“The secret of integration is to work hard”. The story of Gurung

The road to employment for refugees in Europe is often difficult and full of hardships. Nevertheless, once an initial investment in the skills of newcomers is made, success stories of entrepreneurial, hard-working and passionate refugees abound. To showcase some of these cases, putting a face on labour market integration, The New European has entered a partnership with the IOM (International Organisation for Migration) and its program Skills2Work. In the course of some weeks, on these pages we will publish some of the success stories from the EU countries participating to the program and taken from the digital platform FromSkills2Work.

The second article of the series presents the story of Gurung. From his native Nepal, he moved to Budapest, Hungary, where after some years of hard work he was able to open his own restaurant. The previous article of the series, about Ferry, can be found here

Gurung’s experience underlines the importance of direct contact with members of society in the host country: Gurung believes that personal connections and contact with the Hungarian society had a crucial impact on the success of his integration. Originally, he was not that interested in learning the Hungarian language, as his plan was to travel on from Hungary, where he had arrived after a long journey from his country of birth, Nepal. Gurung’s plan was to work for employers who spoke the same language as him, because he assumed that it would eliminate miscommunications. Ultimately though, he decided to stay and learn the language, which he mostly learned through his daily interactions with customers while he was working.

Due to his English language skills, Gurung had an advantage while job hunting, as English speakers are much needed at restaurants in Budapest’s touristic areas. But he had always dreamed of starting his own restaurant. Working for different employers in Hungary, sometimes under poor working conditions, motivated him to work harder towards achieving this goal. Gurung feels blessed to have such nice friends and colleagues, who have urged him to reach for his dreams and who advised and supported him in hard times.

It was his partner who had the biggest impact on him and who pushed him to achieve his goals. Together, they worked hard, saving money from multiple jobs, so that the two of them could open their own restaurant, where Gurung works to this day.

Because of others, he now knows that the key to achieving your dreams is to work hard and to maintain a positive attitude.

“If you work hard and you are sincere, people will respect you. If you are lazy, negative and you have bad habits, people won’t be nice to you. I was always friendly, positive and hardworking – and Hungarians love those who work hard.”


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FromSkills2Work is the digital platform of the Skills2Work project, led by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) together with its partners OdnosFondazione Leone Moressa, the African Young Professional Network (AYP),Menedék, the Radboud University and the Foundation for Refugee Students (UAF). It is supported by the Dutch Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA), the General Secretariat for Immigration and Emigration of the Spanish Ministry of Employment and Social Security, the Migration Office of the Ministry of Interior of the Slovak Republic, the Italian Ministry for Employment and Social Policies, Directorate-General for Immigration and Integration Policies and the Slovak Pontis Foundation.

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the European Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.