I had a plan A, and somehow or another someone else shared a plan B with me, which eventually distracted my Plan A… But I didn’t let it win!
You might be a bit confused now. And I don’t blame you, till now it has been a lot of back and forth in regard to my decision of moving back to Denmark or to stay in London (LND). I did a blog post explaining my final decision called Heart vs. Mind. But I found out that if the headline isn’t clear enough, not everyone will not get the punchline of the post. So, therefore, this time the headline indicates the punchline; I have decided to stay in London and to study Marketing Management at the University of Greenwich. It is a decision I have taken with pride, passion, and confidence! However, “Why?” is the question I’ve been asked the most since I shared the news with my friends, colleagues, and others.
THIS IS MY WHY
For starters, I knew before I graduated from College that I wanted to move London, and later on, I knew that I wanted to stay and challenge myself in order to grow! Also in terms of work experience, language skills, and cultural understanding etc. To explain why I’ve decided to turn the plate, fold my cards, and go all in, I want to use the principles of The Golden Circle, developed by the British/American author, motivational speaker, and marketing consultant Simon Sinek.
WHY: I want to wake up every day as it was on purpose and that purpose has to be to inspire people to do what gives them value in their life. Such as finding themselves and living a healthy and tailor-made life* (Explanation: Motivation).
HOW: By creating creative platforms and/or using existing medias open to the world.
WHAT I do: I learn and practice the principles of Marketing and Management at the University of Greenwich, in London, UK.
LONDON GOT THIS THING
Call me young, millennial, like-hunter, or whatever you THINK is an attachment to my last minute decision of staying in London. To tell you the truth “Yeah, it is cool to say I live in London“! However, do you know what it is about London that makes a person like me, want to stay? A person who knew he would have been able to study for free in Denmark and save himself from a debt on £30K, being close to his family and friends, having a nice flat (apartment) in the city he was raised, and in general living a calm and good student life the next 3/4 years with no worries about financial issues or what so ever. Do you really deep inside think that the feeling of saying “I live in London” is the matter of this decision? It’s up to you to judge, cause I don’t worry about what you or anyone thinks for that matter. However, I still want to make it very clear that London has a lot more than its name. Let me quickly explain by 3 key words:
CULTURE + MINDSET + THE FIELD
It’s no surprise that in a city with more than 8 million people you will meet people from different countries, with amazingly different cultures and values in life. Let me tell you this, it hits you surprisingly fast, you don’t even need to talk to anyone, just look! Look at people, smile towards them, and they’ll most likely smile back. I am a firm believer that life is relative and in this case, I know people who have born and raised in London, who will tell me they feel differently about this subject, and obviously, they don’t have something to compare with. However, to be very frank it’s not about people smiling. It’s about UNDERSTANDING. In MY experience and observation… (and I write ‘my’ in capital for a reason. You might disagree with me, which is totally fine. But as my Danish side of culture has taught and encouraged me to do, it is to not to be afraid to share my opinion)
People in London understand to empower, celebrate, and be genuinely curious about other cultures and backgrounds. Let me give you a quick example combined with a comparison with Denmark: since I started working at RL I have been asked by colleagues where I was from, to where I would answer “Born and raised in Denmark. But Persian by blood”. First, they’ll repeat “Persian?” And I’ll be thinking “Oh no, now I have to go through all that ‘are you Muslim’ thingy“… BUT NO! What I ‘ve surprisingly discovered by answering to “Where are you from” since day 1 in LND till this day today, I have never been questioned about having a religion or targeted about being different or asked stupid (you already know the answer) questions like this Danish video showcases: Den omvendte verden. Unfortunately, the video is only in Danish, but let me just explain further for you non-danish speaking:
Let’s take my city as an example. Aarhus, Denmark. We (Aarhus) have the title as European Capital of Culture in 2017. However, in my eyes, we mostly manage to live up to that title by looking at the papers or listening to what kind of events that are being created etc. Meaning that the actual vibe, value, and feeling of cultural understanding within the people is lacking, in my opinion. In addition to asking stupid questions, which unfortunately has been the case many times back home in Denmark, and it has been everyone from a stranger, a parent of my brothers’ classmate, friends etc. Actually, let me give you a fresh example:
2 weeks ago I was back home to visit my friend at the hospital. As he was sleeping, and I was sitting next to him watching TV, his dad and grandmother walk in. My friend woke up and while he was taking with his grandmother, his dad comes up to me and start asking about my situation in LND and how things are going, and just having a nice chat. But as I have experienced SO many times, he turns the conversation to a subject regarding religion and Muslims and blah blah blah… I don’t mind religion or Muslims as a subject. But the fact that I STILL till this day in 2017 with people who “know me”, and in this case knows my family, still HAVE TO EXPLAIN myself and educate this other Dane on who I am and what it means to be a Persian in terms of value and beliefs, and that it is different. The reason why I address the subject of ‘being a Persian’ every time I fall into this kind of situation is that he or she has/will never see me as a Dane.
