Personal experience: the bitter side of emigration, or why you will lose everything in a new country
Only those who were not there laugh at the truth about emigration. And those who laugh are trying to brighten up the bitter life abroad. I tell you as a former emigrant, writes Anastasia Mironova for Gazety.ru.
Emigration is always a fall in social status. Few people manage to emigrate while maintaining a career.
A businessman who had a good income in Russia and even got into gossip columns becomes a small shopkeeper in Europe. A person who left under a program for highly qualified specialists loses several years for the nostrification of a diploma, learning the language. If you were a successful doctor or lawyer in Russia - in English-speaking countries, spend years confirming your profession. Even if your foreign language was brilliant by Russian standards, it will not be enough for a career abroad. Therefore, the language alone will throw you down several steps.
A variety of journalists, culturologists, economists are falling even because of an elementary ignorance of the local texture. Only those who are hired by the foreign offices of our media move to good places - the rest are forced to start from scratch. Our famous host, expert, author with a name in exile will at best find a place as an ordinary correspondent. Even if he emigrated to Ukraine.
The only exceptions are super-qualified specialists who leave by special invitation. They are negligible, and they do not make statistics.
Ordinary people with university diplomas who find themselves abroad after marriage with a foreigner, having left for language courses, under the resettlement program, almost always start the same way - from any job. For men, it often becomes a construction or gas station, for women it is work in a restaurant or store. A sales manager, an operator in a money transfer bureau, a secretary in a Russian-speaking company - this is already a dream job. Because it is warm, does not require standing, it involves an advanced level of foreign and the presence of connections.
Few people from poor work are able to return to good: in the UK, for example, for a doctor, programmer or engineer, a break in work means much more than ours. But Russian experience does not mean anything.
If you worked in Russia as a development engineer for 10 years, then went to the UK, where you sold sandwiches in a stall for a year, that's it! To your potential employers, you are a sandwich vendor.
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The career gap awaits almost all, without exception, “passports” - women who have married for citizenship. Because such marriages are often unequal in the sense that an educated successful woman finds herself a husband - a loader driver. "Passportists" find themselves in difficult conditions because they are leaving for poverty.
Their fate is often shared by those who travel with a highly qualified husband. A classic example: the husband receives an invitation to the university (software company), takes his wife with a spouse visa, she receives the right to work. And she is forced to work, because one salary of a young scientist, especially if he continues to study, or an ordinary IT engineer, you can’t even live in the UK. The wife, unlike her husband, is not strong in science, she does not know the language well, so she goes to work in a pub. If she wants to study, she still goes to work in a pub - there is no way out.
Women invariably go to low-skilled part-time work in Russian families, and the family relies on a man’s career.
And in a year or two the wives completely lose the chance to catch up. In the meantime, their husbands somehow cling to a new job. After a few years, there is a squall of divorces - a professor of mathematics with a waitress is not interested in living.
All kinds of repatriates, immigrants and other people who have gone abroad on relatively free terms find themselves in an unenviable career situation (here's legalization for you, do whatever you want with it). Repatriates in Israel, Germany, Finland find themselves in conditions when there is not only work by status, but generally no work. Life on allowance, the need to do low-skilled work - alas, these are not horror stories of patriots, but the realities of emigrant life. And often people are forced to cheat, deceive, so as not to lose benefits. They hide new equipment, and worn out suits for going to social services. Major transactions (buying and selling a car, renting a house, money from the homeland) are made only in cash, so that the social security authorities do not see the money and do not deprive the allowance. There are frequent cases when they fictitiously get divorced so that a wife and children receive social housing and payments.
Almost everyone thinks that in wealthy countries for a device to re-learn quickly enough. But quickly you can learn only not very skilled work.
After a six-month programming course you will not find a good job, because the market is full of competitors with diplomas from the best technical universities in the world.
Few people grow up abroad to their pre-emigration status. There are many reasons for that. In addition to the loss of several years, a person in a new country finds himself in an unsuccessful starting position. We are social beings, our career, our success, our relevance largely depend on our environment, acquaintances, connections. A biologist who communicates with research institute staff will find a place in the department more easily than his former classmate who is forced to work at a gas station or in a pizzeria. This is the bitter truth. And it determines the future life of an emigrant much more than he would like.
The money from selling or renting an apartment in Sokolniki is barely enough for a small apartment on the working outskirts of London or in an immigrant ghetto. As a result, you will either take over English London gopniks, or you will not advance at all in learning the language. Because for its normal mastering there are not enough courses - you need to use the language in everyday life, but where to speak it, if everyone in your area is immigrants or laborers? When you have a chance to make acquaintances with equal people, your language will let you down.
A separate sad discovery in emigration is a children's theme. People leave, find work there, and only then find out that you cannot go to a sick leave of a child in Europe or America.
Although there is feminism and equality, a parental leave is paid only in Scandinavia. You can’t leave children alone, but the nanny is very expensive, and often a woman is forced to work, even if her earnings are not enough to fully pay for the services of a nanny or kindergarten, because otherwise the workplace will be taken.
And our people still do not understand what a school is in Western Europe or America. That a bad school in primary school can guarantee a bad profession in the future. They do not know that in the UK, the prestigious grammar school raises property prices throughout the county. It raises so much that sometimes it’s more profitable to take a child to school 30 miles from home. Settling in a cheap area, migrants doom their children to poor education. Because in a number of countries if a child after moving to a bad school with a low rating, he simply will not be able to pass exams to prepare for university, even if he is very smart and brilliantly fluent in English. But you cannot earn money to correct mistakes - there is not enough strength and health.
