Sergej Buragin

"It's never too late to start over."

Sergej Buragin was born in 1964 in the small town of Kineshma “in the heart of Russia, on the beautiful Volga River”, and grew up there. In Moscow, he studied electronics and then trained as an engineer.During his military service in the former Soviet army, he spent seven years as an officer stationed in Poland.

However, the disintegration of the Soviet Union at the beginning of the 90s fundamentally changed his life plans. The fixed structures that were previously considered irreversible were dissolved virtually overnight with the coup in Moscow in August 1991. The impossible suddenly seemed possible. Sergei did not hesitate and took advantage of the political upheaval in his homeland to escape.

He came to Germany and asked for asylum. For months, he lived in a refugee hostel, and started again “from ground zero”. In the end, it would take a decade until he finally received a permanent residence permit in Germany. For many years, he worked in restaurants until he had fought for the recognition of his diploma as an electronics engineer. Through his volunteer work as the founder and supervisor of the meanwhile award-winning “Jugend forscht Schüler AG” student research group, he initially came to the vocational school as a substitute teacher in his area of expertise, completed an internship and is now a fully recognized technical instructor of electrical engineering.

In addition, Sergei was engaged for many years as Chairman of the Advisory Committee on migration and integration of his adopted hometown of Neustadt an der Weinstraße, to encourage other asylum seekers and help them when arriving in Germany.

“It’s never too late to start over,” Sergej says today. “I am happy with my new life. Even if the path is often rocky and uncomfortable – it’s worth it”.

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(c) SWR Landesschau 2017