Hundreds of residents of Mostar, Bosnian southernmost and fifth largest city, have gone abroad since 2013, according to the Union for Sustainable Return and Integration, while the main reason for leaving their homes is economic and political instability.
Prior to their departure, Mostarians enrol in language schools, learning mostly German.
Franjo Ramljak is an engineer with a master's degree. He is employed but, still, he is learning German so he could meet the conditions and leave to Germany.
“Due to the lack of jobs, economic instability and overall situation in the country, and for better conditions and living environment. I need German for my personal education but it is my wish to try my luck abroad, to find a job and develop my professional skills,” he said.
Only one language school has three hundred students. Reasons for learning a foreign language are different but most of them are preparing for the labour market in Germany if the situation in Bosnia gets worse.
“The many want to secure a better future, no matter if it is in five or ten years. We wish our people stay here to work for a German employer in Bosnia and Herzegovina and that they don't leave their homes, starting from the scratch in a foreign country where they know no one and where they are always foreigners,” said Ivana Vukadin, general manager of the language centre Vokabular.
Some say that their safety is the main reason why they would leave the country, not an economic or political situation.
“I hope one day I will manage to establish myself in our community. If that doesn't happen, there is always this undesired option,” noted Mirza Lalic, the Head of the Youth Council of the City of Mostar.
According to Lalic, many of his colleagues are planning on leaving their home city after graduation. He hopes he will not have to follow their steps.
Data collected by the Union for Sustainable Return and Integration, an NGO working on projects aimed at solving social and economic issues, show that nearly 800 families or over 2,000 residents have left Mostar in the past five years.
Besides students, recent graduates and jobless people, health professionals are leaving the most.
“67 physicians unregistered from the Chamber of Physicians of Herzegovina-Neretva Canton. That number is probably significantly higher because a number of young physicians go abroad immediately after graduation without signing in with our chamber, so we don't have those numbers,” said Mehmed Haznadar, Chairman of the Chamber of Physicians in Bosnia's Herzegovina-Neretva Canton, Bosnia's administrative region where Mostar is located.