Na Slovensku aj po anglicky: Sharon Sen

Text Jeremy Hill

Sharon, originally from the small town of Kulai, Malaysia, shares her transformative journey from her close-knit hometown to settling in Slovakia. Her narrative offers a poignant insight into the challenges and triumphs of adapting to a new culture, language, and family dynamics.

A Reluctant Scholar: Growing up in Kulai, Sharon found the confines of formal education stifling. Her candid admission that she didn’t enjoy school, particularly in her secondary years, illuminates the struggle many face when conforming to societal expectations. Despite her reluctance, Sharon’s tenacity pushed her through, setting the stage for her future adventures.

Family Ties and Hardships: Sharon’s family, marked by her father’s industriousness and her mother’s resourcefulness, weathered its share of trials. Her father’s demanding work in machinery repair, coupled with a short temper, painted a picture of determination in the face of adversity. Her mother, despite limited formal education, displayed remarkable adaptability, excelling in skills like languages.

Tragedy and Transformation: The unforeseen tragedy of her brother’s kidnapping and subsequent passing marked a turning point for Sharon’s family. The heart-wrenching experience forced a reevaluation of familial bonds, bringing them closer. Sharon’s father, profoundly affected, found solace in work, while her mother’s strength shone through in caring for the family.

Art and Travel: Sharon’s Escape and Passion: Sharon’s artistic inclination emerged as a beacon of light during her tumultuous years. University in Kuala Lumpur became her sanctuary, fostering her love for art. It was during this time that she embarked on a transformative solo backpacking trip across Europe. This journey ignited her passion for travel and a deeper appreciation for European culture.

Love Across Borders: In a twist of fate, Sharon’s path crossed with her future husband, in a bar. Their love story defied borders and expectations, illustrating the power of connection beyond nationality. Her parents, no strangers to international unions, welcomed the match with open arms.

Malaysia, Vietnam, and the Journey to Slovakia: Their nomadic lifestyle led them from Malaysia to Milaca, and then to Vietnam. When the opportunity to settle arose, Slovakia called to them. Sharon’s love for Slovakia had been kindled by her husband, and the quiet, serene atmosphere beckoned. The decision was solidified by the convenience of obtaining permanent residency.

Adapting to Slovakia: While Slovakia offered an idyllic setting, it wasn’t without its challenges. The language barrier and the slower pace of services proved to be a significant adjustment. Sharon, accustomed to the efficiency of Asian countries, had to acclimate to a different rhythm.

Artistic Endeavors and Market Ventures: Sharon’s artistic talent took center stage as she navigated the intricate world of Slovak markets. From Saché to Košice, she encountered both the thrill of showcasing her work and the apprehension of handling sales and communication, especially in a language foreign to her.

Motherhood in a New Land: Sharon’s journey through motherhood in Slovakia was buoyed by her supportive mother-in-law. Despite language barriers, their unspoken understanding created a nurturing environment for her son, Oliver. Sharon gracefully balanced her artistic pursuits with the demands of caring for her young child.

Looking Forward: As Sharon re-enters the workforce after her maternity leave, the challenges of being a foreigner, language constraints, and the competitive job market have posed hurdles. Despite setbacks, Sharon’s resilience shines through, as she finds creative outlets, conducts workshops, and explores avenues to further her career.

Sharon’s narrative encapsulates the resilience of the human spirit in the face of change. Her journey from Kulai to Slovakia is a testament to the transformative power of love, art, and the pursuit of one’s passions. In every challenge, Sharon emerges stronger, demonstrating that the truest adventure lies in the path less traveled.

Thank you to my guest Sharon Sen. You can find her work online at:

Theme song: Cristian Estrella – 25 cóndores índigos rumbo a Marte (intro version) . You can find Cristian’s work online at:

Na Slovensku aj po anglicky is the podcast of Jeremy Hill who in 2020, eleven years after he arrived in Slovakia, came up with the idea for the show. In it, he shares interesting and important stories, mostly from the perspective of migrants living in Slovakia.

The podcast is financialy supported by [fjúžn]/Nadácia Milana Šimečku

Realizované s finančnou podporou Fondu na podporu kultúry národnostných menšín

This episode was created with financial support from the Fund for the Support of the Culture of National Minorities
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