Rolling the Dice on Life

Rolling the Dice on Life

Rolling the Dice on Life      dice

The headline statistic from our research in 2012 was that 78% of participants wanted to work while living abroad but at the time of the survey only 44% were working in some form, 16% in full time employment.

Other studies have found similar results, a survey of French expatriates in 2015 found that only 50% of partners who wished to work when expatriated did so and 62% believed that expatriation was negative or very negative for their careers (Expat Communication, Alix Carnot).

Of course, career is not everything and many of the participants to our study talked about the value of the international experience from family and cultural, experiential perspectives as well.

Life is a balancing act. Whether we relocate abroad or stay home the relevance and importance of career will change over time to match our changing personal, professional and family needs.

Partners who relocate with children often tell us that their support role comes first, career second. We can absolutely relate to that, having taken time out of our careers to devote to our families when our children were young. A decision we don’t regret for a moment. We were lucky to have the opportunity.

Then, the time came when we knew we wanted to start to pursue our professional interests again. It was then that we wished we had kept our professional interests and networks active. Getting back, at times felt like an uphill struggle.

Whether the desire to pursue professional interests hits at the beginning of an assignment or further down the line… and years, it is important to be prepared.

Today’s interview is with Jacquie Kane. Jacquie is Scottish currently living in Boston in the USA. Jacquie is a PR and Marketing Specialist and is currently Director of Strategic Marketing and Communications at School Year Abroad.

We got to know Jacquie when she worked with us on the launch of Thriving Abroad providing valuable PR advice. She is an eminent professional and someone who loves her work and values her career.

When her husband first popped the international question, having been offered a position in Shanghai, Jacquie felt that a curve ball had been thrown. She loved her life in Scotland, had a great work and social life and hadn’t anticipated moving abroad. After much discussion and a fact-finding trip to Shanghai, Jacquie decided to commit to what she hoped would be an ‘incredibly transformative experience’ and said ‘let’s do it!’.

Jacquie does not have children and knew that her career was going to be hugely important in helping her to adjust.

‘I’d anticipated that my husband would be out at work, working long hours, and I didn’t fancy the idea of sitting alone in my skyscraper wondering what to do with myself.’

So, she set to and found herself a role in a large American global PR firm.

In this interview Jacquie shares with us her strategy for securing not one but three international roles while living abroad.

This interview is longer than our usual ones but the advice contained within is extremely valuable for anyone wishing to pursue and/or develop their chosen profession while living abroad.

We recognise that not every expat partner can or wants to work while living abroad. However, we recommend that everyone is cognisant of their skill set and strengths so that different future choices can be made. This is part of Jacquie’s heartfelt message and advice.

There is something for everyone in this interview wherever you are currently at in terms of your professional interests and development.

Jacquie says:

‘The art of managing your career abroad is to be open minded, adaptable, resilient and tenacious. Having the focus and energy to want to do something different demonstrates to a prospective employer that you’ve got grit… which most expat partners have in bucket loads. Because, if you’ve had to leave a familiar culture and a familiar environment to go overseas, you’ve already demonstrated that you’re courageous and that you’re happy to walk into the unknown and just roll the dice on life. So, capitalise on that and keep moving forward’

We hope that you enjoy this interview.

Jacquie was also keen to share the following resources with you. We hope you enjoy them and have fun!



Turning Challenges into Opportunities

Turning Challenges into Opportunities

This week Thriving Abroad is delighted to introduce you to Amel Derragui. You may already know Amel from her own podcast series, Tandem Nomads, dedicated to partners who are interested in developing their own portable careers and businesses.

Amel describes herself as a serial migrant, global citizen and expat partner who just so happens to also be a marketing expert having built a career in branding, marketing and communications. Through Tandem Nomads Amel is committed to helping other expat partners build their own success.

This interview is perfect for any expat partners who are wondering how to make the experience work fully for them from both a personal and professional perspective.

During the conversation Amel and Louise talked about

  • How it is easy to become a chameleon in adapting to new cultures and how important it is to also know ‘what we stand for.’
  • The value of planning in terms of understanding your ‘reason why’ for embarking on an international relocation. Amel suggests when deciding to relocate we need to know,

‘Are we escaping something or are we doing it because we want to discover something?’

  • Why flipping the coin and seeing the opportunities that emerge from the challenges is such a valuable approach to developing a new life abroad. In talking about her podcast Amel explained,

‘I wanted to mix my personal and professional experience and bring them together to help expat partners take leadership of their lives, because it is all about turning challenges into opportunities.’

  • The value of authenticity in terms of personal and business branding.

And loads more!

Amel is excited to share with you her new free resource, 4 Steps to Turn Confusion to Confidence. An ebook for expat partners who want to build a portable career and thrive in their global nomadic life. You can also join her Facebook group Tandem Nomads HERE

As always we would love to hear your views and opinions. Come over the Thriving Abroad Facebook page and leave your comments there OR join our Thriving Abroad closed Facebook group.

