Have you ever had the feeling of wanting to change, leave, explore new places and experiences? Much more if you feel stuck in a small town where being open minded and having ambitions is not that popular. Yes, this is how I felt and why I decided to leave the sunny and warm Calabria (Italy) to ended up living in Utrecht.
After I graduated at university and spending almost one year in Barcelona, I have decided that I wanted more than what I had, I'm not usually happy with the least I can get, I like challenges and always aim to the best. Back then I didn't have much money, well to be honest I didn't have any at all, so I started to look for a solution suitable for my situation, something that could give me the opportunity to travel while spending almost nothing. Do you think it was impossible? If your answer is yes, you got it wrong 😉
I have decided to become an aupair, which means living with a local family while helping out with the kids and normal house routine, in exchange I didn't have to pay for food or rent. I found a very lovely family that took me in as one of the real family members, and they introduced me to the new (to me) Dutch world. I didn't speak any word of the local language and I didn't know anyone there, not to mention the fact that I have never been to The Netherlands before that, not even as a tourist.
Throughout the months I lived with this family, I have learned a lot about the culture, the city and country, and I even started Dutch lessons as I strongly wanted to be able to have at least a basic conversation. I have to say that I was very lucky in finding this family, as they supported and helped me a lot with everything. The sad part was that one day I was told they were moving to the North of the country for job reasons, I was very welcome to move with them but then I had to make a decision: follow them or stay in Utrecht (close to Amsterdam) where I may have more chances to find a job considering I'm not fluent in Dutch? Guess what, I went for the second one and decided to look for a job.
It wasn't easy at the beginning and I had to work hard, first to find a job and then to survive with what I had found, which was a standard employee in a warehouse so not my dreaming job and, on top of that, the salary was low. But this helped me to get to know the market and myself. I entered the cycle of working people and I made my way through until I found a better job, and started to build up my career. I worked first with a startup translating data from English and Spanish to Italian, and after I joined an international company working in the travel industry - where I stayed for about 5 years. At a certain point I was given the opportunity to work with this company from Italy and, for personal reasons, I have decided to go for it.
I have spent 2 years in Milan and other 2 years in Florence always working with the same company. I took and learned everything I could from this job, which gave me a solid experience in the role, in the industry and in the working environment in general. I really enjoyed this time, but still...there was something about Utrecht that was calling me back! I could not resist, nor avoid that little voice. Yes, you're right: I have decided to move back again to Holland, and specifically to Utrecht. I took a bit of a crazy decision as I quit my job, left everything I had there and started (again) from scratch in Utrecht. It will never be enough to say thanks to my 2 wonderful friends who helped and supported me in this moment.
How did it go? Well, I'm not going to lie and say that it went perfectly fine, because I had to re-start all over again and be able to find a job to be up and running as soon as possible. So, a lot of challenges but I'm proud to say that I made it! I found the job that helped me to start again and do it in the right field, exactly where I wanted to build my career, I looked for my own place and....today I can say that I'm 100% sure I made the right decision. I'm much more happier and satisfied!
All these experiences gave me a lot of opportunities, not just related to my career, but enhancing my personal growth as well. I have learned so much about myself, what I like, what are my ambitions and what makes me happy. Since then I can't stop....I never choose the easy way, and I take any risk that comes on my way. It's not always easy and sometimes I had (and still have) the feeling that I can't make it or I don't see the way out. But trust me, if you really believe in it, you will always find the energy to fight and make your dreams come true!