Moving to a new country means that you sacrifice your status as a respectable member of the society and start over as a random human being elsewhere.
You are a nobody, at least that’s how I felt. I think it was even worse for me as a former journalist at the peak of her career.
No one cared and the few people I told probably thought I wrote newspapers in my native language. People out here don’t know what language we speak in Kenya.
And these things can break you and mess yourself esteem but you must always stay strong and remember who you are. Otherwise, you will find yourself behaving as below:-
1. Become needy and expect a lot
When I first joined Swedish classes I felt like I had traveled back to my childhood. There were people sucking up to the teachers and if the attention was not reciprocated they actually became cold and withdrawn. In a different class, there was a lot of attention seeking to a point the teacher asked the students to stop asking questions. I suspect if the sucking up had gone on one of the students, who was like 35 years old, would have brought apples for the teacher. Just like in Kindergarten. Some things require common sense so don’t always ask everything or expect to be spoonfed. And the hosts in your new country doesn’t owe you any sort of special treatment.
2. Look for your countrymen.
This is something I learned the hard way. When I arrived in Sweden, naturally I just wanted some familiarity. I met a few good people but sadly through my connections, I bumped into some hostile individuals. I even changed gyms after bumping into a Kenyan who felt that I had blogged about her. She also misunderstood my goofiness for something else and suddenly became hostile mid-workout session. It was ugly. I stopped my work out and decided to go home. I quit that gym, disconnected any previous links with any Kenyan I knew (sad that I cut off everyone but I just wasn’t prepared for a second incidence). Since then, I’m a loner taking her time to make new friends. Just because we come from the same country doesn’t mean we are compatible.
3. Compare yourself with others.
This is directly linked to the above statement. The other reason I avoid Kenyans who have been here for so long is that they have already written their stories and while am happy for them I may easily get discouraged by their strides. Let’s be sincere. We are only human. Write your own story, find your crowd and you will be fine!
4. Sell yourself short
Just because you are starting over does not mean you are any less good.
Give yourself time, blow your own trumpet occasionally and showcase your skills. Be ambitious!
5. Stop old habits
This is the worst mistake you could make and it will destroy you. Keep doing what you used to do in your old country as long as it’s legal in the new country. The sudden change of habits can be very dangerous for your psychological behavior. Be yourself as everyone else is taken!
Most immigrants also tend to forget that they are a representation of their country and race. As a die-hard pan African I have found myself in situations where I have to bite my tongue because I cannot defend my people. Be a good brand ambassador!