A group of Kenyans living and working in the diaspora spoke to Life & Style about their experiences in a foreign country.
VICTOR OMONDI, 28
I moved from Kenya in 2021 for further studies after securing a scholarship to pursue a joint Master’s degree in Limnology and Wetlands management.
The degree is jointly offered by Boku University in Vienna Austria, Egerton University in Nakuru Kenya and IHE Delft Institute for Water Education, the Netherlands.
I started my classes in September 2021 and I am currently preparing for my graduation on April 25, 2023.
My experience in the Netherlands has been amazing. My relocation presented me with an opportunity to explore and interact with people from different regions and continents.
When I came here two years ago, I faced a little culture shock, but I have now adjusted.
This was not my first time travelling out of the country. I have been to Austria City in Vienna where I attended the first semester of my programme in September 2021.
My experience there was also amazing. The citizens of the country were friendly. My only challenge was the language barrier.
Most of the residents there speak German while I could not speak the language well enough to be understood.
What I like about the Netherlands is that the public transport, infrastructure as well as social welfare all work smoothly.
We also have numerous job opportunities here. I sometimes get to work part time in the hospitality industry, or in events organising.
I think if I had remained in Kenya, I could still have achieved my dreams, only that I came across an opportunity I couldn’t let go.
So far, I can gladly say that I have acquired the skills I dearly needed, plus the exposure and the extraordinary experience of living and studying in Europe. That was a dream come true.
With modern technology especially in lectures, my classes have been exciting and orderly.
My major challenge, however, is the culture shock. People here lead very different lives. Additionally, the language is still an issue, but I am glad that my school has a number of international learners who understand English.
Since I came, my main focus has been my studies. I am yet to hold a full time job, and this will be my goal once I graduate. I also have plans of returning to Kenya, although I am not sure when.
As a country, I strongly believe that we don’t provide the youth with opportunities and quality education.
Almost all my Kenyan colleagues and those from other African countries say they do not want to go back home because of the high unemployment rates back there.
The only way to change this would be to empower the youth with the right knowledge and skills through education, and provide career growth opportunities for them.
CAUTION JEMUTAI, 21
Student & part time employee, Canada
I have been staying in Alberta, Canada since December 2022 after successfully securing a green card through an agency in Eldoret. I left Kenya shortly after graduating with a diploma course in Community Health Nursing at the Kenya Medical Training College, Kaptumo.
I was motivated to leave Kenya due to the endless stories I heard about numerous job opportunities abroad. I also wanted to have the experience of studying in a foreign country. The beauty of Canada also inspired me to relocate.
I am a first year student at the Lethbridge College taking a General Arts and Science diploma course as I await to begin my dream course – nursing – come September 2023.
Canada happens to be the first country I ever visited and I must say I am already missing my family, friends and the environment I was used to back in my motherland.
My best experience so far has been exploring the beauty of this country. There are many attractive structures. I also believe that this is one of the best places for me to achieve my dreams because there are numerous job opportunities.
I secured a job at a chicken production company one month after arriving. My job is to pack processed chicken in boxes for shipping to various countries.
I work for 40 hours a week and the company pays a minimum salary of 17 CAD and maximum 24CAD per hour, which is fair enough.
We have lots of job opportunities here, unlike in Kenya. A number of companies here produce items for consumption locally, and also for export to various countries including China and Japan.
From my observation, Canada also seems to have a lower population compared to other countries, which is why there is a high demand for labor.
My only challenge so far has been the extreme temperatures. I came here during the winter season so contending with a temperature of -35°C was not easy for me.
Many times, I also have to work at room temperatures of as low as 2°C, which is a nightmare but I am slowly adjusting.
I am planning to come back to Kenya, to reunite with my family members and to also experience the friendly weather once again. I also want to put to practice what I have learnt to change the lives of those around me.
Meanwhile, I think Kenya should borrow ideas in developing better infrastructure, and establishing more production companies where young people can secure jobs to end the unemployment menace.