Unfortunately, this is just 1 out of MANY examples and I truly believe that I am NOT the only one back in Denmark experiencing this. To you, to my brother, David, I can only say ‘Be Unique, Be You’ and make it a goal for yourself to not educate others but yourself, as eventually, they will have to adapt because WE, from other cultures, are different, and that is what makes us unique, I truly believe in that because LND proved that to me. LND showed me that when I replied “Born and raised in Denmark. But Persian by blood” People would most likely answer “Oh, so you speak Farsi? Meaning, due to the fact that there are 8 million people living in London, that someone else has introduced them to what it means to be Persian and they LISTENED and understood the essence! Then, depending on the persons own personal interest he or she would have some sort of understanding within the conversation and rarely include any kind of ‘stupid questions’ asked to ‘place a stamp’ on me, as I, unfortunately, keep experiencing in Denmark. The subject is a very close and an emotional case, not that I am sad, but more to the point of being disappointed. However, I will not use more energy on this for now. I believe it is time to wrap this up. But before we do so…
You might wonder about the last keyword ‘The Field’, thinking “Oh, here’s another smart term explaining how the world works“. Don’t worry, at an age of 20 years old, I humbly know when to say ‘you should’ vs. ‘My intuition says…’. In this case, I am talking about the field of Marketing and Business. London/UK, in general, has in many years been seen as the Western Europe powerhouse. The number of people, different people, results in opportunities for business or agencies to be creative in regards to content and ability to work between mass market and the niche market. In addition to being Western Europes powerhouse, London specifically has put themselves in a position of being a world capital of the creative industries and a basket of cultural delights. If you go to WARC 100 and look you’ll see that the US is number 1 on the list of best country for Marketing and advertising, and the UK is placed number 2 on the list which doesn’t come as a surprise as the UK boasts the head offices of a number of global ad agencies, including adam&eveDDB who has worked with projects for Manchester United and Google etc.
Side note: The UK also has WPP, the largest agency group.
In addition to comparing the US with the UK, I once read in a marketing blog about one noticeable difference between the two cities. London is more international, while New York serves mainly the US market. My intention is not to place the two countries against each other. But just to showcase how powerful the field of Marketing is in the city of London.
Finally, I can not wrap this up without sharing some key facts about the University I have decided to study at. The University of Greenwich is amongst top 10 universities in London and the marketing degree ranked 2nd overall in London (Complete University Guide 2017), and in addition to opportunities, Greenwich is one of the top two most globally diverse universities in the UK, US, Australia and New Zealand, (by Hotcourses Diversity Index.) Also named as one of the “most international” universities on the planet by Times Higher Education magazine. However, the punchline is, that this is the right place for me to stay. If I went with my plan B, It would have meant I would wake up 5 years from now, saying ‘I settled for life’. But now, I know I will wake up 5 years from now, and say ‘I choose my life!
I DONT DISLIKE DENMARK?
Oh, one more thing!
Surprisingly, I have been asked if this decision is because I don’t like Denmark… “is Denmark not good enough for you“?… I hope for people who know me that they know the answer but, I would still like to address the subject in order to make myself clear. First of all, if you think that I don’t like Denmark, you don’t know me well enough! Denmark is my home, whether you like it or not, that is the country on my passport. Denmark has given me the gift of good norms and values, the gift of free education, the gift of amazing healthcare, the gift of confidence towards the higher power, and most importantly Denmark, has been the place where I have been able to live an amazing life with great people, developing unforgettable memories with friends, best friends, and family! All in all, I will always love Denmark, as it is, and will always be my Home!
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