Relocating to another country is certainly not an easy task. However, although often challenging, this experience also turns out to be very rewarding. By sharing the success stories of our friends, community members, and employees, we hope to encourage all the young people out there to give this unique opportunity a try.
Today, we are continuing with the series of blog articles about successful relocation stories of women that have made their dream of living in Germany come true.
Stay on target | From here to there
The experience of Jessica Morris
I think people underestimate the journey outlanders go through to make a new life in Germany – the determination and persistence they must exude every step along the way. What it comes down to is have a target and never lose sight of it. It’s the only way to make the microscopic steps of language learning and skill building it takes to go from A to B, when A is home and B is far, far from everything you thought you knew.
My husband and I decided four years ago that we wanted to live abroad. We needed a change from the stress of Washington D.C. and wanted our daughter to grow up bilingual.
I started learning French and my husband took a hardship posting in the middle east for six months just after our daughter turned one. I was a new managing director, commuted 3 hours daily, had a toddler, and suffered from an autoimmune disease called Addison’s that makes me sick when under too much physical stress. The six months were brutal, but daily persistence and a strong bond with my husband got us through. He came back highly qualified to get a posting in Europe and we immediately started looking.
This ordeal was barely the first step. My career in public education was completely US-centric. Then my husband found the perfect posting: Frankfurt, a capital of banking and consulting, with barely a hint of a nonprofit sector to be found. I switched immediately from French to German, using my three-hour commute for the Pimsleur language program on Audible. Then I spent six months studying for the new GRE. I decided an MBA from the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management was my ticket to starting over abroad. New industry, sector, language, and country. It seemed impossible. I learned new words every day with the Lingvist App, read German stories daily to my daughter, aimed for top of class to show I was fit for business, and sought my own thesis partner in the tech sector. My husband cooked, did laundry, and cared for our daughter during late and weekend classes. I went from an MBA to four months of full-time German.
Despite all that, after seven months and 80 tailored cover letters, the right job hadn’t come. We nearly decided to go back to the US. It was heartbreaking. Then that day I landed an interview at Amazon Web Services after my third attempt at applying. I started a week ago. I am now a senior manager at AWS tasked with building a new Digital Skills program across the DACH region. I will collaborate with governments and public institutions to bring IT training to the unemployed, refugees, women, youth, and the elderly.
It scares me that after so much persistence, I almost gave up under the challenge of getting work in Germany. But I did not give up, and now a whole new, amazing chapter has opened in my life. I will influence thousands. I will open new doors with them so they can find the transformative new opportunities we all seek at some point in our lives. Stay on target and never give up. It’s worth it!
Behind every successful woman is a beautiful family.
The experience of Lusine Vatyan
I am a mother, a wife, and a student in a foreign country. Each of these words means a lot to me. Each is a full-time job. And the funny thing is such a common situation globally. The majority of women who have dreams and ambitions are multi-tasking like me. Born in Armenia, I remember days as a young girl, when I looked up at the sky and wanted to fly to the stars. Like a beautiful bird. Growing up, I realized it was this dream of flying above and beyond that makes the person who I am. I grew up with a happy childhood and an encouraging family. Very early, I discovered that I was good at numbers and mathematics, a trait that made my parents proud. I wanted to build on this talent and decided to study Economic Cybernetics and obtained my diploma at Yerevan State University of Economics. I started my career as an Accountant in 2006, in a matter of 7 years, I was promoted as the Chief Accounting Officer. I had grown from being a member of a team to heading an even bigger one. I met the love of my life who also is my best friend and we got married in a blissful ceremony. In a couple of years, I was gifted with a precious bundle of joy our princess and we named her Ani.
When life was progressing at a steady pace, my husband decided to move to Germany to pursue his Masters degree in Information Technology. This was the turning point in our lives. Germany is a land of new opportunities and was welcoming talented internationals in all fields of work. I decided to support this decision, even though it meant living apart for most part of the year. After he completed his education and landed himself a job, I joined him, quitting my job and embarking a journey of hope and love. The initial few months were stressful with me learning the language, practicing driving and signing up for classes during the hours when my husband was free, so that he could take care of Ani. With my daughter so young, I wanted to spend time with her and support my husband. But very quickly I realized that I was not content. I dreamt of a gratifying career in Germany. I craved for a regular routine of having a profession, and spending quality time with family in the evenings and weekends, being financially independent and planning future.
I first started checking for job opportunities based on my bachelor qualification. I took up a job in Germany to understand the work culture here. Everything seemed chaotic, yet usual. As soon as I started working, I sensed normalcy. I put my baby girl in a kindergarten and planned my entire week sometimes a month in advance. Cooking, Shopping, Vacation, Holidays, Sports, Finances, Taxes everything was planned and prepared for. It seemed perfect, except for my desire to stretch further. Soon I understood that I required a Master’s Degree in order to advance in my career. I had to clear admission exams and was fervently collecting university brochures and pamphlets scanning for courses that would best suit me.
I could easily foresee that the next four to five years would be jampacked not just for me, but for my entire family. I decided to talk to my little girl about my pursuit and prepare her for it. I made her feel that she was an important part of this and emphasized that her contribution was critical. My husband on the other hand was offering to support me with my daughter and the household work. He was there emotionally and physically for me as it was clear to both of us, that we had to work as team, stronger than ever. This is when I truly realized that just like for men, behind every successful woman is a supportive husband and family. This was the first win. Working as a team and making family goals helped me handle rough days at work, as my family was there to motivate me and out me back on track.
I got admissions to one of the best Economics University in Germany. The first day at college was unusual. I felt out of place and was questioning my decision already. But without much of a fuss and in no time, I became the girl back in Armenia who enjoyed learning, presenting and debating concepts and ideas. I felt lively. The adrenaline rush was so quick and exciting. It felt right. I had put my feet on the first step towards my dream career. What I dreaded would be an exasperating, challenging phase turned out to be the best years of our family. I was enjoying every bit of it. It was exhilarating.
I was walking home from university on one autumn evening and it was drizzling. The air was fresh and inviting. The rain took me back to Armenia, when one day my schoolteacher was walking with me on a wet ground. She asked me what I wanted to be when I grow up. I had replied in a confident tone, I want to fly. I want to reach the stars. But it seems too far. She smiled back at me and said, you know Lusi, the fly to the stars could be tough. But when you so badly want to go there, you must try and work towards it. And remember, if you could push yourself up above, you not only could reach a star, you could be one. Today, I realized I am pushing myself up to fly, to challenge my boundaries and yes, to become a star.