Why we returned to our homeland: 4 stories of unsuccessful emigration
Source: Big Village
Emigration beckons today more than ever: fabulous educational and career opportunities, crazy hangouts in European clubs, good weather, picturesque cityscapes and no burden in the form of annoying relatives with their problems and deadly bureaucracy. Most understand that all this is just a poster, and the reality is harsh for those who come in large numbers.
Edition Big Village talked to people who returned to Russia after living abroad, and found out how good it was to visit and why they returned.
Nurlan Eraliev, USA
I first came to the USA in 2007 under the Work & Travel program. A year after returning, acquaintances unexpectedly offered a job in an American company with a three-year contract. I just graduated from the university and, of course, agreed - if not now, then never. I was appointed a social worker: I helped families who took adopted children from the countries of the former USSR. My girlfriend went to the States with me.
Everything that is in the USA is made for people - from convenient cafe parking to a perfectly mowed lawn near the house. You go out - everything is beautiful, people are smiling, but it seems that everything is not real. In addition, it took a long time to get used to the local food. Sweets are always cloying, meat is very fatty. Natural products are much more expensive, and you can get them only in special stores.
In the US, stress levels are much lower than in Russia. Many Americans older than 50 never left their hometown and even more so from the country. You reach some comfortable level, and this is enough for you: home - work - gas station - mall, everything.
Nevertheless, I liked the States, but soon the girl and I had to leave, and starting a new relationship turned out to be a problem. Russian-speaking women refused relationships: this is not what they came here for. I didn't want to meet the Americans. Then I stopped liking what I was doing. Over time, I began to compare myself with my friends from Russia: they say, the guys grow up there, and you waste time on no one knows what.
Life in emigration is not beautiful photographs that are not related to reality. When you are in another country, all comrades suddenly remember you, with whom you have not talked for a thousand years. As soon as I came back, my success among friends was lost. I became mine again, and many people stopped communicating with me.
In general, my main mistake was the idea that it would be easier abroad. As a result, I was tormented by loneliness and the feeling that I was not doing what I should. That's why I returned. Almost immediately he met his future wife and is now absolutely happy. I have a family, and I no longer want to run somewhere.
Nikita Artemyev, Morocco
My wife and I left for Morocco in 2008 at the initiative of my mother, who had lived in two countries for a long time and constantly invited me to visit her. In Samara, I repaired telephones and opened points throughout the city - my skills turned out to be enough to work in another country. Morocco has an extensive job market. For example, doctors who work in Russia for 20 rubles (about $307) will bathe in luxury there. The country has a very poor education system, and our diplomas are quoted in almost all areas. It’s even a shame that so many graduates in their homeland cannot find work, but somewhere in Africa they are in super demand. Elementary French and a technical major are the perfect combo. But mine was a little different.
Morocco is a former French colony. I came to a country with English, which almost no one speaks there. I had to sit down for three months in the suburbs of Casablanca and learn French from scratch. In addition, Arabic is in demand in everyday life, and, willy-nilly, you begin to adapt.
In the country of oranges, I decided to do what I do best, and with an Arab acquaintance I opened a phone repair and sales store in the center of Rabat. Moroccans adore Europeans, and I became something of a walking advertisement - everyone came to look at the Russian blond as a curiosity, and often invited me to visit. By talking to locals, I found an investor who wanted to open terminals all over Africa and was looking for software engineers. Then I left my store and joined his startup.
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Nobody here is especially worried about a career, and this measured way of life terribly bothered me.
In terms of the economy, Morocco lags behind Russia by 5-10 years, so any marketing ideas are accepted here with enthusiasm. It is quite easy to make money in the country, but no one shows off from this - religion does not encourage. There is absolutely no reason to live there. Bought bananas, and already happy. You won’t buy today - Inshallah (“God forbid” - Approx. ed.), you will buy tomorrow.
Locals, by the way, tend to emigrate to France, Germany and Norway, plow on low-paid jobs as nannies, and then build two-story mansions in their homeland. The French, on the contrary, benefit from working in Morocco. They open their cafes and restaurants, which combine innovative ideas and the excellent quality of local products.
