The article has been automatically translated into English by Google Translate from Russian and has not been edited.

Five Ukrainian women breaking stereotypes about life in emigration



Those who leave their home country are treated differently. Someone thinks that these people are losers who have not managed to achieve anything in their homeland, someone calls them traitors, and someone is the heroes of our time. If the emigrant is a woman, then she is often heard with completely dense insults and gloomy predictions about life-long "toilet sinks" in a foreign land. Journalist Tatyana Gordienko decided to debunk these persistent stereotypes about our compatriots abroad.

Фото: Depositphotos

Julia Voronina


Age, occupation: 30 years, beauty industry

Reason for departure: marriage

Photo: personal archive

About marriages

More than five years ago, I began to think about moving to another country. My friends were in the USA, and I also worked with Americans, so the choice fell on America automatically. If you think for a long time and do something for your plan, then it will come to you: I met my betrothed - a Russian-speaking husband from America. In my environment, wives are loved by their husbands who always help them in everything, support them, there is no violence - this is strictly with this. However, there are, of course, all sorts of stories of women about how they were mistreated. This often involves the fear of being left alone, a possible return to her homeland, the fear of being left without children, or something else that prevents her from calling the police. As for marriages of convenience, of course, there are girls who get married for a period until they receive the coveted Green Cardthere are those who marry out of love and live well, and there are husbands-manipulators. I was lucky in marriage.

About professional implementation

I brought a diploma from a stylist from Ukraine to Ukraine. Upon my arrival, I categorically did not want to work in my specialty, because there are a lot of African-Americans around, and with their hair I didn’t work and didn’t want to look incompetent. Then I went on maternity leave, but once I met a girl who recommended a school of hairdressing, she studied there and told in detail about how the beauty business in the USA is arranged. The principal and some students of the school were Russian-speaking, so I thought that for me this is a good option with my non-brilliant English, and to study for just a year. During the six months of training, I pulled up the language, and during training I found a new direction for myself - eyelash extensions, I really like to do this. I met a girl with whom we are going to open a small beauty business. Now we are working on a business plan, I hope that we will succeed and our business will flourish. By the way, here it’s really possible to open a business to any person, there are no bribes and any nonsense.

Milana Biali


Age, occupation: 34 of the year, now I am engaged in the delivery of apartments and doing my projects, I work for myself

Reason for departure: marriage

Photo: personal archive

About the importance of being yourself

I left in 21 year because of marriage. Now I understand that it would have been possible not to leave, but at that time I saw it for myself as the only way out. To unconditionally accept the culture of another country in order to become “my own” there, I was not ready. Nowhere and in no way was I ready to accept neither a new language, nor rules, nor orders. As in the film “Intergirl”: “You have your own national traditions, and I have mine.” It was hard for me to accept that everything is not the way I used to. I think this is all because the move was at a fairly young age, with zero awareness of everything that is happening. For a long time I didn’t want to learn the language, frankly sabotaged. Nevertheless, over the 13 years in Germany, I have never felt a prejudiced attitude of the locals towards myself. Since my emigration from the point of view of life was mitigated by marriage, and all that I have, I earned myself, I am grateful to my ex-husband that through him he was able to come to a good country, get permanent residence, and subsequently a passport, which for many years leads the list of the best. I am grateful to fate, because now I "belong" to Germany.

About career

My life ended up good. I'm glad where I am now. I didn’t have any harsh everyday life, in the classical sense (my husband beats, toilets out of need, queue for coupons, dismissive attitude of Germans, etc.), and I don’t see anything terrible about it. Depends on how to treat this. For me, it has always been a game. I worked as a cleaner for five years in the family in parallel with the work in the office. With great pleasure, I came to their house once a week, cut in the music and cleaned it - it was rest, relaxation, and energy. With the family we were on “you”, I was always given gifts for the holidays, and we had a good relationship, and the hours of work were the most flexible in the world. I worked 7 for years in the office, paid taxes and gave my time to be as free as possible, live as I want, live where I want, and do what I want. I am very glad that I had such circumstances in my life that “forced” me to leave then. I am pleased with all that I have now, and the opportunities that Germany provides. Would I leave again? Maybe yes.

