The following series of interviews was conducted as part of the ‘Open European Societies’ project that raises awareness on the migration history of Europe, giving evidence to the diversity and co-existence of different nations and cultures in the Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Hungary, North Macedonia and the United Kingdom by researching and exploring the migration history of these countries in the 20th century.

It addition, these interviews are sharing the same concept; to present the stories of people who faced the great challenge of having to leave their homes and start a new life in a foreign country. An amazing journey full of valuable experiences and hardships related to the path they had to follow due to a variety of reasons (e.g. war, economic, political or social problems in their home countries).

Tell me your story - Germany

Watch the riveting stories of Lotfali and David reviving through the video ”Tell me your story – Germany”. The two Iranian migrants talk each other about their lives, while sharing their experiences, the challenges they had to overcome as well as the difficulties they faced by taking the decision to leave their homeland and start a new life abroad.

David is living in Dresden, Germany, since 2016. He was born in Shiraz, Iran, where he also studied civil engineering. He is missing his friends as well as celebrating with his family during the Iranian holidays. He adjusted quite fast to his new life as he started learning the German language and eventually he found a job.

Lotfali Semino lives in Germany since 1983. He was born in Tehran, Iran, where he started his studies, while later on he got married and made his family. He visited Europe several times in the past before he finally decides to migrate and cope with the everyday difficulties in a foreign country. According to his opinion, things for newcomers today are much improved compared to his era.


Tell me your story - Denmark

In this video you can watch a highly interesting and vivid conversation between the following two interviewees:

Cristian Roberto Acevedo Maidones is from Chile, grew up and lived there for approx. 20 years. He fought against Pinochet during the 80s, but he had to flee as a political refugee because Interpol were following him. He left for Cuba, but he went back and forth from Cuba to El Salvador and Nicaragua doing missions. He was given the title “political refugee” by the Cuban government, because they started to have relations with the Chilean government, which meant that chances where they would force Cuba to give the refugees “back”. It meant that he had to flee with his family to Denmark. He has been in Denmark for 27 years where he still lives. Cristian speaks Spanish and is 56 years old.

Rosa Montiel currently lives in Sabro with her Danish spouse. She was born in Oaxaca, Mexico. She left for Denmark where she stayed for 3 months, this is also when she met her current spouse. Then she left for India, where she stayed 4 months. She studied Yoga. Afterward she risked everything and went back to Denmark, where she married her spouse.  Rosa is 50 years old. She came to Denmark for the first time in 2016 and returned to stay here for good in 2017.  The participants, and generally the Latin Americans I have been in contact with, were not necessarily forced to move from their home, but they were eager to do so, to get a better life.

Open European Societies project is co-funded by the Europe for Citizens Programme of the European Union.

Tell me your story - France

In this video you can watch a highly interesting and vivid conversation between the following two interviewees:

Mr Haydar “Olivier” Dogan is a 60-year-old member of the Yezidi community, who was born in Turkey. He was living in a small village along with other 9 family members, who couldn’t get a desired social position in Turkey. He came to France in 1977 to join his father working in garment manufacturing. He also worked as a musician and singer for the french-turkish community (restaurants, weddings etc.).

Yailin “Mida” Sarmiento Deroncele, now called Yailin “Mida” Liot, is a 27-year-old migrant, born in Cuba, in the countryside next to Guantanamo. She is member of a modest family of 5 people. Her father is a farmer (breeder). She started working at 16 in order to support financially her family. Open European Societies project is co-funded by the Europe for Citizens Programme of the European Union.


Open European Societies project is co-funded by the Europe for Citizens Programme of the European Union.

Tell me your story - Greece

In this video you can watch a highly interesting and vivid conversation between the following two interviewees:

Angelina Mesulie, 56-year-old, was brought up in Albania. She came in Greece when she was 32-year-old, and now she is having her family here. She works most of her time in a factory. Unfortunately, the last years she experienced herself the rising of racism.

Igor Fedorchenko, 29-year-old, was brought up in Russia but he speaks Greek. Igor had to leave his country in order to help his mother. He managed to study under difficult conditions in Greece and now he works in a company.