Here, no one is particularly soared about his career, and this terrible lifestyle scared me terribly. I was thinking about something like that in retirement, but now I want to fuss, run, earn. In Morocco, I had a pool near the house, an ocean near by and money in my pocket, but I didn’t feel very much. First, the language barrier was clearly felt, which I was tired of. Secondly, life was too slow. My wife and I returned to Russia, to friends, but now we would like to live in two states - in Russia and where there is more sun.
Maria Bikbulatova, Czech Republic
I decided to leave for the Czech Republic, because I thought that Russian realities took too much time and effort. Our cities are an obstacle course between points that you need to hit, and this is exhausting, like the rudeness of those around you. I wanted to live in a friendlier city, and I chose Prague, where I went to study. It was not easy to collect documents on time and comply with a bunch of formalities - one oversight, and you will be denied a visa.
It's one thing to come to the Czech Republic on vacation, quite another to live and work. Behind the routine to feel the unhurried rhythm of the city is almost impossible. Clean streets, people with an innate sense of tact, convenient transportation, quality products - everything is good, but, having received it, I did not become happier.
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Many cannot return because they do not want to admit that they did not receive what they wanted in emigration.
I don’t know if this can be called separation from language, family and friends, but despite the fact that there are quite a lot of Russians in the Czech Republic, you feel like a stranger, and this feeling increases over time. At some point it became particularly difficult, and I decided to return.
It seems to me that many find it difficult to return, because they burned the bridges, lost their jobs, spent a lot of money and effort, and it’s just hard for them to admit that they didn’t get what they wanted. Personally, I do not feel like a loser: it just seems to me that in Russia I am more efficient and can do more. Therefore, it was easy and joyful to return, although I was sure that nostalgia in the evenings, when you could just go out and walk around the magical city, would still catch up with me.
Olga Shirokova, France
I graduated from the Samara Pedagogical University and taught English and French, but I always wanted something more. So I became interested in marketing and decided to get additional education. In Russia, it is too expensive and long, so I turned to foreign programs, and eventually found an affordable option in France. Perhaps this is the only country in Europe where you can complete a master's degree almost for free. I remember that I paid only 400 euros (450 dollars) for the year. I collected a dossier, had an interview in four languages by phone, and I was enrolled.
Finding cheap official housing is almost impossible, you must have a person with French citizenship and income of several thousand euros.
I arrived in Paris with only 1000 euros (1120 dollars) in my pocket, which I spent in two weeks. Left with an empty wallet, she went to work as a cloakroom attendant in a nightclub. Then additionally - as a babysitter, translator, teacher. Students in France are not allowed to work more than 20 hours a week, and while the documents for official employment were being prepared, all my part-time jobs were illegal.
It is almost impossible to find official housing in France - you need to have a guarantor, that is, a person with French citizenship and an income of several thousand euros. Students usually don't have such acquaintances, and everyone rents housing in university dormitories, where a room costs 700 euros (785 dollars). But I was lucky: through a friend in Samara, I found a room for 350 euros a month ($390) with a view of the Eiffel Tower, but with a shared toilet and no shower.
I looked at the French and did not understand how with such a relaxed lifestyle they manage to have a strong economy.
Six months later, I managed to get an internship in the marketing department of a large company that organized fashion exhibitions. Faced with the French at work, I was surprised how lazy they can be. Sometimes their working day is reduced to endless discussions and planning.
In general, I always wanted to live in Moscow, so I didn’t plan to stay in France - emigrants are not expected anywhere, unless, of course, you have a good rear in the person of a husband or a large fortune. Did I feel good in France? Definitely yes. Living in another country is an invaluable experience that you can't get by reading books or watching movies. When you find yourself alone in another country, you begin to appreciate what you left behind in your homeland. I consider myself a man of the world, and I feel good everywhere, but best of all at home - where my family is and where I am in harmony with myself. For me it is definitely Russia.