From Germany to Eritrea (East Africa)…
I never thought I would be living abroad and never had the intention to. My parents are from Eritrea, but I was born and raised in Germany. I only knew Eritrea from summer vacations, so I had a limited understanding of what life in 3rd world countries was really like. When I was 12 years old, my Mom decided to move back to her motherland for multiple reasons. But really she just always wanted to move back as soon as there was peace. How I felt about leaving for Eritrea? I hated it. I didn’t want to leave my friends and my home behind. But I had no choice. I didn’t speak the language well, so school was tough at first and it was also hard for me to make friends. To be honest I even refused to learn the language because I didn’t want to accept the fact that I was going to live in Eritrea from then on. It took me some time until I realized I was just making life harder for myself. So I finally started to integrate myself and learned to live the Eritrean way of life. How that is like? Well, compared to Germany very modest. Life is stress-free, people are happy with what they have and are so hospitable. I was happier than ever that I got the chance to know my roots, my culture, the language and learn to live with less. It made me appreciate life more. However, when I turned 17 I decided to move back to Germany, due to better educational prospects. Retrospectively, I must say that I am grateful for this experience. It gave me the opportunity to look at things differently; it influenced my personality because I learned the best of both traditions (i.e. German and Eritrean) and not to forget, it gave me a brighter vision of the inequalities we are facing in this world! I don’t know how my life would have turned out to be if I wasn’t given this opportunity, but it defined who I am today.
When I attended University in Germany, I wanted to go abroad for a semester. I decided to go to Singapore for a 6-months internship with the German company BOSCH. Singapore is a melting pot of cultures in Asia and the headquarter of many international companies. It’s one of the most advanced countries in the World and is very small. People from all over the world live there, mainly Chinese, Indian, Malay and Indonesian. If you are interested in Asian culture, Singapore provides you with the best opportunity in terms of getting a taste of different Asian cultures and of course food (Indian was my favorite btw)!
But that was not enough for me. For my post-graduate program I decided to do a double-degree program, that required me to study abroad for at least one semester. I chose Thailand because I knew the country was amazing and I wanted to spend some time there to discover all the beautiful places. Compared to Singapore, Thailand is huge and the country itself has breathtaking landscapes and islands.
I can only encourage everyone to take the chance and study or work abroad. You can only gain advantages in terms of educational, personal and professional development. I’m obsessed with travelling now and would do it all over again!