This interview was actually conducted last year. I know, it’s overdue, and I apologize for that.
I reached out to JP on Instagram. I requested if he could share his Overseas Filipino Worker story, and he was accommodating to my request. His story is so retable.
It was on 2017 when he left the Philippines for Kuwait. He celebrated Christmas and New Year away from his family for the first time. I felt him when he said it was hard. I remember celebrating the holidays in Dubai for the first time. It was really different.
JP is so interesting because he made a pass on an opportunity to work in Singapore and took an offer in Kuwait, where he’s considered overqualified for the position.
He has a positive outlook in life and gave great advices on how to deal with home sickness, culture shock and making life a bit more bearable when you’re working abroad.
Intrigued yet? Check our conversation below:
Me: Before we get started could you please introduce yourself the way you like to be introduced
JP: I’m John Paul Jorge Sare, JP for short, 29 years old from Bulacan. Health Care Worker here in Kuwait going for 3 years on October.
Me: Thanks for that JP. How is working in Kuwait like?
JP: Mixed emotions. It was October 2017 when I left Philippines, BER – months. It was hard. 1st Christmas and New Year far away from my family. Even if I’m health worker, it’s still hard because everything it’s different.
Me: Ohh wow. I feel you. How were you able to recover from that feeling?
JP: To be honest it took months before I totally accepted the feeling of working abroad. I keep telling to myself, “JP, this is for your family and your future. You need to be strong.”
1st Christmas abroad I feel sad but habang tumatagal ka sa abroad especially to Middle East country parang normal day nalang ang pasko at New Year
Me: That’s is very true. Somewhat normal day yung Christmas and New Year. How did you end up in Kuwait?
JP: 2016 to 2017, I started looking for jobs abroad. It’s not easy at all, even for a professional and college graduate, like me. 2017, I forgot the month, I applied and passed the interview going to Singapore. Almost everything is ready, but I decided to back-out because of the high standards living in Singapore.
Then I tried my lucked again. Luckily, I get in but they are hesitant to accept me because I’m over qualified for the position. I just said, “I know what I’m getting into.”
I still remember, I tried to delay on everything para umabot ako ng November or even 1st week of December, pero di siya nangyari. Everything was so fast. October 25, 2017 I left the country. October 26, I’m in Kuwait.
Me: Ohh wow! Things escalated quickly. Hope it was worth in tho. Have you had any challenges, specially the couple of months when you landed in Kuwait.
JP: Yes. In the 1st few months, I experienced home sick, cultural indifference, work shocked because ibang iba ang working abroad kaysa sa bansa natin.
Unang salary abroad was really unforgettable kasi unang hawak ng ganun kalaki pera pag convert sa peso. Pero sabi nga nila, ang mga OFW, mayaman sa resibo. Pero happy pill unang padala. Unang purchased ng gamit na pinag hirapan mo.
Me: I totally get you. I felt the same when it was my first time. Do you consider yourself successful na?
JP: To be honest no. But I’m lucky. Because nakapunta ako dito. Nakatagal ako 3 years going 4 years hopefully. I was able to help my family’s needs, but at the same time, big responsibility on my shoulders for being the only one who’s working abroad.
Me: Congratulations! Advance happy work anniversary to you. You made mention yung cultural shock, how were you able to adjust?
JP: At 1st talaga, di ko alam because this is a, Arab country. Napakadami ng bawal. Compared sa Pinas. You really need to be aware of what are you doing, especially outside. And always put in your mind, this is their country. Territory nila ito. Dayuhan ka lang.
Cultural shock kasama na ng language barrier because some people here don’t know how to speak English. Kaya napakahirap. You need to study their language and culture para walang maging problema.
Me: Ohh wow. I see. Mahirap nga if ganyan, pero at least nakaadjust ka. How often do you go home and what are the things you miss?
JP: Wow! Una at huli kong uwi was 2018 April. Super saya and sarap ng pakiramdam umuwi. Makita sila at makasama. Sobrang sarap sa feeling.
Priceless. I miss everything. Foods, especially home made foods. Iba talaga kasi when you are in abroad. Mabilisan lahat. Minsan kahit you know how to cook, tatamarin ka na lang or instant foods na lang kasi.
Me: Ohh wow! Medjo matagal na rin! Hope you don’t mind me asking, what keeps you from coming/ visiting home?
JP: Family and walang specific reason. But iba talaga ang Philippines. There is something there na ma feel mo. If only the government of the Philippines is like Canada, sana walang masyadong OFW. Hopefully after Covid, when everything seems good, I can go home again to see my family and experience the Philippines again.
Me: Great point. Do you have plans on settling in Kuwait? Or you’re looking at moving to a different country?
JP: Definitely no. I don’t have any plans to settling in any GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries. Yes, I’m looking for other countries that I can settle in. In any country, I would be happy except GCC countries. I already started looking. Hopefully, before my contract finish here, I will be able to find and move to another country.
Me: Ohh that’s great. Would it be possible for you to share why you’re not considering GCC countries to settle?
JP: I just don’t see myself settling in any GCC countries. It is true. One of the easiest way to go abroad is through GCC countries but settling down. In my personal opinion and experience GCC countries are not ideal places to migrate or to settle down. Because at the end of the day, we are only expats working for them. If you don’t have a good position and income, it’s not a good idea to move in to GCC countries. Health care likewise is kinda expensive here.
Me: Ohh I see. Interesting. Do you have any tips or advices to aspiring OFWs and OFWs alike?
JP: To all OFW and to all aspirant:
- Trust yourself
- Love yourself
- Be strong
- Have faith
- One of the most important tips, reward yourself. It’s not wrong if you reward yourself sometimes because you deserve it after all the hard work.
- And most especially, don’t trust easily. Sad reality but true.
And special note to everyone, it’s okay to help. There is nothing wrong on that, but also learn to say no. Always put some in your savings account.
Me: Wow! Great advises. Thanks for sharing that. Is there anything else po na you wish to share? 😊
JP: Message to all OFW. I salute each and every one of you. You are the new heroes of this generation. What you are doing is priceless. When there are moments that you feel sad, or when home sickness strikes you hard, it’s okay to cry and pause for a moment. Inhale all the positive atmosphere and exhale all the negative things. You are strong and you are just a human being. And most especially be proud that you are an OFW. I’m JP, and I’m a proud OFW health care worker in the Kuwait.
Follow JP on Instagram: @pauljohnsare
What do you think of JP’s story?
JP and I would love to hear about them in the comments
Thanks for reading!
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