Favorite quote/life motto: If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door
First of all, I would like to share my favourite motto that plays a big role in my own personal migration story: “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door”. In my opinion, the quote is self-explanatory – sometimes you have to move (very) outside your comfort zone and start little by little investing your time and energy in achieving your life goals.
My name is Raymond Dolan and I am 24 years old. I was born in Galway, Ireland and grew up in a typical Irish household in the countryside. As far as I remember, I have always been a lover of everything foreign-cultures and languages related. When I was only 5 years old, my family began accepting a Spanish student every summer to help them improve their English skills. I do think that this experience at such a young age really opened my eyes to foreign cultures, foreign languages, and different ways of thinking and so on. We accepted the Spanish student into our family so that she could improve her English, and she left having enriched my life with another view of the world.
I have been living in Munich, Germany for approximately two years. Before this, I was living in Spain (what a shocker). I studied foreign languages (French, Spanish & German) in university in Ireland which really allowed me to gain important cultural knowledge and understanding in each of the countries as I can understand and communicate with the local people. My reasons for moving my life to Munich included personal life objectives, work-life-balance and social aspects. I had already been in Munich before and therefore already had had somewhat of a circle of friends. Having been in Spain beforehand and finding it quite difficult to make friends, this was definitely a major plus and relieved a lot of the nerves when moving to a new place. It would be stupid to say that I did not come here for the financial gains. It was not one of main reasons, but it did play a role as I am aware that the economy in Munich especially is doing very well and the salaries are generally higher than those in Ireland. Finally, and probably the most important reason, was because of Mother Nature herself! I am a massive fan of the beautiful Alps and Munich is therefore the ideal location. Every weekend, at least in summer, I try to head to the mountains and take in the beautiful views either from the top of a mountain or side of a pristine-blue lake. You really do have the best surroundings to completely relax, wind down and forget about the stresses of the working week.
As mentioned already, I had already been in Munich before moving here so it was not difficult to accustom to life here. I had a good group of friends, I could speak the language and also I got a job within a small company where the employees are extremely friendly, open and caring. Luckily, I was financially independent and had been saving up money before my move in case of an emergency situation. Of course, this description all sounds ideal, but there are always bumps along the way. For example, missing out on family events and seeing photos in the WhatsApp group or on Facebook. This definitely hurts and can bring you down but at the same time reinforces the significance of family in your life. And even though you are surrounded by friends or close-ones in your new home, you will still have days where you do not want to leave the walls of your room due to missing home. This happens, more than likely to everyone, and it is not something to be fearful about. It is completely normal and will pass with the time.
Even though I do not plan in staying in Munich for the rest of my life, the decision to pack my bags and move my life to this beautiful city has definitely not been a regret of mine. At times it has been incredibly difficult and the language differences, cultural variations and general outlook on life can cause frustration. However, it is an amazing experience to see life through the eyes of another culture. I love to question life and our beliefs, and this experience has allowed me to question some of my own Irish customs and beliefs that have been “normal” for me my whole life. I have learned to respect all opinions and beliefs and to try and understand them better: just because somebody believes something different does not make them in any way inferior to you. This experience has definitely made me realise that we are all the same under all our differences and beliefs. I have definitely grown up as a person and am delighted that I have gotten to know some fantastic people and improve my language skills immensely throughout my time in my new “home”. I am a completely different person in comparison to two years ago and am really proud that I took the leap and jumped outside of my comfort zone.
Plans for the future include moving to Asia … I think this will definitely require a bungee-jump rather than a leap, but an exciting and rewarding experience nonetheless!