Imane, marketing manager
Imane is a strategic marketing manager in the financial services industry. She grew up in Morocco and lived in several different countries before moving to the UK. She has been living in London since 2010 and never grown tired of it.
"I have always believed that people would go the extra-mile for you if you are willing to take interest in their thoughts and opinions and also make time and efforts for them".
What do you consider your nationality to be?
I’m a Moroccan by heart and by citizenship.
Have you ever considered yourself a Foreigner?
I never thought of myself as a Foreigner, but rather as a Citizen of the World. I always believed that everyone of us belongs to this planet as a human being.
Can you tell us your story as a Foreigner?
I have previously lived in few different countries before coming to the UK. I have been living in London since 2010 and my story about this city is a bit of a ‘love-at-first-sight’ one.
I first visited London in December 2008 while I was living in Paris. I absolutely loved it: the vibe, the atmosphere, the culture. London was a natural choice for me when I was looking for a post-graduate degree. I applied to some programmes, got accepted in a MA in London and subsequently moved here.
What made you want to stay?
I have met some incredible people who really made me feel at home. I have also been very lucky in finding great career opportunities.
What do you enjoy about living abroad?
London is a melting-pot: you can find whatever you want here! The city has so much to offer: culturally, economically and artistically. No matter how long you live here, this city never ceases to amaze you. As Samuel Johnson said: “for there is in London all that life can afford”.
Was there any key encounter in this country that helped you, personally or professionally?
Friends I met prior to my move to London, university buddies and work colleagues; I feel very lucky to have met some incredible people. If you read this, you know who you are: thank you for making London my second home. I definitely would not have been able to stay during all those years without your support!
Do you think your experience as a financial professional would have been the same if you stayed in your country of origin?
Being in London has definitely been a plus in my work experience: it has given me a global exposure that I wouldn’t have had in Morocco. I have met and worked with people from all over the world which has broadened my horizons and taught me so many things. The work standards are very high here and so is the learning curve. Morocco is a developing country which now offers many opportunities; I feel like I have much more to give back to it now and bring more experience, a different angle from the one I had when I first started working.
How do your origins inspire your work?
Moroccans are very warm and communicative people. I definitely bring this approach to my work: I like to establish strong ties with people I interact with and to have a personal touch. I have always believed that people would go the extra-mile for you if you are willing to take interest in their thoughts and opinions and also make time and efforts for them.
What about the local influence?
British culture has definitely influenced my way of working: I try to take a step back and analyse the situation before jumping into it. However, I must admit that my Mediterranean side will also always be present in a way or another.
Is there anything you would like British people to know about your country of origin?
Morocco is not only about desert, camels and couscous (although the latter is delicious). There are so many opportunities there and it is full of smart and hard-working people.
What are your plans for the future?
The Million dollar question! Can I call a friend for that?
Where is home?
Although I am very strongly attached to London; home is and will always be Morocco! You can leave Morocco, but you can never take it out from a Moroccan.
What words/ideas do you associate with "Foreigner"?
Most people associate the word ‘Exotic’ when I say that I’m from Morocco. But for me a Foreigner is someone who is bringing new ideas and a new culture. Someone who has left his/her comfort zone to expand his/her horizons and also make other people benefit from all the advantages of his/her country of origins. Foreigners are unique, adventurous, curious and above all proud of who they are.