“Throughout my entire life I have lived in five different places. I was born in the Russian city of Yaroslavl, however, I only spent six years there. After my dad had been invited to work for a big Russian oil and gas company, our family had to move to Moscow. We lived in a small apartment uptown, where I spent most of my teenage years. However, Moscow was not the “final point.” My dad had been promoted and forced to leave Russia to continue his work in the United Arab Emirates; therefore, we moved to the Emirates as well. It was quite a challenging period for me, as I had never been abroad before and didn’t know what to expect from that brand new life.

Russia and the Emirates are two completely different countries with different rules, values and even climates. While it is often freezing cold in Moscow, in Dubai you will never see snow. Nevertheless, despite all my worries, I was amazed by the UAE. I have never seen anything like that place. Huge skyscrapers and deserts are not what you can usually see in Moscow, so for me, it was a pleasant shock. Dubai is a unique metropolis. Most of the residents are people from third-world countries working in the services sector. They provide services for the rich part of Dubai’s population. Despite the fact that the UAE is a Muslim state, people in Dubai are quite tolerant to foreigners. The only thing you have to do is respect the local rules and traditions – nobody will force you to obey them.

After graduating from high school in Dubai I wished to move to Canada and enrolled to the Canadian University of Dubai in order to transfer to Canada later. However, I did not stay there long. After a year my dad helped me to move to Canada and start my studies in one of the local universities. My impressions of it after several years in the Emirates were immensely ambivalent. Canada is a very cold country; somehow in my town, which was situated in a tundra, the climate was even worse than in Moscow. Thus, again, after several years there, I decided to move to the calm and warm Prague. When someone asks me what is my hometown, I am always too confused to answer. Even though I spent the biggest part of my life in Moscow, I still don’t feel it is my home, and neither are the other cities. Now I’m a globally minded person with a huge experience from everywhere.”

Photo courtesy of Andrey Karpov