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Finding a job came to be the most challenging in all my experience in Europe. When I finished to study I said to myself that I should give it a try since I had all the documents allowing me to stay in Europe. So I decided to look for a job. I applied for my study-related offers but none of them came with a positive answer. This went on for almost seven months during which I had no income and no house, living on friends’ couches in Amsterdam as well as in Belgium. I tried to work in bars and restaurants but they couldn’t let me, arguing that I had a student visa and that I did not speak Dutch. After seven months of struggle, I finally got a job in The Hague, in international organizations and with that I could earn money to go back home.
When I was studying in Amsterdam I had a lot of friends. This came to change when we completed the studies and everyone left. I found myself all alone. I remember on my graduation day, after the ceremony at the university, I just went home and slept. I had then to taste the individual life of European, where you need an appointment to meet with your friends and where you cannot just call your friend to come over, he would have already other plans for the week, let alone for the whole month. I forced myself to adapt and try to understand that people are different but it was difficult for me to understand. Why do people like to be alone? Why don’t they smile? Why can they look so sad when they have everything? I asked myself.
Now I want to go back because I know now that I am more needed in Africa than here. It doesn’t matter how hard I can work here, I will never see the real impact of my input here. To make a difference I need to do superhuman tasks. But in Africa everything I can do will make a difference. And besides, the harsh weather here has almost traumatized me and I would give anything to go back to the lovely sun of home.
My friends and family really want me back. After I explained to them how life really is here, they want me to be there, close to them. So I am happy that they don’t put pressure on me to stay in Europe, they know already my experience. I am organizing my return by myself. There is no organization helping me. Once back in Africa, I will work in the academic area, I will lecture at the university.
In my next blog I will give some advice about migrating to Europe, based on my own experiences.
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