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Any visitor a priori should work more. Because he is obliged to catch up with the local. And make a trip to Russia. Nostalgia eats surplus income from an immigrant.
Emigrants, if they go anywhere, only to their homeland - for the rest of the trips they have neither money nor time. Vacation is issued once a year - it is spent in Russia. Two vacations a year? Saving up for two trips home! They have no time to watch the world.
As a result, people really lag behind life. For immigrants in rich countries, a complex of inferiority, disability, and poverty often develops. After all, they constantly compare themselves with locals, who probably have housing, there is a newer car, for which credit money is available. In most countries that are attractive for emigration without a resident status, that is, without a residence permit or a long-term visa, they will not open a credit limit or give you a mortgage. This complex, combined with the fact that immigrants live in low-cost areas, in poor housing, can irreversibly injure.
Add shame about a not very good language to the injury and get a person who sometimes loses his will and motivation for change. And falls into a vicious circle of poverty.
Finding themselves in an alien, socially lower environment for him, few find new friends and buddies: if you were a teacher, journalist or engineer, it’s very difficult to establish friendship with the laborers or the welfare poor. In addition, it is difficult to make friends with people whom circumstances have chosen to be your friends, and the circle of emigrants is limited by the proposed choice: neighbors, fellow practitioners in language courses, colleagues in a new, not very attractive workplace, a few Russian-speaking people found in the district. It happens that in some Scottish backwoods there are only two Russians in the whole district: the architect and living on a fake passport were illegal without education. And there is no one to be friends with more. As a result: people leave either alone or in communication with their homeland.
Those who seek salvation in relations with their homeland pay a lot of money for Russian television. They live our events, our news. In the evenings they call relatives, friends and discuss what they read. They wake up a strong sense of solidarity with their homeland. That is why there are so many aggressive conservatives among emigrants - they read our news much more and more intoxicated with Russians.
I have not met a Russian-speaking person who, even after 20 years abroad, would better understand the events in his new country than in the old one.
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These people also spend a lot of time looking for a company of compatriots. Such a strange thing: while you live in Russia with the throbbing thought of “time to blame” every day, it will not even occur to you that you can miss the Russian language elementarily. If possible, say “good morning” in the morning, not morning! Few people manage to live in complete isolation from the Russian language - most seek language in any way. Moreover, they lack the language of news, movies and Russian friends from Skype - they begin to sit on forums of Russian emigrants, attend meetings of Russian-speakers. And, therefore, they integrate more slowly into the new environment - they do not have time to make acquaintances with the locals and learn a new language.
The big problem for our public, primarily its conditionally progressive wing, is that it is still intoxicated abroad. And he believes in the limitless possibilities of the free world.
Yes, there is more freedom there than ours. Yes, headlines are hit much less frequently for articles in newspapers. For an empty poster, stretched out on the square, they are unlikely to be put in jail. They may even be allowed to smoke marijuana and marry colleagues in the army, but perhaps all the differences in freedom end there. And the opportunities in the first world countries for emigrants are not so many. Moreover, in Europe and America, in my opinion, there are much more conditions for hopeless poverty. When, once having gotten on the wrong track, the family gets out of the way for generations. And making a mistake in exile is very easy.
And if you can still insure yourself against miscalculations with housing, work, and social circle, then no one will be able to protect yourself from the most important mistake before emigration.
You know what a thing. Even if you traveled a lot, lived for a long time abroad, studied there, this does not mean at all that you can live abroad. As soon as a person gets a permanent job, receives a long-term visa or residence permit, he realizes that the connection with Russia is lost. And here the most difficult tests begin. It turns out that many people, even with big money, a close-knit family, and their beloved work, cannot live abroad. They simply cannot bear it if they don’t hear the Russian language on the street, don’t see our old shed grandmothers and do not stumble on the broken sidewalks.
I met abroad Russians who were returning to Russia at the peak of their overseas success, from their own department at a British university or with business with an annual turnover of 10 million euros ...
Because to find out whether you are adapted for emigration, you can only there. Departures never take this into account. Most of those who leave will always be sad and live in solitude in their new homeland. Ready for it? Set off. There is nothing shameful in emigration. I am ashamed to lie to others that you are happy in a foreign country.
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I returned to 2010 from a fairly prosperous life in London. And at this time, the people from Russia fled so that the oncoming stream almost washed me off. And what about today? Those who fled then are now talking with the Russians for days, traces of grief and drunkenness appeared on their faces, they hardly have a dozen foreign friends on Facebook. Over the years, I visited seven new countries, but they were not anywhere else. One of them in 35 years rents a room in London, and not an apartment. Another in Germany drinks hard. The third in the United States lives henpecked, married by calculation on an American. The fourth, also in Germany, from melancholy and constant nostalgia embarked on a romantic spree, lost her husband, and threw the child to a Russian grandmother. A microbiologist with a diploma from St. Petersburg State University in the Netherlands delivers pizza. Two in Israel live on benefits. A journalist in Kiev is repairing equipment and collecting money for the treatment of a not very serious illness.
And all of them, I am sure, are now amicably laughing at my story about the bitter side of emigration.