A small country of Slovenia has surprisingly become a home of quite many expats. What is their motivation to move here? Is it the endlessly beautiful nature and picturesque countryside or is it the love which brought them here?
In the 21st century we travel. We speak several languages. We drink German beer, drive Korean car, eat French cheese and Italian pizza. We leave our homes and move to different countries. And so did I…
In Slovakia, my home country, leaving for abroad is nothing special. My local fellows move to Austria, Germany, the UK, occasionally Australia or USA. Their usual motivation is an interesting career opportunity, better money, new experience, travel, language learning and so on. If you tell someone that you are moving to, let’s say Germany, people’s reaction is normally something like – yes, go for it, it will be a great experience. But, what is their reaction when you tell them that you move to Slovenia…
What? Slovenia? Why?
Well, the reactions were different. 30 percent of people were supportive and found it a great idea. The other 70 percent’s reaction sounded like this – What? Slovenia? Whyyyy? Well, some time ago I wrote an article about misconceptions and wrong beliefs about my home country in the eyes of Slovene people. But, I have to admit that some Slovaks are also not the sharpest tool in the shed – the majority of Slovaks do not know much about Slovenia either. Therefore, I had to deal with a lot of strange questions and facial expressions clearly stating – girl, what are you doing?
Why are foreign people moving to Slovenia?
On the other hand, I can understand their reaction. You simply don’t hear people saying very often that they are about to move to Slovenia. Slovenia, despite its natural and architectural beauty, is clearly not a country where expats would have it easy to integrate, get a job or pass by without the knowledge of Slovene language (I don’t mean it negatively, please don’t kill me ;)). But still, there are some foreigners here, and not just few ones, but actually quite many of them – even more than I expected! It is nothing unusual to see a lot of foreign people in Ljubljana city centre, in Bled and around other the most popular sights here. But, how was my surprise after finding out that there are quite many expats in Kranj (where I currently live) in other parts of Gorenjska region! It is amazing that this small town, surrounded by tremendous Alps has become home of people not only from neighbouring countries but also of people who needed to make a 10-hour flight to get here. Yes, I met here people from far away countries such as Trinidad, India, Indonesia, Mexico or once I accidentally talked to a girl from the Philippines while waiting for a bus.
So, I started to investigate a bit and my findings are pretty interesting! Whereas people leave for western countries in order to improve their economic situation, people leave for Slovenia, to improve their love life! Yes, LOVE is it! Ok, I do not have precise statistics, but I swear that 80 percent expats I talked to, moved here because they were following a partner. (Girls, beware! Seems that Slovene guys are a wanted article!)
The rest of the people, who I met or heard of, came because of the most epic reason! Because they like it here! Yes, because they fell in love with the country, its endlessly beautiful nature and undisturbed peace. These people have my respect because this is something you call THE adventure. Lastly, I have also heard of people who moved here because they have a Slovene ancestry and wanted to follow their family roots. Unlike to the Western countries, the number of people moving here due to a career or business opportunity is not very high but you can still find some people who belong to this category, anyway.
Is it passion, courage or total madness?
Meeting people from all corners of the world and listen to their stories makes me think and admire the human ability to pursue change, to risk everything in order to find happiness in whatever form. It’s not just about leaving your home and friends, it’s about throwing away everything you have created through the course of your life, about burning all bridges, leaving everything behind and leaving your comfort zone to find a place and environment which makes you feel happy. And Slovenia, definitely is a place where to road to happiness is less travelled…
Whatever it takes, I strongly believe that everyone should try to live in a foreign country at least once in a lifetime. Not that only it teaches you to learn more about the world, it also helps to see things from a different angle, to look at yourself, your own culture, your perception of the world, people, problems from a different perspective. Until you possibly realize that what you thought before was not entirely right.
Why did I move here?
Finally, you are probably wondering what has inspired MY decision to move here. Well, it’s been a combination of reasons and it definitely is a long and interesting story. But for now, I leave you to wait a bit and share it with you next time 🙂
And what about you? What interesting story made you to leave your home country? And how was your journey?
Have a happy day!
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