Anna Krivko (Burbo)


Age, occupation: 32, Corporate Finance and Corporate Development

Reason for departure: the acquisition of new knowledge and new experience

Photo: personal archive

About life in exile

At first, I received offers from the Germans to marry them so that I had a visa. To which I replied that I would marry for love, not for a visa. There were sexual harassment in the workplace at the beginning of my career. But the law here protects the woman well from this problem, therefore, knowing the law, having good lawyers, you can solve this problem. One day, a colleague told me that my place was not in an office in a high-paying position, but in the service area of ​​a "scrubber." This colleague had various signs of psychopathic personality disorder, so it was not worth expecting anything else from him. At the first convenient opportunity, of course, I left this company. I prefer to work with professionals, not savages. Now I work in a good company, in a good position, they appreciate me, they invest in my development. I'm glad to be here.

About the readiness to accept foreign culture and about stereotypes

I was ready to accept culture, because it is what it is, but at first I did not understand much, because there were not cultural differences between us, but a real cultural abyss. I began to feel strongly that the attitude because of my background was strange, prejudiced. When I began to get very good grades while studying, when I began to apply for good positions for equal pay, I then felt that it was the local people who “saw” in me and wanted me to still not at the level that comes from my results. I did not struggle with this, but I was very sad about this attitude. Stereotypes about migrants who are most annoying: “they are automatically worse than others.” I am grateful to Germany for the education of a high international level, which I received here for free. I thank Germany for the opportunity to look for work here, I thank Germany for permission to work and for the opportunity to acquire international intensive professional experience.

About homeland

I completely disagree with the idea that going to live abroad is a kind of betrayal of the motherland. My country, for a fairly high fee, gave me a very poor quality education, the knowledge gained is not applicable anywhere in the world. And Germany gave me a very good education, so I definitely owe Germany now. Laws do not work at home, the rights of women and mothers are not protected. At home, women at best do not receive alimony for children in case of divorce, at worst - husbands take children from their wives for revenge. In any European country will not allow such chaos. At home, parents continue to beat their children, when in all civilized countries, physical violence is equated with sexual violence, for which they are deprived of parental rights. I want to live in that country and for the country where the laws work, where my rights as women are protected and I can fully live, develop, work. I consider my decision to move right. The move would repeat again, but possibly to another country, not to Germany. Most of all I miss Ukrainian cuisine. Most of all, there are not enough close friends, whom you can just hold tightly and sincerely.

Olga Granikovskaya


Age, occupation: 38 years, assistant, image consultant

Reason for departure: a dream come true

Photo: personal archive

About life after divorce

At some point after the divorce, I realized that it was time to fulfill the dream of living abroad. It so happened that I visited Portugal several times and just fell in love with Lisbon. I was very comfortable, never felt like a tourist, as, for example, in other countries. After talking with the Ukrainians in Lisbon, weighing all the pros and cons, I moved in two weeks, with a clear understanding that thorns are just beginning ... And the desire to live in Europe was always, probably, because of Polish blood.

About the benefits of foreign languages

Every emigrant has his own story. And more often it is “through thorns to the stars”. I came and started working at the Russian school as an English teacher, also engaged in tutoring English for the Portuguese. I have a CELTA diploma - Cambridge Certificate, which allows me to teach English to foreigners. I thought I would quickly find a job with him, but it turned out not. Soon I found a job in a travel company. Two years later, the company fired me, and I was again in search. Through the agency, I passed a competition and many stages of interviews and started working as a consultant in luxury- a segment of watches and jewelry. My experience in the boutique and my interest in fashion, style led me to the fact that I am now developing a project Style wanted - advising on image and style. Of course, this is a kind of startup, but you have to pay bills, so I combine the work of a business assistant in a trading company.

About prejudice

It seems to me that any emigrant must respect the culture of the country that accepted him, but he should never forget where he came from. I will never be in Portugal, but I'm no longer a stranger here. I love Portuguese history, and I am pleased when I sometimes surprise the Portuguese with my knowledge of their country. The Portuguese are very friendly, but now for 6 years, new acquaintances have to prove that we do not all love vodka and do not drink it in tons. And they don’t believe that I am very cold here in 10 degrees, the Portuguese always have a question: how is that, because you have a minus temperature there ?! I do not agree with the idea that emigration is a betrayal. Each person can choose where he wants to live, relax and what to do. The main thing is not to forget your culture, language, traditions. Sometimes it is not very pleasant for me to hear that, having received the citizenship of Portugal, some of our countrymen proudly say that I am Portuguese. I will always be Ukrainian, even when I receive a Portuguese passport.

