Julia Jurisch tells how globalisation has shaped her life from her birthplace in Kazakhstan, and how she feels more global than ever despite COVID-19. She is a Global Communications Advisor for Bombardier, currently living in Berlin, Germany.
Julia talks passionately about her belief in globalism as a force for the greater good. She sees the benefits of globalisation in society as well as her own life. And as we grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, she believes that these benefits are more important than ever.
Allow me to highlight the sheer effort Julia has put in to reach the life she has now: becoming fluent in English and German; adapting to life with a cross-cultural partner in a foreign land; communicating wisely across borders and always asking questions about current events.
From Kazakhstan, a place that is (much like Julia herself) a cultural melting pot, you can see her thoughts below.
Introducing Global Citizen… Julia Jurisch
- What do you do? Communications professional. Currently work as a Global communications Advisor for Bombardier.
- Years Abroad: 7
- Home? Technically I was born in the USSR, but it ceased to exist when I was just 2. So I consider myself from Kazakhstan. I live In Germany now.
- Languages: Russian (mother tongue) + English and German fluently.
- Where will you be five years from now? Hard to say. My husband and I are open to moving to other countries…
Dear Global Citizen…
My name is Julia Jurisch. I am a communications professional, currently working as a global communications advisor in the transportation industry. My passion lies in telling stories that connect and empower people.
Originally from Kazakhstan, I’m writing this letter from my home of the last five years – Berlin, Germany. Over the course of the last decade, I’ve moved across three countries and experienced the phenomenon of globalisation firsthand. Today, I identify myself as a citizen of the world: globally thinking, living and working across borders, wildly traveling, hyperconnected and feeling at ease amidst other cultures.
I advocate for globalisation. From a personal standpoint, it has given me my education, my job, and most importantly my family. Through my work, I witness the benefits of globalisation, created by a global presence and supply chain, combined with the shared know-how of thousands of employees. It not only enables safe transportation solutions worldwide but also connects multiple communities and creates new job opportunities. From a general standpoint, I believe globalisation holds an immense potential for the advancement of the world.
Being different in London
In 2011, I moved to the UK to pursue my Masters in Global Media & Communications at the London School of Economics (LSE). This was my first time living away from home. In comparison to my hometown Almaty, London was a different planet. On a very deep personal level, I realised there was a huge cultural gap between myself and my new environment – that at times my appearance and background stood out even within London’s diverse population. I couldn’t help but feel like a stranger. These revelations led to an identity crisis, to navigate which I needed strike an inner balance between my two worlds.
…Globalisation is a process in which we all participate… only by accounting for the other perspectives within it, can we achieve its potential
Back in the day, my master’s programme was one of only a few that focused on examining the idea of a globalised world and the role that media and communication technology play in it. We discussed the concept of a global village, debated privacy and security in social media and questioned the cultural hegemony of the West. We examined how globalisation, both the benefits and negatives, has impacted economic, political, and cultural development. My major takeaway from this programme was that globalisation is a process in which we all participate, and that only by accounting for the other perspectives within it, can we achieve its potential for the betterment of our societies.
After graduating, I was offered a job at a UK tech startup aiming to help migrants navigate visa bureaucracy. Ironically, due to new legislation waiving international graduates’ right to work in the UK without visa sponsorship, I couldn’t take the job. This was one of the first signs of the growing divide in the country and its future political crisis.
Being different at home – and love across borders
Afterwards, I left London with a heavy heart not only because I no longer felt welcome – and my career was on hold – but also because I was leaving behind a serious relationship. Going home to Kazakhstan caused even more bumps. Upon my return, I underwent reverse culture shock, and once again felt like… a stranger. This time, I shifted my focus to what I could contribute to and change around me. I was glad to use my knowledge and a global perspective for the benefit of my country’s economy and local communities. Soon, I met like-minded people, whom I regard as the true change makers in my country and leaders of an evolving civil society.
In parallel, I was exploring the intricacies of a long-distance relationship. Dating someone who lives across the globe is both fun and crazy. We went on dates across all Europe, making the most of our vacations and business trips. As 3G became ubiquitous and mobile technologies accelerated, we made the most of various communication apps to help us stay present in each other’s lives as much as possible.
Since then, we’ve married, and now live in Germany where we are raising our son. Getting here was a long journey. Being an international family is an amazing adventure from a cultural standpoint, but it also poses many legal challenges. Our experience has shown that the globalised world is actually more prepared for a mobile workforce than it is for international families.
Benefits of globalisation from the viewpoint of Berlin
Our move to Germany in 2015 coincided with the world’s largest refugee crisis not least caused by growing global environmental challenges. The country was overwhelmed with the situation when we arrived. Yet, despite some pushback against the influx of refugees and migrants, the majority of Germans are open to the newcomers. Startups, nonprofits and volunteers from local communities have worked together creating tech solutions supporting newcomers. This example showed me the power and will of the collective to solve real and complex challenges.
By thinking and acting collectively, our global community can find a way to ensure the post-corona world remains global and is there for generations to thrive.
Fast forward to 2020, with the world amidst the coronavirus pandemic. As I write this, Germany has been in lockdown for almost a month, and so is Kazakhstan. Each day, I follow the news in both countries. Media is my haven and curse during the pandemic – there is barely a moment I can forget about the ongoing craze. There is no place in the world left untouched by the novel virus. With increased interconnectivity and interdependence, the impact of the pandemic has been even more pronounced.
And it is all contributing to a mood of anti-globalisation.
Where our Global Citizen has called home
Let us not give up on globalisation. Instead, I suggest we use this moment of standstill to consider: how can we overcome our existing issues? Through this collective traumatic experience, today I feel like a Global Citizen more than ever. We can work on solutions that shine a light on the benefits of globalisation, finding the best sides of our global world.
In this crisis, media urgently needs to play its role as the Fourth Estate. It can raise much-needed questions about the political decisions we make today and lead the discussion about the way forward. How can we use the benefits globalisation brings? Embracing the digital economy and new ways of working; focusing on sustainable solutions; creating global legal frameworks; improving our cyber-security systems; balancing between the local and global communities… All of these are approaches to consider.
The post-corona world will be different. But it’s up to us to shape what that will look like. By thinking and acting collectively, our global community can find a way to ensure the post-corona world remains global and is there for generations to thrive.
The first step is to join the discussion.
As John Lennon put it, ‘You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us. And the world will live as one.’