Mobility helped me to open my eyes
A story by: Janja
Country of Origin: Slovenia
Country of destination: Ireland
I decided to take part in the mobility experience because of many reasons. The most important was an opportunity to grow professionally. As a pastry chef in Slovenia it is hard to find someone to learn from so I decided to quit my job and sick a new learning opportunity abroad. Thanks to the ZNI I got my chance in Ireland.
It was very easy for me to get an internship in a noted restaurant with a Michelin star. I learned a lot about new methods and trends in the word’s kitchen. The most pleasant experience I have learned there was efficient team work and respect among colleges. The level of professionalism really impressed me. When my internship was heading towards the end I already knew that I want to come back. If not in Ireland than to any another European country. When I got home I immediately applied for some jobs and soon I got a positive feedback from different restaurants all over Ireland. Finding a job on my own in a foreign country was a step forward in the terms of learning process. Although my internship was quite a short term occupation it gave me enough confidence to find a job in Ireland. The job I got was hard but rewarding because I got recognition that my work is good. By putting myself to the test in a foreigner environment I feel that my limitations have been broadened.
Mobility helped me to open my eyes to a new perspective in life. Before I took my internship abroad I was sure that a simple pastry chef like me cannot do much of a difference but I was proven wrong. During ten weeks of the mobility I learned a lot about myself. For example how my personal strengths can be used for many good things. I have a high moral and work ethic witch I can use for a positive change in my mentality and at the same time to influence the others. I have realized how important is to brake the social patterns that usually restrain us. Mobility gave me a clear idea how an individual voice can be heard if applied appropriate. Each one of us can do a change if one only chose to be a part of it. Being open-minded is a part of every positive change. I was always thinking that I am quite open minded but the internship experience showed that there are still limits I need to overcome. For example, I caught myself thinking negative about poor Irish people until I met one of them. This lady told me her life story, how she was raised, how she w as educated, what values she adopted from her parents and so on. From this friendship I learned that judging people without knowing their social background does not make any sense.
Other big personal growth was learning how adapt to quick changes of living environment. Living in a shared house with complete strangers from different countries and social backgrounds may rather be a challenging task. In many cases diplomatic approach can avoid serious conflicts. Living in the same house with ten people is a really good test for our flexibility.
From a professional point of view I learned a couple of new things like how a good worker is respected. In Ireland craft skills are being appreciated and not underrated like I was use to from Slovenia. Sharing information and knowledge is another good lesson I learned. For example as much I was eager to learn from my head chef he was always eager to learn from myself. That showed me that respect among colleges in the working environment could be achieved. Something I was always missing in my home country.
I am not sure whether mobility helped me to feel more like a European citizen because I always felt like a world citizen. However internship had definitely opened new horizons for me. I learned a lot about living as an immigrant. I realized that as soon as I moved from my home country I became an immigrant as well. It is mainly up to our self how we adopt into a new environment. I like diverse population of the country I’m living at the moment. I would like to move to the other country in the near future. Mobility experience helped me in this regard. I feel more flexible and capable to adapt to changes new environment may bring. Since I live abroad I travel more. By travelling I met more people and seeing different cultures. More I have seen more I am aware of importance to learn about different cultures.
I would highly recommend mobility to everybody. Especially to the people who are not happy with their situation and cannot see any solutions how to move on or to change their curse of life. I know it is hard to embark on a new journey with having no idea where the road will take you. However, at the same time it is excited and if you are open enough to look inside of yourself it is a growth opportunity like no other.
Janja Kosancic 09.06.2014