Julia Staus


Age, occupation: 38 years, project manager, CIS sector, in state structure at the federal state level

Reason for departure: study

Photo: personal archive

The importance of education

I came with the intention to learn German, assuming that it would be most effective at the university. Since I already had two diplomas of higher education, I did not plan to finish it, but I finished it. Even with a good average score - 2,1 (“four plus”). While studying, living with two other students in an apartment (renting a multi-room apartment is more profitable than a hostel), I met my future husband. I did not plan to remain, but the visa ended with my studies, so the future husband insisted on marriage. By that time we lived together for almost two years. They lived well: amicably, peacefully, fun. Therefore, I agreed. It is usually assumed that girls from Eastern Europe marry according to the calculation. It is hardly applicable to my case: the husband was only half a year older and at that time was poorer than me, as we said, since I did not have debts, but he had a loan for studying: there is such a state program - young people take state loan on very favorable terms and live on this money during training. If after graduation they get a job, then they pay the loan back. The maintenance of students by parents practically does not occur.

In Germany, I have 14 years. The times of study were hard, sometimes even hungry. Then I envied the unemployed on social security, which besides paying apartment bills, medical insurance, and furniture-TV, was also given out about 400 euros per month. I was lucky to meet a man who turned out to be a really reliable support, intelligent, prudent, understanding. Everything else has achieved itself. My life with a German is far from stereotypes. We have a very respectful, liberal and trusting relationship. No responsibilities section. We have two kids. The husband was present at the birth, from the first minutes he takes care of his daughters equally. Getting up at night, changing diapers, rocking, is all for granted. With children, by the way, I speak Ukrainian. I do not think about whether the decision to leave was right. Departure by itself was never an end in itself. Everything happened as a result of individual decisions, small steps aimed at self-development.

About the difference of cultures

I was ready to accept the culture of Germany, especially since it corresponds much more to my inner outlook than the Slavic one. What exactly do I like the Germans: they will never leave us in trouble, they will never pass by, but they will not get into the soul. With all my longing for Ukraine, I can’t put up with coldness, unsmiling, impolite attitude and sometimes hostility of my compatriots towards strangers. I do not think that this is typical for Ukraine. Most likely, these are still echoes of the Soviet times. And the difficulties of the post-Soviet period, the uncertainty of the present time, minted the souls of Ukrainians, most of whom are on the verge of survival. Have I become my own here? If you "merge with the crowd, do not stand out," then no. And the point here is not in the style of dressing or accent (the main criteria that determine the foreigner), but, as I was told by a boy of years 8-10, in facial expression. At first I did not quite understand what he meant. But then she herself learned to distinguish Slavic faces. Difference is difficult to describe in words, but the Slavic type is different from the German one. And it does not matter if we perceive the face as beautiful or ugly. That is, I don’t even try to “hide”, “merge with the crowd”. And if “to become one’s own” in the sense of accepting as a full-fledged member of society, then yes, I think I succeeded.

On the friendship of nations

Those Germans who have never crossed the eastern border of Germany have a biased attitude towards Ukrainians (Slavs). Those who have been to Poland, Ukraine, and Russia have a completely adequate understanding of us and an appropriate attitude: friendly, open, on an equal footing. It should also be understood that the opinion of the rest is influenced by immigrants who did not try to integrate, who live according to the principle “who works in Germany is the same fool”. These really are. And the descendants of the Soviet military, who lived here during the GDR, who were brought up in a rather cold, sometimes scornful, attitude towards the local Germans. I have a desire to “return” something or, more precisely, to contribute to support the level of social life I now live. By this I mean such simple things as sorting garbage, respect for material goods (free information centers, clean recreation places, public toilets, etc.) and my immediate work. There is also a desire to “return” something to my home country. In a happy way, I was able to combine both aspects of my work (the organization of economic cooperation with the countries of the former Soviet Union). Therefore, there are no thoughts about the betrayal of the motherland. Here I will do more for her than I would possibly do if I stayed in Ukraine.

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