We met Slavomira on Gibraltar. It is another one from skilled Slovaks who are successful abroad and do not think of coming back to Slovakia at all. That she lives in Spain is no coincidence. As she stated, anywhere you live you have to go to work. What you however do with the time afterwards is up to you. And exactly that time afterwards she likes to spend in an environment that reminds most of us of holiday. Summer, sun, sea, beach. She told us more about it in the interview below.
Vista Travellers: In which countries have you been living and working up until now?
Slavomira: In Slovakia, Austria, England, Ireland, Italy. I am working in Gibraltar at the moment as well as on Mallorca. I live in Spain currently, but I also lived on the Canaries before – on Tenerife.
Vista Travellers: Why did you decide to leave Slovakia and what motivates you to stay abroad further on?
Slavomira: I left Slovakia immediately after I finished my university studies. During the last year of my studies I worked in a service center of an international company located in Bratislava. I however decided to quit as soon as I finished the university and to try my luck abroad.
At the moment I am living in Spain and working in Gibraltar. I moved here following the desire to live my life in a different way than is currently typical for the majority of the society. Anywhere you live you have to go to work – as in Spain, as well as in Slovakia. What you however do with the time afterwards is fully up to you. My boyfriend and I, we love the walks with our dog on the beach or through the golf greens in our neighborhood.
We like to have a cup of coffee in our small city center. Or we go to chiringuito on the beach (chiringuito is a beach bar or a small restaurant) and enjoy the beautiful view.
We spend as much time out on fresh air as possible. We go for a walk even in a rainy weather. Here in Spain it is not cold even when it is raining.
On weekends we visit the nearby cities. There is a lot to discover in both directions from Gibraltar – to Malaga as well as to Cadiz. During the upcoming Christmas we plan to go to Sierra Nevada. We want to enjoy the winter and the winter atmosphere for a change.
Vista Travellers: What do you think you gained with the decision to live and work abroad and what did you lose?
Slavomira: I do not think I would have lost anything due to my decision to live and to work abroad. On the contrary, living abroad has offered me various career opportunities.
Vista Travellers: What did you like most about the countries where you have lived by now and/or about their inhabitants? What did you appreciate most?
Slavomira: Each country has something to be appreciated as well as something that is typical for the country. Sometimes it is something you have to get used to but you always have to accept it (e.g. to be late more than an hour for a meeting etc.). Country that charmed me most was Italy and I find the Italians very interesting. It is a nation full of energy and good nature with a fantastic cuisine.
Vista Travellers: Have all the expectations you had in relation to living and working abroad been met or were there also some disappointments?
Slavomira: I am very satisfied with my job. I travel a lot at my job and so I cannot get tired from staying too long on one place. I just can think of one disappointment here in Spain. It is the incompetency of the so called “paid professionals”. It is nothing extraordinary in Spain that a gardener works as an electrician, a motor vehicle mechanic works as a chef etc. Their results often correspond with this fact.
Vista Travellers: Do you consider going back to Slovakia? If not what must happen in order to change your mind?
Slavomira: At the moment, I do not consider going back to Slovakia. I am however open to any possibilities.
Vista Travellers: Are you aware of the development in Slovakia as for the politics and the situation in the society?
Slavomira: Not really. I do not even watch the Slovak television. (laugh)
Vista Travellers: But you visit Slovakia from time to time, don’t you? How often? Have you noticed during the visits some odd changes in people’s behavior? Did anything shock or surprise you?
Slavomira: By each visit to Slovakia I feel more and more distant. I have the feeling that I do not belong there anymore and my home is outside my homeland. There are still more and more faces I cannot recognize anymore and I am losing contact with my school mates and my friends. It is true however that I do not visit Slovakia as often as I should. So I am also partially responsible for this status quo.
Vista Travellers: Although you work for a British company, it is not possible to find two people with the same nationality in your team. Who do you work with? In your opinion, does such diversity have more pluses or minuses?
Slavomira: There are definitely more pluses. It is interesting to cooperate with 13 different nationalities (Argentina, Bulgaria, Romania, Portugal, Turkey, Germany, England, Ireland, Hungary, Poland, Gibraltar, Spain, Austria). Although we are all of different nationalities we are approximately at the same age. I find it very beneficial.
We spend quite a lot of time together at work. When we travel and take part in different events sometimes we are together for more than 20 hours a day. To respect and understand each other is therefore essential. Even if it is interesting to work in such an international team sometimes it can be quite challenging. Recently, we were supposed to suggest the program of our team building. Everybody had a great idea what to do. We however could realize only one of the ideas. And that was the real challenge. We finally decided to organize a day of the national cuisines. Everybody brought something typical for his or her country. It was great.
Vista Travellers: Do you think this internationality has a significant impact on the overall result of your team’s work?
Slavomira: I do not think so. The whole team is used to work internationally. Similarly to Malta, Gibraltar is a center where many international companies have their headquarters.
Vista Travellers: Based on your experience with different nations, do you think there is something we Slovaks should take over from other European nations? Some positive character or useful skill you have noticed by the others but the Slovaks miss it?
Slavomira: I think we Slovaks should not stress that much. We should not bother that much about what will be tomorrow. Instead, we should take care of what is today.
Vista Travellers: If you had the possibility to take one thing from Slovakia and bring it to Spain, what would it be?
Slavomira: If I had the possibility I would definitely bring the Slovak cuisine to Spain. Spain with the Slovak cuisine would be the ideal country for me. (laugh)