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I am from Romania, one of those Eastern European countries that people either don’t know they exist or they confuse it with another one (the capital is Bucharest, not Budapest). Millions of Romanians left in the past years to work abroad. Doctors, teachers, construction workers. You name it, they’re abroad working. This happened because the average salary in Romania is of about 390 Euros/month, money with which you need to pay rent (or a credit for a house/apartment), utilities and buy food.

In 2012, I left abroad to work. I got a 2-year contract as a postdoc researcher in a Belgian university. I earned a little over 2,000 Euros/month. For Wallonia (the French part of Belgium), the salary was decent. We could rent a nice apartment with almost everything we needed. After paying (for about 4 months) the money that we borrowed to come here, we actually started to save some money. Of course, in Romania people were already looking at us like we were some kind of rich people. That was happening only because we lived in Belgium. We had to move (the building was sold) after a year and that move destroyed our savings. After another year, my contract ended and due to the legislation I couldn’t get a new one at any university in Belgium (weird laws).

So, now, I have been unemployed for about 6 months. But we are still considered the “rich people abroad”.

The misconception: people living abroad are rich. But they are not. Some had no choice but to go abroad to find a job. Others work for 10-12 hours/day to barely live.

I am tired of hearing stuff like that. You are not rich if you live abroad. You are not rich if you can afford to rent a nicer apartment than what you had in Romania. You are not rich if you can afford food each month.

The correction: the majority of people (Romanians) working abroad are doing this because they want a better life for them and their families. Some get rich, some don`t. But this is the same as it would be if they would still be in Romania.

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