This week completed ten years since my wife and I moved to Europe. In this decade, we lived in four countries, visited fifteen others, had the luck of knowing amazing people from all over the world. But was it worthwhile?
Just to be clear, to live in Europe is great. It is peaceful, it is comfortable, it is exciting. Our careers probably would not have advanced to the same extent if we had not moved here.
Our situation is not bad at all: as scientists, we are not subject to the harsh conditions that low-qualified migrants may face; moreover, due to our names and looks, we are easily mistaken for Italians.
Summing everything up, the good things I lived here, I attribute to this wonderful civilizatory experience called European Union. The things that did not go so well were only my fault.
But to live as an expat has its price. You are far away from your family, friends, culture, language. You feel yourself a second-, sometimes third-class citizen. You are like an animated character lost in the wrong cartoon. Even worse, you can find yourself as the funny-accent buffoon of the play.
There is still an aspect that I dislike the most. As an expat, you feel yourself without home. The host land in all its kindness does not feel home. And strangely, when you visit your original place, you do not feel at home either. This is the curse of the expats.
My advice to the young people thinking of going abroad: do it, it is great. Chances are that you are going to grow as a person. But do not overstay your welcome, so that you fall into this homeless limbo. Then, instead of becoming a citizen of the world, you become a foreign everywhere.
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