Collins Okoro | Photo: Private
Collins Okoro | Photo: Private

It is almost automatic for your family to expect you to succeed while living abroad, says Collins Okoro, who moved to Ukraine from Nigeria to study at university. He speaks about the pressure of such family expectations.

➡️ This article is part of 'The Escape Diaries', a series about the personal experiences of African students who fled the war in Ukraine. Find out more about how the war changed their lives and what the future holds for them. Click here for an overview.

"On a plane out of the country, your family's expectations are as high as the plane's distance away from the ground. All they see is an investment well made, like you are going to automatically be the next human money printer. And why not? They probably borrowed money from people or stopped a lot of their projects to see that you got on that flight. It's only fair to get that remuneration. 

But looking at it from the perspective of a human money printer, life is really hard. You have to work thrice as hard (for yourself, your family, and your friends) to meet a standard that they have all seemed to put on you. I was once guilty of this mentality. Whoever was living abroad was never allowed to say they can't afford to get me something. 

You get calls from home and you shake before you pick them up because you are afraid of what the new request could be.

Now living every day, with the weight of responsibilities of an eight-member family on your shoulders is one of the daily nightmares to go through. You get calls from home and you shake before you pick them up because you are afraid of what the new request would be. It gets more intense because it's not only about the money. Family would also expect you to have a better life almost instantly. But what do I say when people ask me how I am "enjoying Europe?" All I can do is laugh it off and say how much I have learned and use new stories to hide my true story. 

Expectations are one of the underlying factors of overthinking. At least in my case."

 

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