We recently completed the first series of a brand new Lazy Women podcast, entitled ’Making it’ in Western Europe: Experiences of Young Eastern-European Women. The series, co-founded by the European Cultural Foundation, presents young Eastern European and Central Asian women’s stories of moving abroad, whether for personal or political reasons, and puts their testimonies and ideas of belonging in conversation with women who have grown up in Western Europe. 

This new series reflects the core value at Lazy Women of ‘the personal is political,’ and, building on the existing podcast series, each episode serves as a small case study or a microcosm of the wider political context of interviewee’s points of departure and arrival, and what this says of the European project at large. Each episode considers the structural issues inherent to each political environment discussed, and tries to find patterns between these diverse stories, while remaining personal, relatable, and offering a sense of community. 

The project does not want to promote one specific view or opinion of Europeanness, or prescribe how people experiencing the challenges of relocation, homesickness, and a new culture should feel about the European dimension at large. Instead, this series aims to provide an open platform and space for honest and critical self-reflection in a non-judgemental environment, fostering solidarity and mutual understanding.

In addition to the eight core episodes of the series, there are a few bonus expert episodes dotted throughout, and as the series has unfolded, live online follow-up discussions have been organised for community members and listeners to join and engage in rich conversation.

Check out the trailer here to get a taste of what this is all about!

You can listen to the full series here, and here’s a rundown of every episode highlighting the key themes covered: 

Episode One: ‘Making it’ in Western Europe: roots, identity, and belonging with Zsofi

In the first episode, Zsofi, founder of Lazy Women, talks about her journey of moving around Europe and how her relationship with the ideas of home, belonging, and roots changed in the process. The conversation compares what it is to feel Hungarian compared to European, and the experience of trying to make a home in Paris. 

Episode Two: ‘Making it’ in Western Europe: language, homesickness and diaspora with Dorina

This episode features Dorina, former Lazy Women community manager, who left Hungary for Vienna and re-discovered a deeper attachment to her roots in the process. The discussion explores the role of language while integrating a new country, whether it’s truly possible to make local friends, and what makes one want to return back ‘home’.

Episode Three: ‘Making it’ in Western Europe: upbringing, selfishness and purpose with Dinara

The third episode explores the journey of Dinara, Lazy Women’s social media manger, from Kazakhstan to Budapest, first for studying but then as a longer term place to live as a result of the pandemic. Witnessing a tumultuous political environment and undergoing a personal identity crisis, through the episode Dinara ponders the implications and choices of leaving/returning, on finding purpose in life and ways of giving back to the community and people who make us.

Bonus Episode – Expert reflection: policy, migration and gender equality with MEP Katalin Cseh

This bonus episode is an exclusive interview with Katalin Cseh, a Hungarian physician turned politician and currently a vice-chair of the Renew Europe Group in the European Parliament. Katalin speaks about her passionate fight for gender equality, the current political climate in Hungary, the EP’s position towards migration, whether the East-West divide still persists – and the question this series keeps returning to: should we say or should we go? 

Episode Four: ‘Making it’ in Western Europe: customs, movement, and covid with Nino

In the fourth episode, Nino, originally from Georgia, talks about her experiences living in countries all over Europe, having recently moved back to her home country to start a family. The discussion explores what led her to make this decision, which counties felt the most welcoming, her affinity to Eastern Europe, the concept of the ‘West’, and Georgia’s long path towards EU accession.

Episode Five: ‘Making it’ in Western Europe: music, research and solidarity with Aida

The fifth episode features Aida, who arrived in Italy as a refugee from Bosnia when she was a child, and has since perfectly integrated into Italian society. Through her research, she is now re-discovering her roots and mother tongue, and the inter-related nature of her powerful conversation about trauma, human solidarity, and connections through music. 

Bonus Episode – Expert reflection: exile, structural barriers, and possibilities for improvement with Selin Bucak

This bonus episode features Turkish journalist Selin Bucak, currently based in Paris, and with a new book out, The Last Day Before Exile: Stories of Resistance, Displacement and Finding Home. Selin reflects on her own migration background and why she decided to write this book, the special sensitivity needed to discuss such a painful topic, the challenges and structural barriers awaiting refugees upon arrival, growing anti-migration sentiments in Europe and beyond, and what could be done to improve the current situation. 

Episode Six: ‘Making it’ in Western Europe: escape, beauty and stereotypes with Julie

Episode six of the podcast features Julie, Lazy Women’s new newsletter editor. Originally from Russia, Julie was arrested for her involvement in anti-war demonstrations and – with a short stop in Armenia – ended up in Paris. This is a difficult but powerful conversation about leaving everything behind, beauty standards, new languages, loneliness and the ‘need’ to fit in. The discussion also considers Slavic stereotypes, the importance of having and building communities, and what it feels like to be a Russian women in Europe right now. 

Episode Seven: ‘Making it’ in Western Europe: theatre, politics, and balance with Basia

The seventh episode of the series is a discussion with Basia, a theatre stage designer originally from Poland, who studied and worked in the UK, and is currently involved in theatre projects all over Europe. The conversation explores Basia’s upbringing in the countryside, her art education, her relocation to the UK and subsequent return to Poland and the different roles hat art of theatre play in various countries.

Bonus Episode: Expert reflection: health, inclusivity and stigma with Ninti

This bonus episode features Fatoumata Ly and Olga Kokshagina, co-founders of Ninti. Ninti’s mission is to break stigma around women’s reproductive health and to bring these discussions into the workplace. Originally from Guinea and Russia, Fatoumata and Olga’s work is deeply influenced by their migration backgroun and the challenges they had to navigate on the way during their travels around the world.

Episode Eight: ‘Making it’ in Western Europe: name, class, and dance with Lucie

The final episode of the series features Lucie’s (sometimes bumpy) journey from the Czech Republic to Brussels, via Norway, Hungary, Italy and the UK. Lucie opens up about her background, difficulties with her name, the role that education played in her social mobility, and her never-ending love for dancing. She also discusses living with an international partner, and how Brussels finally allowed her to combine all her disparate identities and life experiences. 

If you find a favourite episode, want to share your thoughts, or your own stories of migration in Europe, the Lazy Women team would love to hear from you!

Reach out via Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, or Substack

Written by Lauren Powell.

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the Directorate General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.