Omar Alnifawi was 16 when he fled Syria's civil war with his family. After four years working menial jobs in Lebanon to help pay for their journey on to Europe, he had given up on ever going back to school.
Six years later, Alnifawi is enrolled at the Europa Vocational School in the southern German state of Bavaria and plans to become a mechanic.
"My friends who live outside Bavaria and who are almost as old as I am ask me: 'How come you can go back to school and we can't?'," he said in the town of Weiden, near the Czech border.
Politicians in Bavaria's conservative ruling party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), are some of the harshest critics of Chancellor Angela Merkel's open immigration policy. But they have also put in place one of Germany's most accommodating education programs for immigrants allocated to the state.