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WHY IT IS OK TO FAIL WHEN YOU MOVE ABROAD

DO YOU EMBRACE FAILURE AS A FACT OF LIFE, LEARN FROM IT, AND GROW? OR DOES FAILURE FILL YOU WITH FEAR, SHAME, AND REGRET? HOW DO YOU RESPOND TO THE CLASH BETWEEN THE REALITY OF LIFE ABROAD AND YOUR EXPECTATIONS? DID YOU KNOW FAILURE IS A GIFT? PHOTOGRAPHS JUDY WANJIKU JØRGENSEN / ISTOCK PHOTO

TEXT JUDY WANJIKU JØRGENSEN

O

OF ALL THE emotional setbacks we face in life, failure perhaps ranks highest. Failure is a unifying human condition. How you respond to failure is what dictates the direction of your life. Moving abroad, whether as an immigrant or expat, comes with its own set of expectations, many of which may not work out the way we hope and expect. Settling into a new country, may present a unique set of challenges that you could probably navigate with ease in your home country. When you make a drastic move like moving abroad, the risk of failure may come in different situations. Many people find themselves not adjusting well to the clash between reality and expectations. The initial inability to find a job that aligns with your ambitions, or provide for your family an idealistic failure, can turn into disillusionment, anger, and overwhelming feeling of failure.

JUDY WANJIKU JØRGENSEN JOURNALIST, WRITER, PHOTOGRAPHER

LIFE’S DETOURS DO NOT EQUATE TO FAILURE Six years ago, Ioana Opris, founder of It’s OK to fail, stepped out of her comfort zone in Romania. Her conviction to leave Romania came after a business venture went sour and a failed ambition to pursue her music career. The ambitious ideal of relocating to Denmark took a dramatic twist. And it seemed for some time that her life was turning into a game of survival: from playing poker games, sleeping on a friend’s couch, to doing cleaning jobs. In hindsight, with the pressure to survive, she failed to recognise that she was competent enough to pursue an engineering job, with the degree she had earned from Romania. Like Ioana, many Internationals often short change themselves into believing they are not good enough to pursue the life they want. People feel trapped inside the mindset of failure, preventing them from pushing further beyond the bumpy road of transitioning into life abroad. Many times when we move abroad, we seek out people who are from our home countries as sources of shared experiences. However, as Ioana discovered, the circle of familiarity can turn toxic. When all people do is share their failures, complain about their new host country. Venting frustrations happen without offering real motivation or insight into how one can maximise the benefits of living abroad. As a result, Internationals can end up wading through life with a victim mentality.

Judy is a journalist and writer, fuelled by a passion for bringing words to life. She has also been a photographer for 11 years. Her hunger for knowledge first led

SIX YEARS AGO, IOANA OPRIS, FOUNDER

her to Denmark on a scholarship for

OF IT'S OK TO FAIL, STEPPED OUT OF

an MA in Journalism at Aarhus Univer-

HER COMFORT XONE IN ROMANIA.

FAILURE IS A GIFT

achieving their goals. Ioana believes regretting failure and blaming yourself, or others will hinder you for taking active action. Whatever failure you encounter in your life abroad, use it as a chance to reinvent yourself, and recognise that success is often the total sum of multiple failures. Failing to realise your initial goals when you move abroad is not a failure. When your life takes a detour, thus filling you with uncertainty is not a failure. It is perfectly OK to realise that you might need to change course or adjust expectations. Life abroad is an opportunity to try different options, to test your tenacity, and to learn that you are stronger than you think. So choose to be kinder to yourself, over time, you might see failure as a gift in disguise. THE-INTL

Despite her dance with failure, Ioana has reunited with her passion for music. She also set up a coaching initiative, It’s OK to fail, for Internationals in need of motivation and skills towards

You can find Ioana Opris on LinkedIn or Facebook *It’s OK to Fail*

SEPTEMBER 2019 - WWW.THE-INTL.COM

sity. Love made her stay. She is now a mother of two Afro-Viking boys. Judy is currently working as a freelance journalist and photographer and is always interested in a challenge. Reach out on judysimon2002@ yahoo.com

www.judywanderi.net

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The International - September 2019  

Time to celebrate internationally. Happiness is a state of mind, so get into a happy state this International Day. Get out there, make some...

The International - September 2019  

Time to celebrate internationally. Happiness is a state of mind, so get into a happy state this International Day. Get out there, make some...

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