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Is Europe worth taking the risk? My answer is: ‘NO.’ Those who have never been to Europe often listen to the stories told by other people. Ones involved in human trafficking tell us stories to manipulate our view on Europe. They will tell you that hamburgers grow on trees, if not in Spain, then, in the Netherlands. And once you are in the Netherlands (promoted as one of the richest countries in the world) you will hardly be able to make ends meet, even if you’re lucky enough to receive a residence permit.
I did not come to the Netherlands in a sinking boat or in a cargo container. I came by plane, with my own documents and with very good chances of being accepted as a refugee. My story is what they call ‘a success story’. I have lived in the Netherlands for almost 10 years (always legally, with a W-document, then with a refugee’s residence permit, and then with a Dutch citizen’s ID). I live in a big city, in a good apartment and I have a job. But life is difficult, with a M.A. diploma from a European university, I work as a secretary, and what I earn is hardly enough to survive. I passed the highest-level State Exam in Dutch more than 7 years ago and I make fewer spelling mistakes in Dutch than most native speakers, but I will always remain an immigrant, no matter how good my Dutch is.
All the stories about ‘good life in Europe’ may have been true, about 45 years ago. There were jobs available for unskilled workers, which local people did not want to have. These good times are over. Now, dozens of local people (many with a university degree) apply for cleaning jobs. Nobody dreams about finding a job good enough for his or her qualifications. Whatever job is available is good and no work opportunities, or next to none remain for immigrants.
To make ends meet, many immigrants choose the way of crime. But then things get really bad. Even if all African Mafia groups were to unite their forces and join the Italian Mafia, they (together) would never be able to compete with Eastern European Mafia and the Mafia of the former Soviet Union. It is Eastern European Mafia that rules Europe now, and guys from this Mafia do not hesitate to kill competitors.
So it is better not to choose the ways of crime, my dear fellow-immigrants. It is better to try and survive in poverty. In Europe you may be even poorer than you were in your native country. But even if you are slightly better off in Europe you have lots of other problems: the terrible cold winters, the unknown environment, the language you must learn and, of course, you will miss your native land terribly. Too often, I dream of my country and then I lay awake here, in the Netherlands, in the land I had not chosen as my place of residence. And I cry bitterly… There is no way back home for me.
Dangerous living conditions
A fake trip planned by a visa dealer
How I came to the Netherlands
TV Episode 1
Pepe Soup from Italy: Surprising Europe
Music video of K-nell from Germany: Surprising Europe
Suunaa's return to Uganda after 6 years in Europe
TV Episode 2