OFW struggles: Things we don’t tell you

Work alone can be stressful. Imagine working in a foreign country. It is a different thing all together.

My goal has always been to work abroad. I have an idea on my life would be but nothing could prepare me for the struggles and challenges that awaits me.

I’ve been working outside the Philippines for five years now, and I am still having a hard time pulling things together.

Not all struggles are the same though. Here are mine:

  • Home sickness

I don’t feel this all the time, but if I do, I’m so close to leaving my job and just fly back home.

Though you have friends around to keep you company, nothing beats the feeling of being home.

  • Missing important events and occasions

This is part of the sacrifices you had to make when you work abroad.

Every time I see celebrations on social media, I always die a little inside. But we have to do what we have to do.

  • Feeling alone

When I first came to Ghana, back in 2016, I was the only Filipino and Asian employee.  I stand out because I am foreign. I was made aware that I am different. I personally didn’t find it satisfying.

It’s been like that for 6 months, until they hired another filipino.

Now, there are still times that I feel alone but I am now able to manage myself better.

  • Getting sick

I had food poisoning and was hospitalized on my first year. It was my first time to be confined, and no one is there to take care of me. It was awful.

  • Catching up

We’re lucky to have the internet, because connecting with people has never been so easy. But I personally prefer personal interaction, hence I am always outdated. Catching up has always been exciting but I always get lost in the conversation because I cannot keep up.

Funny story, two years ago, my brother brought home a bag of fried siopao. I was so amazed by it. It was delicious and it’s innovative. So I was like, “this is a great idea. Whoever thought of this is a genius. This is new! I want to do (business) the same thing!” Then my brother was like “uhh, this is not new. It’s fried siopao has been here for a year now”. Awkward.

You see, working abroad is not all fun and fancy. It’s physically, mentally and emotionally draining. So next time you see an OFW posting great photos on social media, throw in some thumbs up or a heart because it’s one of our ways on coping with the struggles we’re trying to manage.

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