Who are you?
Hello everyone! My name is Marina-Kirchens Sargsian, I am a lawyer, CEO & Founder of MSK Group Law Firm in Luxembourg.I am 29 years old, Armenian, the proud owner of dual citizenship – Luxembourgish and Russian.
Where, when and why did you move abroad?
Lao Tzu said once: ‘A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step’. I have always been followed by the desire to grow mentally and professionally as much as possible. In order to do so, I decided to travel around and see the world, simply because I strongly believe that travel is the best investment in yourself.
I spent my childhood partly in Germany (Munich), partly in Russia (Moscow) thanks to my parents’ professional background. After my graduation from law school in Moscow, I decided to move to Ireland (Dublin) in order to improve my language skills. I was 22.
In Ireland I improved my language skills, after which I was invited to work for one of the biggest multimedia companies in the world, Creative Labs Technologies. This is where it all started. Ireland became the country where I learned how to turn my weaknesses into strengths and how to follow my dreams.
At age 25, I moved to Luxembourg to continue my legal education and successfully graduated as a Master of Laws (LL.M) from the University of Luxembourg in 2016. Since then, Luxembourg has been my homeland.
What challenges did you face during the move?
There are always administrative and legal challenges to face when moving to a new country. You have to be aware of the rules, regulations, immigration laws in Luxembourg, and follow them accordingly. And since this challenge is real and affects every single upcoming expat, I decided to find a solution to this problem. In the end of 2018, I became an immigration service provider in Luxembourg, helping people with their immigration goals.
Are there many other expats in your area?
Luxembourg is very international, it has more than 170 different nationalities today. The foreign population now represents 47.48% of the total resident population.
What is your relationship like with the locals?
Luxembourgers are very sweet-hearted and welcoming. I find this culture absolutely unique. One of the reasons for its uniqueness is that, according to statistics, an average Luxembourger speaks 4.3 languages! Isn’t that impressive? Local people appreciate foreigners who try to learn and speak Luxembourgish while living in Luxembourg, Luxembourgers treat this as a nice and respectful gesture.
Let me therefore give some advice to all expats: if you intend to stay in Luxembourg, please feel free to integrate fully into this culture by learning Luxembourgish.
What do you like about life where you are?
Safety, calmness, respectful behavior, professional opportunities. Also, since 2018 a Luxembourgish passport has officially been recognized as the best passport in the world (Ireland and Switzerland are in joint second place). In addition, Luxembourg is about to become a ‘Start-up nation’, which will prove broader professional opportunities to its residents and expats. I think this is great news for both expats and locals.
What do you dislike about your expat life?
I became a Luxembourger last year, so I can be considered as an expat no longer. ☺ However, let me answer you on this. Even such a great country, like Luxembourg, can have its cons. I would put them this way:
1) the closure of shops at a very early time, by 18:00-19:00;
2) the information provided to expats is not complete and is sometimes difficult to understand;
3) there is no external support you can ask for about your immigration case, paperwork etc.
What is the biggest cultural difference you have experienced between your new country and life back home?
Luxembourgers take their time to have a proper long-lasting dinner with their families, usually they like to do it outside in the cafes or restaurants. ☺
What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?
To set goals. Setting goals should be the number one priority for everyone who seeks a new life abroad. Define what exactly it is that you want – your end goal. Break down exactly what is required to get there. Make sure your reason ‘WHY’ for doing what you must do, is strong. Have the strength and the purpose to keep going. And never give up until you get there!
What are your plans for the future?
After successful graduation from the University of Luxembourg, and after having worked for more than eight years in law, and after realizing that there is a clear need of immigration assistance, I started up my own immigration firm in Luxembourg, where the plan is to make the settlement of expats as smooth as possible, and make people avoid the difficulties within the whole immigration process.
You can find out more about Marina and her work on her website.
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