With more ex-pats relocating to the diaspora, I thought it would be a good idea to get people to share their relocation stories. I launched the series by sharing my ten-year journey to naturalisation (read here). Today’s contributor is Ruth Onaghinon – Badmos who has relocated to 4 continents in 10 years.
I’ll start off by sharing that I have relocated three times and lived in 4 continents. The first time I left home was to study at one of the top-rated universities in the United Kingdom for a Master’s degree. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in school and even stayed back to work for some time after graduation on a post-study work visa.
Although I initially thought the UK would be my home until retirement, my boyfriend lived and worked in the Middle East so conversations had begun to get serious on where we would reside after marriage. Also, the knife crime in the UK became worrying as well as the numerous hurdles facing people of colour, and so I was not too keen on remaining in the UK. As a woman who enjoys her career, the thought of resigning to sit at home in the Middle East after marriage did not appeal to me.
We had to reach a compromise—he would apply for jobs over there for me, and I’ll do same over here for him, and once either of us got past the interview stage followed by an offer letter, we would revisit the conversation. He made headway before I did, so off I went to the Middle East in March of that year for interviews. By April, I had given one month’s notice at my job in the UK, and by May, I was back in the Middle East working in the oil and gas sector. It was beautiful living and working there and just like when I moved to the UK, I thought this new tax-free country would be home forever. I settled into work, marriage and had two awesome sons.
About 7 years into living in the Middle East, there were diplomatic issues between the two countries. The country I resided in had requested citizens of another Middle Eastern country to return to their homeland. This gave me cause for worry as I realised that my life could be ripped apart in a minute should my country of origin have issues with this country I was living in. I didn’t want to have to throw my children into such chaos; once more, my husband and I had to evaluate all options, with stability and security foremost on our minds. We prayed, scoured the internet and spoke to a few people before settling on Canada. Thankfully, there is a programme for skilled professionals to immigrate to Canada as permanent residents (the steps involved in enrolling in this Express Entry scheme can be found at http://www.jahdal.com). Two years ago, we moved to Canada, and I have remained grateful every day for the courage to reach this decision.
Canada is culturally different from where we previously called home. That is part of what makes the journey beautiful because you’re learning and immersing yourself in a new culture. It took some time getting used to the tax system in Canada (this was really a shocker!), but I am super grateful to live in a country where I can see the government working; this makes me a happy taxpayer. I plan to contribute to my country of origin through the skills and expertise I continue to garner. I am very invested in Africa and eagerly look forward to doing my part. I sincerely believe that those of us who gain work experience and exposure from other countries would be able to apply our quota in developing our African countries.
Above all, I am glad I’ve had the opportunity to travel and work in different continents. I now embrace change readily and understand people a lot more. A part of me hopes the relocation is not over; I am open to exploring more cultures by living and working in other countries, though that would not be in the next few years.
Ruth Iyayi currently works as Head of IT at the Research Institute of the province’s foremost facility for child health. She’s a firm believer of gaining exposure and learning cultures through relocation.
When not working, she enjoys being on the internet and alternates between social sites like Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. She pens down some of her thoughts on her website, where she writes about relocating to Canada and breaks down the complexity of the Express Entry scheme for skilled professionals. She hopes more people see the opportunity of moving to Canada presents and can act on it.
All posts on Naomi’s Parlour are edited by Ife Agboola.