“The fence is made from sausage”. Which is so, so far from reality!
A story by Krisztina
Country of origin: Hungary
Country of destination: Denmark
Why did you take part in a mobility experience?
My initial reason for going abroad was that I wanted to increase my chances on the job market by enhancing my English skills. I felt I knew the whole English grammar pretty well but it was a problem for me to hold a conversation with foreigners. So, I said: “I need to go to a place where it is impossible to switch to Hungarian if I cannot make people understand me!” It worked well, after 3 months I started dreaming in English and after 1 year my American boss says my English is excellent. That is one of the biggest compliments I have ever received!!
If not, why did you decide to go back?
I didn’t go back. A lot of people did, but I did not! From the first second of my stay abroad I knew I wanted to do an internship also abroad, so that’s exactly what I am doing right now. I am having a work placement in the United Kingdom. Why? I am not planning to go back to Hungary on the short run, maybe in 5-10 years. Right now I am completely fond of travelling, I would like to explore as many places on this planet, as many it is possible. I am one of those crazy people who got addicted to travelling, and I absolutely wouldn’t mind living in a new country in every half a year.
What did mobility bring to your life; from a personal and professional point of view?
In Hungarian when something is really cool, rich and up-scale, we have a saying, which translated to English is something like “The fence is made from sausage”. Well, a lot of people believe that outside of the home country fences are made from sausage. Which is so, so far from reality! Yes, in Denmark the wages are higher, the social system is fascinating, people speak perfect English (yes, even the 98-year-old grandma and the 4-year-old toddler), they are healthy by eating clean and biking instead of using any other vehicle, and they are calm by feeling safe about their future. It was life-changing to experience all of these. But on the other hand, do people know that even the easiest things can get really difficult when you are in another country? For example, everything was soooo difficult and annoyingly slow in the beginning! It’s great to have a bike, but would you also enjoy going with it in heavy rain every day, giant wind, snow, and ice, just because buses are so rare? Or when your muscles are not strong enough yet, and you cry on your bicycle because you know you have to arrive at the university on time, even if the pain is unbearable? I remember I was tired all the time, and never had time for anything (okay, it’s true that I always found some time for parties…) but then I got somehow used to my environment. Today I pretty much miss my Danish bike and feel like buying one also here, in the UK. Similarly, I would never exchange my experiences in Denmark for anything, because those things made stronger (physically and mentally), made me understand myself and the world better, made me also more tolerant and open, richer in the soul and ultimately…I became an adult. Now I am 23 and feel excited about what the future brings and I am SURE that I will be able to tackle any difficulties.
Do you feel that mobility helped you to feel like a European citizenship?
When people ask me where I am from, I sometimes seriously hesitate. Should I say Hungary, where I spent the first 22 years of my life? Or should I say Denmark, which made me who I am by now? Or should I say the UK, which is my current location? I prefer answering I am international: I am not local but from abroad, but at the same time boundaries between countries don’t have any significance for me anymore.
Would you advise a mobility experience to your friends/family?
People around me may feel actually a bit bored of hearing from me every day “You should go!!” In my opinion we all should go, while we are young. There are millions of amazing places around the world, and it’s better to see them now, when we are students or young professionals, with less constraints. Later people may want to get married and have children, and it is more difficult to mobilize a whole family. But even if you don’t want family or children, later you will be less motivated to risk your job and career. So, I advise every youth to go, everyone should enjoy that we can move freely inside the European Union, and that we can even get a grant to cover the expenses!