Germany Scholar Veronika Bremora: Earning a degree with four children
11 Jan 2023
Although she has a large family, Veronika Bremora resolved to leave her job and study at LMU to become a teacher. The Germany Scholarship is helping her to fulfill her ambitions.
At the age of 26, Veronika Bremora opted to take an unusual career step: A nurse by trade, she gave up a secure job providing emergency surgical treatment in 2019 and began studying at LMU to become a teacher of English, religious education and media education. It is not as if the mother of four (6, 4, 4 and 2) did not need the money: “It was a risky decision,” she says, looking back. However, her desire to give her children a wonderful life and live out her love for young people as a vocation was greater than her fears.
“I am part of a rainbow family, so equality, tolerance and respect are very important to me,” the now-29-year-old states. “And I want to pass these values on to my pupils.” Another factor in her decision was that working times in the nursing sector were so family-unfriendly. Especially during the pandemic, her wife – a head nurse – was having to work even more than usual. And as early, late and night shifts alternated, the large family scarcely had any time together.
At the time, I thought to myself: Just do it! And if it doesn’t work out, don’t feel like you are a failure.
Initially, Bremora was not sure whether she would cope with studying. Her parents had always supported her but had never studied themselves. To this day, only around 20 percent of all children from non-academic families decide to go into higher education. “At the time, I thought to myself: Just do it!” she recalls. “And if it doesn’t work out, don’t feel like you are a failure.” Because sometimes, she adds, a fresh orientation can be the right way forward. Bearing in mind that most of her fellow students were considerably younger, this was a courageous decision.
Veronika Bremora has always enjoyed her work. In the emergency unit, there were obviously days when she was happy to be home again. “But there are also nice stories of which I still have fond recollections.” Born and bred in Munich, she still benefits from her experience, because schoolchildren too encounter emergencies. For this reason, practically every school has its own medical service. “When I was doing the internship for my studies,” she smiles, “I ran a first-aid course in which the children asked lots of questions about my job as a nurse.”
LMU supports parents with children in many ways
Studying when you have four children is no easy task, however. “It takes a lot of organization,” Bremora acknowledges. When the kids are in bed, she often sits at her desk until midnight – all the more so now as she writes her thesis on discrimination against rainbow children in schools. It often begins with forms to be filled in, she says.
And she obviously has to hope that none of her four children are ill at any given time. “I have accepted the fact that I can’t lead a traditional student life and go out partying,” she shrugs. Bremora feels that the LMU supports parents with children in many ways, and that makes it possible for her to attend courses mostly at preferred times – when the kindergarten is open, for example. In the wake of the coronavirus, however, she says she would like to see more hybrid lectures. To attend a 90-minute lecture, she sometimes has to allow for two hours’ travel time, which is a lot for a mother of four.
Despite having little free time, she also does voluntary work at organizations such as LesMamas e.V. in Munich. One of her activities here is to arrange meetings and excursions with lesbian and queer women who want or plan to have children. “We want to show the children that even with two mums or parents who are not genetically related to them, they are no different to other children.” The mother of four can also always be found at parades and demonstrations such as Christopher Street Day. “We demand equality with heterosexual couples at long last,” she states.
Without the Germany Scholarship, such extra social commitments would not have been possible, Bremora says. The money also had a lasting influence on her decision to study. “Otherwise, I would not have been able to afford the kindergarten fees without a job – especially now, with inflation.” She says she has no problem working longer hours, but that that would have been at the expense of the children. She is delighted that the scholarship sponsors clearly appreciate her work and her social commitment.
Th highest praise for the young mother comes from her children, though. At kindergarten and at school, they tell others that their one mother goes to work and the other to university to learn more. And they are very proud of her. “But maybe that is just what the preschool teachers say to be nice to me,” Veronika Bremora laughs. Be that as it may: “As strenuous as it is to study when you have children, I have never regretted my decision even for a second.”