Open European Societies project is co-funded by the Europe for Citizens Programme of the European Union.

Tell me your story - Hungary I

Belemir Canbek is a 24-year-old young woman coming from Turkey. She grew up in Turkey and had „kind of a village life” before she moves to Budapest 3 years ago. She describes herself as a „political migrant”, which means she didn’t have to cope with severe economic issues, but she preferred to live in another country with better conditions from a social and political perspective.

Tell me your story - Hungary II

Viktoria Salgo, 29-year-old, was born in Nove Zamky (Slovakia) but is living in Budapest (Hungary) since 2009. She is a native Hungarian speaker, so she decided to move to Budapest and study there as it was easier for her to communicate in her mother tongue.

Tell me your story - North Macedonia I

Allan Bilent Castillo Gonzalez, 30-year-old, was born in Panama and grew up in Latin America. Having studied in multiple countries, he had to learn during his childhood how to adapt to different societies and cultures. Currently he is working in his family’s businesses ranging from transportation and logistics, to animation and entertainment. He also recalls how difficult was for him to make new friends in another country with a whole different mentality.

Tell me your story - North Macedonia II

Maria Theresa Sison Jose, 39-year-old, grew up in a traditional family in Philippines. She fell in love with a N. Macedonian guy, and despite her fears, especially regarding racism, she decided to move to North Macedonia hoping to find a better life. Among the several challenges she coped with was the language barrier and the sense of not belonging to this new place as a result of certain local racist behaviours. In addition, during the many tough moments she had to deal with, she experienced on the one hand the support of her husband’s family and on the other hand the governmental indifferent and careless policy.

Tell me your story - United Kingdom I

Kuldeep Seehra is a 74 year-old Asian lady who was born and brought up in Nairobi, Kenya, East Africa. She belonged to a large and quite prosperous Asian minority, living in her grandfather’s large house with her parents, her brothers and sisters. In 1976, she and her husband made the decision to migrate to England. They had seen the terrible results of Idi Amin’s regime in neighbouring Uganda, when Asian refugees with no money, food or spare clothing and no possessions had been herded onto trains out of the country they had lived in so long, and felt vulnerable in case the same problems arose for them in Kenya. She worked for many years in the local tax office and loved the work. Now she is retired but supports women who belong to the Sikh community with necessary paperwork and bureaucracy which is a big problem for many of them. She is an important member of the wonderfully hospitable Sikh community in Woolwich. She has 6 grandchildren and is enjoying her retirement.

Tell me your story - United Kingdom II

Titilope Ajomale comes from Kwara State, Nigeria. She has lived and studied in Ibadan and Offa in Nigeria, as well as South Africa, for a while. She had family support from her three brothers and two sisters. She had studied at Offa college for an OND in Business Administration and an HND in marketing, a 3-year course ending in 2003. Despite having good qualifications, she found it very difficult to find work. She did not have an official work permit and so could not earn an official wage or salary. Her daughter, Desiree, was born in England and is now 6 years old. Titilope is trying to get permission to remain and to be employed. At the moment, she can only do small voluntary jobs. She plans to try again for citizenship when her daughter is 7 and again when she is 10 years old.

Tell me your story - Czech Republic I

Goranka was forced to leave her home country due to the outbreak of the Bosnian war in 1992 (6 April 1992 – 14 December 1995). The capital city of Bosnia, Sarajevo, where Goranka used to live and work for a local radio station was besieged and bombed constantly. She arrived in Prague on 17th of November in 1992.

Tell me your story - Czech Republic II

Abdusami fled to the Czech Republic as a political refugee from Uzbekistan because of his activism during his studies in 1991. He refused to work under forced labour in the cotton fields. After this action, he got expelled from the University. With the help of NGOs he managed to leave Uzbekistan and went to Russia where he sought political asylum. However, his application was rejected. He was allowed to stay in the country thanks to the European Court for Human Rights. He didn’t want to risk being deported when his case was to be re-examined in 2015 and came to the Czech Republic with the support of human rights organizations.