You could say:
He's been through the school of hard knocks.
The School of Hard Knocks is an idiomatic phrase meaning the (sometimes painful) education one gets from life's usually negative experiences
The phrase has made its way into some dictionaries. I think Macmillan's definition is a good one:
the school of hard knocks - the difficult experiences that happen in someone’s life and that influence the type of person they become
In literature, I've seen it sometimes used as a proper noun, and other times used as an idiomatic phrase. Every once in a while, I'll see it put in "scare quotes." For example:
I have watched entrepreneurs learn about the business world the only way they knew how: from the School of Hard Knocks.1
He'd clearly grown up in the school of hard knocks and had elevated himself to his current position of wealth and authority.2
John has a bachelor's degree in economics from Loyola University of Chicago with additional concentrations in accounting and finance and also holds an Honorary Doctorate from the “School of Hard Knocks”.3
Incidentally, I like the idiom used in your native language, too. She's eaten more than her fair share of tamarind. I may use that someday.
R E F E R E N C E S
1 from The 51 Fatal Business Errors and How to Avoid Them
by Jim Muehlhausen, 2008
2 from The Line Between Here and Gone
by Andrea Kane, 2012
3 from The Advantage of Real Estate by Patrick Riddle, et al., 2007