"Europe as a whole feels familiar."

"Europe as a whole feels familiar."

Efi Kalogeraki, still from the documentary "Re:Union"Efi Kalogeraki, still from the documentary "Re:Union". Urheber: Gabriel Tzavka. All rights reserved.

Please tell us about yourself: what is your name, how old are you, where do you come from, what is your professional background?

My name is Efi, I come from Greece and I am a lawyer specialized in International Law.

Where are you living now, why did you decide to go there and what are you doing there?

I now live in Copenhagen. In Copenhagen there are several international organizations and therefore it attracted me. It was a place where I could work in the field of my specialization and actually get paid.

How do you feel about being a migrant in Europe?

Europe as a whole feels familiar. Most of us have travelled and lived or studied for a short period in another European country through a EU program. However, cultural differences and stereotypes still dominate everyday conversations and form first impressions. When you move into a new place this can become annoying or even an obstacle to finding a job. My first months in Copenhagen were challenging especially as I did not speak the language. After one year, I can say that I feel comfortable but I’m not part of the local community, more of the international community within the city of Copenhagen.

Were your hopes and dreams fulfilled?

Profession-wise I am very satisfied. I have managed to achieve my main goal that brought me to Copenhagen and I still have a long way to go.

What are the Pros and Cons of living in a different European country?

Living in a different European country is a process that provides you a unique opportunity to redefine yourself- with its pros and cons. Identities are constructed by the environment that you live in. When I was living in Greece my nationality was not a differentiating factor, here it is. I am introduced as a Greek migrant. This is how people see me with the positive or negative connotations that this carries. You can feel upset, excluded, different, proud or happy. I have experienced all these feelings but then you just understand that people will always find ways to classify you and this of no great significance to the wider picture. All of us are just part of human history, a history of movement with different characteristics each time. 

What are your visions for the European Union?

I believe we are experiencing a transitional period; on the one hand, most European countries are strongly holding on to their nationalities and consider Europe “is going too far”. On the other hand, global economy is removing all national borders. I do not know what  Europe will be like in the next ten years. It is true that there is a democratic shift. People need to use their voice instead of seeing European Union as a distant decision-maker that does not represent their interests.

 

The interview was conducted by Julia Brilling in June 2014

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