Do you hail from a family of OFWs? Whether your grandparents worked abroad to sustain the family’s needs, your parents joined them to help the family. Now you also have the same path as them. You’ll be working as an OFW and finally see how adulting is to be an adult. There’s more to life than the numerous OFW storylines movies have, from Hello, Love, Goodbye, to Anak.
Also Read: 5 Things Only OFW Parents will Understand
Whether you’re one of the kids preparing to go abroad to work or following the footsteps of your family members since it’s what is expected of you. Perhaps, you grew up abroad since your parents or family are all abroad who migrated or are still living as an expat in the country they are working for. Here are the real-life realizations you’ll have once you become a second or third-generation OFW.
1. You will realize the sacrifices your parents have to make
It’s not a hidden fact that being an OFW is hard; therefore, once you become one and finally step into their shoes, then you will have a different view. You will learn to appreciate all of their sleepless nights, resilience, and how they battle homesickness just to give you a good life. Imagine going abroad to a foreign country, being far from your home and family just to work. Of course, it’s a different case if your parents or grandparents really want to work abroad and meet their spouses there since it shows they really are after having a good life.
Experiencing greener pastures that will also benefit their future families. With OFWs sometimes comes with life’s challenges, and one of the most common reasons why many Filipinos become OFWs is financial problems.
It’s not easy, but opportunities abroad sound enticing when life gets rough, and the family’s future is at stake. Once you’re an OFW like the ones before you, then you will have gratitude and understanding. That’s why with the song of Gloc 9, Wala nang natira, Filipino professionals like nurses, teachers, engineers, and more are moving abroad to have a better life. The lyrics, “Matagal pa’ng kontrata ko, titiisin ko muna ‘to
Basta ang mahalaga, ito’y para sa pamilya ko.” hits different once you get older since you understand the deeper meaning behind the song. Every child of OFW knows the internal struggle of not seeing their parents during special occasions, which makes them not have a close relationship with their parents because of distance.
2. The privileges you have that you may take for granted
If you’re a Gulf Kid or children of immigrants abroad, then you know there are privileges you have taken for granted like having an international education which are highly coveted once you work in the Philippines or anywhere in the world. Sometimes children of immigrants don’t understand why their parents tend to pressure them to have a good education since some don’t even have formal education, and they want their children to have the best.
You might take tourist spots, different cultures, or the weather where you’re living abroad for granted since it’s normal for you, but many Filipinos aspire to have what you already have. You might not realize every time you go to the airport; many Filipinos are getting offloaded, risking everything while you have a dual citizen or numerous travel histories.
It’s not a form of invalidating the struggles of children of immigrants or expats, but it’s one way to look at the bigger picture. Once you’re working abroad, you will realize the things you have taken for granted and how grateful you are for them. Like when you used to dream of moving out since living with your family is unbearable, then realizing the luxury you have, from your mom cooking meals for you to making meals for yourself, rain or shine.
3. Not knowing where home is
The feeling of not knowing where home is can be challenging, and this type of feeling and thoughts tend to arise when homesickness or a lot of changes happen in your life. For children of immigrants or Gulf Kids, it’s natural for you to feel displaced but know that your home shouldn’t be just one since wherever your safe space is there’s your home. You don’t have to choose, you can travel a lot and move to different places for work, but home will always be where you feel at peace and who you are.
4. Growing up abroad may affect your upbringing
Of course, there are numerous books, novels, and online content where people share their unique experiences about growing up abroad as a Filipino. There’s no cookie-cutter pattern when it comes to this part. Whether you live in Spain or the UAE, the country where you live can affect your personhood from traditions, culture, lifestyle, and more!
It’s okay if you’re a third culture kid working as an OFW since it will also help open doors for your future! It can sometimes be a blessing or a curse, but however, you look at it will make or break you. Your parents or grandparents may have preserved the Filipino culture while integrating it into the culture and lifestyle of where they live; it’s one way to show Filipinos’ adaptability.
5. You may not want to have the same path
It’s okay not to want the same things as your parents or relatives, especially if it’s peer pressure. If you want to be an OFW because you want to experience it, continue the legacy your family members started, or just because you want to help the family. You don’t have to be an OFW if you don’t really want to. You can give it a try and see where life can take you. Not everyone is built to be an OFW since it’s tough. If you want to live in Siargao to be a freelancer, go where you will succeed. If you want to be an English teacher in Japan, do it.
6. Being proud to be a Filipino abroad
For example, the current Miss Universe 2023, R’Bonney Gabriel, is the first-ever Fil-Am Miss Universe winner. She is very proud of her Filipino heritage, and many Filipinos in the country and the US celebrate when she wins. You will always have Filipino pride and the warm, cuddly feeling of meeting your kabayan ( fellow countrymen) abroad since there’s a sense of connection.
Yes, some Filipinos abroad might have a toxic crab mentality, but nothing beats knowing who you are no matter where you are in the world. As an OFW, you will realize how Filipino communities abroad help each other through every homesickness and visa problem. Sometimes it’s not what you know but who you know.