in other cultures are seen differently here.

However, after 6 years here now I think I managed to adjust myself to the new culture, formed what I hope would be life long friendships and unexpectedly while writing these words I just noticed that I actually do not know how „adult life“ is except here in Germany. Here is the place where I signed my first contracts, got my first job, became independent, all things which I have never done back home :‘) so in a sense life here made me who I am.

Anonymized

I grew up in a loving single mother household with two incredible siblings in a very frustrating and depressing German suburb with nor relatable role models of color and couldn't wait to leave this city. My mother is German, my dad is from Tschad, he studied in Belgium and achieved his PhD in Germany where my parents met at the university.

Anonymized

My parents migrated to Germany in the end-60s, mostly for economic reasons and to escape their conservative and abusive families. I was raised as “Gastarbeiterkind” in a small Germany city during the late 70 and 80s. I grew up in a challenging environment with parents who were hard-working but were not very educated and didn’t speak the local language very well. I had to balance the cultural clashes at home with the clashes of the outside world, and grew up with a confused and diffuse set of values and beliefs. In addition there was a strong pressure to integrate into the German society and to outperform everyone and everything in order to prove the notions people had about my background (and gender) wrong.

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Intrigued? Apply now to join the most culturally diverse community in tech:

You are in our core focus groups if you have a 2nd or 3rd generation immigration background or emigrated to another country in your young years. In other words: You have at least two nations/cultures you could (or want to) identify with.

The term “Third Culture Kid” (TCK) and its definition describes our focus well. Having exposure to multiple cultures during your formative or developmental years resonates well with our community focus and background.

In addition, you should already be part of the European tech industry or have a strong motivation to move into tech. 2hearts is all about immigration backgrounds in tech and enriching the tech industry with cultural diversity.

We are also super happy about experienced professionals from the tech scene without immigration backgrounds who want to support our cause as mentors.

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