"I grew up in the UK, and left at 25 to study in Duisburg, Germany. Tuition fees were more affordable and I was studying German linguistics and society, so it made sense to be there. I had spent some time in Germany before as an Erasmus student in Berlin, which made it easy to adjust to my new life there. I didn’t encounter any language barriers because I already spoke the language and, importantly, my move was voluntary.
At 31, I moved from Germany to live in France and work in Switzerland. Borders became a big part of my life! My partner's job brought us to the Geneva area, and it also brought me an opportunity. I had always wanted to work either at a university or with the United Nations and being in Geneva allowed me to try my hand at moving into the international arena. After lots of job applications and working with two other organizations, I found the perfect fit working in research communications at UNRISD (UN Research Institute for Social Development) in the Palais des Nations, the UN's European Headquarters.
I speak French and was reasonably familiar with Swiss culture before the move, two factors that helped make the transition to life in Geneva smooth. But music is also key to my integration. I started playing violin when I was 7 because my best friend played. She stopped a year or two later, but I've kept playing ever since. In every place where I have lived, I have always joined an orchestra and found new friends. Being in the UN Orchestra gives me an extra buzz because it lets me combine two things I love: making music and being in an international, multilingual community. Music gives me balance. I work mostly with my left brain, so making music lets me engage the right brain. After rehearsals I get an emotional high which lasts me until the next practice!
I am a migrant, but I consider myself one of the lucky ones because I have had the incredible privilege of choosing when and where to move in my life. Many people do not have this choice, simply because of where they were born and who their parents are, and many more need to be allowed to make that choice as a matter of survival. We all have to work together to fight this global injustice that makes migration a question of luck."