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From Saudi Arabia to Italy: Moving with family

With our “Santa Fe Around the World” project, we want to give our customers the opportunity to tell us more about their moving experience. Because moving to a new place can be challenging, we wanted to capture our customers’ side of their journey with us. With this series, we will be discovering their expectations, feelings and fears.

Johannes moved from Saudi Arabia to Italy and here describes the process that made his family and him decide to relocate to this beautiful Mediterranean country.

What made you want to move to a new country?

Johannes: The really first time we moved out of the country, it was out of curiosity, of course the job opportunity was there but it was like “Let’s take this opportunity to see more”. And here we are, 19 years later, still abroad.

How and why did you choose to move to Italy?

Johannes: Italy was one of my wish list, because we lived in Spain and Greece before, and Italy represented the white spot on the map. We love the Mediterranean and of course Italy is an amazing old culture with an even more amazing food culture. When the opportunity came to come to Italy it was a real easy decision. We chose Italy to discover the country, to discover the people, to be back in the Mediterranean and Europe but also because of my job as Innovation Manager.

Italy is the cradle of design and innovation and what better place that develop myself as a professional than here in Italy. It really all came together perfectly.

Adapting to a new culture can be difficult, what were your expectations before moving?

Johannes: Adapting is not so difficult for us anymore, as we’ve moved so many times already. Of course every time is different facing different challenges, but we know what to expect. When it comes to Italy we already had positive expectations, but now living the life in Italy it is even better than we thought it would be, especially the people. It was easier than we thought. The language we are still learning because it is important. We had also fantastic support from IKEA. I think that if you move without any support provided by the company, it is a different experience. It is an absolute benefit having relocation support: you integrate much faster and you get your life on track much faster.

In your mind, what are the pros and cons of expatriation?

Johannes: I think the main pros are that you spend long enough in a country to really discover it, to discover the culture, to discover the people unlike on holiday. It’s not that you get only a shallow impression, you really go into depth into the culture and you became part of the culture eventually.

We’ve lived in four countries and I think we took a little bit of each of these four countries with us. We will always be the best ambassadors of Serbia, of Saudi Arabia, Spain and Greece and for sure in the future also for Italy. That’s is a very positive thing.

Another positive thing is related to children: they grow up internationally, so for them there is no skin colour difference, no religion difference. So they grow up with an open mind. The third pro is the adventure: I mean, you do things that you would have never expected to do and it really enriches your life.
You could say that saying goodbye to your family and friends in your home country is never easy, but flying is so much easier and cheaper than before and social media helps so much too.


To read more other stories:

Moving to Philippines: a single parent expat story

Moving to Africa: A life changing experience

Moving to Africa: the experience with children

Moving to Africa: adapting to a different way of life

Moving to Africa: tastes of a new home


If you’re thinking of moving home and would like to find out how  Santa Fe Relocation can help, get in touch with a member of our friendly team on 020 8961 4141.

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