In the 21 years that I have lived abroad, I had a mix of experiences. Some of them were good while others were not so cool. However, overall my journey has been amazing. There are many moments that I am proud of and still amazed at how my life has tuned out. I never imagined that I would be where I am today.
In this blog post, I will share the ten things that I am proud of accomplishing in 21 years of living abroad. Check out my other Her Relocation blog posts about my experiences living in Nigeria, Germany, and the US.
#1: Becoming independent
At the young age of 15, I moved from Nigeria to Germany. It was the official start of me having to fend for myself and make critical decisions. I felt so grown-up back then, and now when I think back, I realize how young I really was. Being so young and figuring out my life is something that makes me very proud.
#2: Paying for my way through school
I will forever be grateful to all the families that allowed me to care for their children. The money I made from babysitting, working in cafes, and on-campus helped pay for my life as a student. I know it's a big deal that I was able to support myself and my sister financially.
#3: Earning my first and second degree
If you had followed my story, you would know that it took me longer than expected to get my first degree. I changed my under-grad course twice, and it took me about seven years to finally get my Bachelors degree. That did not stop me from going ahead to start my Masters. I decided to study part-time while I worked my full-time job. Finishing my Masters degree in the planned time is something I am very proud of.
#4: Getting my German passport
One of the most complex parts of being an immigrant is securing a visa or legal stay approval. For ten years of living in Germany, I was on a visa that granted me a short time stay of six months. This was a very stressful process, and I felt really relieved when I was finally eligible to apply for a German passport. The truth is that traveling and living in other countries became much more accessible than when I only had a Nigerian passport.
#5: Building my family and home
My family is one of my biggest accomplishments in life. I have people that I love and get to spend my life with. In addition, finding a place where I really feel at home was not always easy. I am proud of the fact that I have been able to have my family, find my place, and be settled now.
#6: Being able to give back
I feel very fortunate to be able to meet my own needs and support people around me. Years ago, I was struggling to afford my basic needs. Being financially stable was the first step, and then I was able to start building wealth that helped me afford to invest in my loved ones' lives as well.
#7: Following my passions
In the early days of my journey, I focused more on surviving and didn't have much time to invest in my passion projects. The truth is that I didn't know what I was passionate about. In recent years, I have been able to spend more time doing things that I really enjoy. My blog is one of the things that I have always wanted to do, and I have finally gotten to do it.
#8: Having a successful career
I started as a babysitter and worked many minimum wage jobs to pay my way through college. After graduating, I started building my career as a project manager from scratch. I did not have the access or network that some of my peers did. It took a lot of hard work to achieve the professional success that I have experienced so far.
#9: Finding happiness in life
On my journey living abroad, I have experienced a lot of ups and downs. It took me a long time to get to a place where I was genuinely happy. I am now at a place in my life where I feel satisfied and excited for the future.
#10: Staying true to who I am
As an immigrant, your identity is a complex topic to navigate. I have lived in many countries and have been influenced by many life experiences. I now know who I am and am confident in what I can offer the world.
Reflecting on the past 21 years, I am very grateful for how far I have come. Although the first years were very rocky, I am where I was destined to be. All my experiences made me who I am today.