Expectation vs. Reality of Living in The Heart of Europe
We are all humans. Yet, some are more equal than others.
Novelty is always exciting. People seek new opportunities to improve their quality of life, climb up the social ladder, and give a better future to their kids.
We associate opportunities with positive outcomes and never think of o.1% that something might go off the plan. It’s normal. We are just human beings never satisfied with the current state of life.
My adventure started in 2017 when I moved from my homeland Ukraine to a new country. Back then, the whole plan sounded like a fascinating adventure. I wanted to get a Master’s degree in Europe, meet new people, explore new cultures, travel a lot, and see what else life has in store for me.
For some reason, people outside Europe idealize life in the EU member states. They are convinced that all Europeans are happy, friendly, and open individuals living in peace and wealth. Ukraine is part of Europe, but it's not a member of the European Union. Hence, I was excited to experience what it is like to live in the heart of Europe. I moved to a neighboring country with Ukraine and anxiously waited for new adventures. Expectations and reality rarely match, but I did not want to think about it. I was surrounded by architectural masterpieces and historical places dating back to the 17th century.
I was so close, yet so far away from my home country. In fact, I did not even realize how far away I was from my home culture.
Once, I’ve got a job interview invitation from a local company. I was excited to give it a try as it’s always interesting to compare the level of expertise and work processes in different countries.
When the job interview started, I could feel my interviewees had no clue who I was. Perhaps, they did not check my CV. It did not surprise me, though. I was happy to chat with locals. However, something made me feel off in our conversation. A young man approached me with a question:
“So, you are from Ukraine, right?
Nice! If you don’t mind, can I ask you one question?
Can your family support your staying here, or are you looking for a job to do so?”
I felt embarrassed and demotivated to continue the conversation. Why would anyone ask such a question? Why would anyone have to tolerate it? And why should I be judged by my origin instead of my professional experience and qualities?
Everyone has different motivations and expectations from work. Someone wants to gain more experience, see what it’s like to work with an international team. In comparison, others look for a job to support their families. All these reasons have a right to exist, but they should not be a decisive factor in whom to hire.
We are all humans, made with blood and cells. Yet, some are more equal than others.
Within a few years of living in Europe, I felt that my origin matters, my passport matters, and my color of skin matters! I noticed that the way how locals treat you heavily depends on these three factors.
I intentionally do not mention the country because I don’t want to accuse anyone of racism, segregation, and discrimination.
You won’t be able to understand the culture, people, and life in foreign countries unless you go there and check it yourself. Some countries support locals only. Meanwhile, others have an immigration policy to attract intelligent minds from all over the world. Whatever proves to be best in the long run - human rights are unshakable!
No matter your skin color, religion, gender, beliefs, appearance - we all have to be treated with respect and equality. Period.