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Alina

Russia
23
I had a happy childhood, not without difficulties. My favorite memory is every summer. We would go to the countryside of my grandmother with all my cousins. It was happy because we didn't have to think much, grandma was cooking for us all the time, you know, nice holidays.

I was born in a family of two young parents. My mom got pregnant when she was 19 and my father was 22 at that moment. I think that was the biggest reason they got divorced very quickly. A few years later my mom decided to move and we moved to Edinburgh, very far from my hometown. I was changing schools oftenly. So I was a child who was never staying put, I was always traveling somewhere. I think that it is something that was already in my blood because later I never wanted to stay in my hometown when I was growing up.

I would like of course to show that the labor market in Russia, Ukraine, Bielorussia, and some post-soviet countries is not like a wild world. It is a great market with great candidates and interesting employees.

I had a happy childhood, not without difficulties. My favorite memory is every summer. We would go to the countryside of my grandmother with all my cousins. It was happy because we didn’t have to think much, grandma was cooking for us all the time, you know, nice holidays. When I was 8 years old they found out that I had a heart problem. I had to do surgery. My life has been divided :  before and after the surgery. For one year I couldn’t study in school, I couldn’t play with other children, and I had to study at home. I went to live with my grandma because I had to be in a very calm place, like in the countryside. So, basically, this changed my life. I had big complexes because of my scar on the chest. I used to cover it a lot. I was very ashamed of it, but now I really love the scar.

When I was 14 years old I saw this advertisement on TV, which said that there was a way to study in Finland for free, if you pass all the exams and have a high level of english. At that moment I spoke no English, like zero. So I started learning English and preparing for the exam. It took me 3 years. I did full time from the morning to the evening, all the weekend. Sometimes I was doing it more than homework because it was my goal. I also had to take IELTS. I failed it a few times but then I passed. Then they took me to the university in Finland.

When I moved to Finland I really loved university and I loved studying. I think it was my favorite hobby. I really loved the topic. I studied international business. Marketing teacher was the best. He is still my mentor. We have calls from time to time, we discuss my business and he was really great.  The difficulty was that I didn’t find very good friends. Furthermore, the currency was super down and it was impossible to cover my expenses in euro. I had to go to Russia to bring food, because just to go to the supermarket was super expensive.

When I came to Spain it was difficult to find work because actually, you need European documents for this, you can not come with a student visa. I went to hundreds of interviews, but the employers don’t want to deal with visa issues. I think this is why also now I’m doing recruiting because interviews are something that now I’m very good at. I have a recruitment agency with a few employees. They live in different countries. Besides working, I like meeting people, but during the pandemic is not that easy. I moved to Barcelona one day before the quarantine. The best thing that happened to me since I came here was meeting my partner in crime, my soulmate, best friend, and boyfriend Mateo. We are very in love and very happy in our relationship. I think it is something beautiful. It’s also nice to have someone supporting you in whatever crazy ideas you have. He thinks more in terms of logical organization but at the same time he is still very supportive.

My goals for the future are that I would like to hire as many people as possible from eastern Europe for my clients here in Europe and in the US. I would like of course to show that the labor market in Russia, Ukraine, Bielorussia, and some post-soviet countries is not like a wild world. It is a great market with great candidates and interesting employees. You know, some people think that we are just drinking vodka there and don’t speak any English. It isn’t true. Actually, I’m very proud of the people who are there.

In a personal way, for the future, I would like to have a family in a few years. I think that Barcelona, in general, is a great place for this. I hope that we are not gonna all die from the pandemic. I also hope that in general people will continue to be very conscious about nature. There is now a big trend concerning nature and people are thinking more about it since we are all locked up at home. Today, everyone dreams about it.My dream and my hope is that everyone will be more aware of it.

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Author
Amanda Vieira
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Photographer
Alina Iurina