“And that is how I decided to become a migrant” 

"And that is how I decided to become a migrant"  1

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“Και έτσι και εγώ αποφάσισα να γίνω μετανάστης”

“In 2006 I graduated with a degree in civil engineering and started working with my father and brother in Arnaia Halkidiki, where I was born and raised.

I could see the crisis slowly making an impact in early 2009, but 2010 was the worst year I had ever experienced. There were no jobs, the future seemed ominous. It was during this time that I met my girlfriend, who later became my wife. She had been living in Sweden with her family since the 1980s. I was young, I didn’t have a family of my own yet, so in August 2010 I began my journey to Sweden. With my girlfriend’s support, I felt like I could make a new start in this new country.

Sweden is a beautiful place, and I consider it to be my second home, but in the beginning it was difficult, mainly because the culture and way of life is so drastically different to the Greek culture and lifestyle. Greeks are open hearted people, whereas the Swedish are more guarded. With the help of other Greeks there, I did manage to get past these initial hurdles and settle in. If you are able to find a way to adjust to the new lifestyle, then nothing is difficult. We are the ones who can choose how difficult or easy to make things for ourselves. After a little while I started to felt great about how things were going, I felt like this was where my future lies.

My happiest moments in Sweden were the births of my two boys in 2011 and 2015. Career wise, the most important moment for me was in October 2011 when I received a phone call informing me I had been accepted into a civil engineering role at a nearby construction company. It was my first opportunity to work in my chosen field in Sweden.

What I love most about Sweden is that it gave me the opportunity to really show what I am made of, to show what I can achieve, and to work and live life to the fullest with my family. This is why I consider Sweden to be my second home.

What I miss most about Greece is my family. My beloved parents and my brother, who are all in Greece, battling to make ends meet. Instead of improving, the situation seems to be worsening with time. If things were to improve though, who wouldn’t want to return to their homeland? It’s just not a possibility for me at this point in time.

My hope for Greece is for it to find its way. To pull through the crisis, and for young people to stop having to migrate to other countries. It pains me deeply that so many businesses close down on a daily basis, that so many people are out on the streets with no employment, and that young people are committing suicide because of their financial struggles.”

Laskaris Serdaris, Sweden

Gina Mamouzelos

Gina Mamouzelos is a second generation Greek Australian who grew up immersed in her Greek heritage, including the language, traditions, culture and listening to her grandparent’ mesmerising tales about life in Greece. Passionate about ensuring the Greek language is not forgotten among the younger generations, in 2002 she became a panel member on the SBS Greek radio show ‘Let’s Talk Openly.' She graduated with a Media and Communications degree from the University of Sydney and has put her lifelong passion for writing to use working in social media, public relations and advertising. Gina now joins GCT's team as a writer.