According to the International Organization For Migration, there were 167,519 people with residency permits residing in Slovakia in December 2021. That accounts for only 3.07% of the total population of the country. When viewed in this way, the number seems insignificant. But once you begin asking questions and listening to the people, you discover that behind each number is a wealth of stories and experiences that overlap and diverge in myriad ways.
Na Slovensku Aj Po Anglicky, with the support of [fjúžn], is launching a series of episodes as an overview (or guidebook, if you will) of the migrant experience in Slovakia. We want to explore why and how foreigners move to Slovakia, what it is like to live here as a foreigner, and why some ultimately decide to leave. Naturally, these foreigners, who now call Slovakia home, will tell their stories in their own words.
In the first episode of this series, we look at why people decide to leave home and why they choose Slovakia. Of course, some migrants are forced out of their home country, but many are simply dissatisfied. Whereas, others are looking for education, opportunity, or adventure. In the end, leaving home is only a piece of the migrant story.
It is where these courageous souls finally settle that ultimately influences the direction of their lives. For better or worse, the “where” for these migrants is Slovakia. Their reasons for choosing Slovakia are as varied and numerous as their reasons for leaving home. Individually, they may appreciate the culture, scenery, affordability, or geographical location. Some may come looking for love or a job.
Regardless of their unique circumstances, these migrants have one thing in common, they all have made their way to Slovakia in hopes of finding a life full of purpose, dignity, love, and happiness.
Thank you to all of my guests Lorin Utch, Lia Bowers, Navid, Daria Rychagova, Miron Domitrescu, Yunus, Aubrey Mathis, and Jamie Byrne.
This podcast and my series on migration is supported by Fjúžn, a program of the Milan Simecka Foundation, whose goal is to create a platform for migrants living Slovakia whose voice should be heard more in our society. Fjúžn hosts the Fjúžn festival and with the cooperation of migrants and their communities organizes other events around the country to showcase the art, projects, perspectives and stories of these lesser known people. To learn more about their events, hear the stories of other migrants in Slovakia and listen to this podcast series, visit www.fjuzn.sk
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