How Stories of Birth Abroad Led to an Exciting New Career

How Stories of Birth Abroad Led to an Exciting New Career

For those of us who have relocated internationally, giving birth and raising young children abroad can be simultaneously one of the most challenging and most heart-warming and fulfilling aspects of our experience abroad.

We have both experienced this first-hand and so when the book, Knocked Up Abroad by Lisa Ferland was published in January 2016 we knew that the fantastic stories would resonate with many of you.

As Lisa explains:

‘the most interesting part is not the birth stories in themselves, but more the impact these experiences have had on the authors from a personal transformative perspective, and also the cultural insights the stories provide.’

Lisa knows all about international relocation. She and her husband relocated from the USA to Sweden in search of a better work life balance. Listen to the podcast to find out how that all worked out!

Also discover:

  • How relocating internationally lead Lisa to the creation of this new career in publishing. Lisa says ‘it is interesting how when you can’t do what you’ve been trained to do, how you can find a new path in an unexpected way and be just as fulfilled by it, or more so’.
  • How one book is leading to another and her plans for the second book in the series, which is due out later in 2016. You can find out more about this exciting project by viewing the book launch video HERE.

If you are pregnant or considering starting your family while living abroad then the stories in this book with comfort and inspire. You can buy the book HERE.

If you are an expat partner who is wanting to take their career in a new and exciting direction then this interview will inspire you to consider what is possible and how while pushing our own professional comfort levels can be tough, perhaps even risky, the rewards can be substantial.

We hope that you enjoy our conversation with Lisa.

Please share this interview and the Thriving Abroad podcast with your friends and social networks, and as always your comments are welcome.

Think BIG, Start Small – Ali Meehan

Think BIG, Start Small – Ali Meehan

Ali Meehan’s the creator of a community with 5000 members and a social media following of over 15,000 so it’s a little surprising to hear that the piece of advice she really wants to share with others thinking about starting a business is to “think big”.  Her community Costa Women (which supports women expats all over Spain, not just the Costas) has grown so phenomenally over the last six years that it’s hard to imagine that Ali didn’t start it with this kind of growth in mind.

‘When you create a business, the advice I’d give to anybody is to think bigger. Start small, definitely, but think bigger.’ Ali Meehan

But with Imagineer Ali at its helm, the multi award winning community has grown beyond her wildest dreams. It’s now an online community helping expat women all over Spain to connect with and support each other. It’s also grown beyond it’s online origins; there are now Costa Women meetups all over Spain and an annual Make It Happen conference in March which celebrates International Women’s Day and aimed at expat business women and aspiring business women.

In our interview with Ali, Evelyn talks to her about

  • Her expat journey and what inspired her to set up Costa Women
  • The Costa Women community and how it has grown and developed
  • loads of great thoughts and advice for aspiring expat business people not just in Spain but around the world.

If you’d like to learn more about Costa Women, you can join the community here. It’s free to sign up and you’ll connect with women living all over Spain. There are forums on all kinds of subjects from practical about Spain information, to food and travel, to starting a business. There are also classified ads and a jobs board. In addition, you can find Costa Women on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

If you enjoyed the podcast, don’t forget to subscribe on iTunes so you’re the first to hear about new episodes.

French Polynesia to New York and Beyond – Sibylle Eschapasse

French Polynesia to New York and Beyond – Sibylle Eschapasse

This week we are happy to welcome Sibylle Eschapasse to the Thriving Abroad Podcast. We are sure that her delightful story and personality will charm and inspire you.

Born in France, educated at the Sorbonne, Sibylle spent her teenage years in Morocco. She studied History and Geography and her interest in this subject and her enthusiasm for travel and adventure took her to the South Pacific where she researched first the impact of man on the beautiful coral reef on the remote islands of Wallis and Futuna, and then the consequences of the cruise industry on Tahiti

In this interview Sibylle shares:

  • Her experience of living on these beautiful islands.
  • How she traded this remote area of the world for one of the most vibrant and busy cities on this earth.
  • Why she decided to arrive on a freighter.
  • How she developed her career in the ‘big apple’ first working for the French Consulate when she arrived In New York, to her current position, working in the Counter Terrorism Executive Directorate of the United Nations.
  • Her passion for ‘style’ and her voluntary role writing a column in the weekend edition of the Epoch Times.
  • Advice for people considering an international relocation.

We hope that you enjoy this interview with Sibylle and perhaps it will spark for you, as it has for us, a fascination with these amazing places.

For those of you in the Northern Hemisphere, wherever your summer vacations have taken you this year, we wish you a wonderful relaxed and enjoyable time with family and friends.

Inspiring Expat Interviews – Naomi Hattaway

Inspiring Expat Interviews – Naomi Hattaway

Stand Proud – The positive impact of volunteering

This week we are excited to welcome Naomi Hattaway to our podcast interview series. Naomi spent her expat years in India and Singapore and volunteering was a massive part of her life. Today she shares her experience and we talk about the value of volunteering.

Wherever you live in the world, there will no doubt have been times when you have been asked to volunteer and give your time, skills and experience for the benefit of others.

Andy Haldane, Chief Economist of the Bank of England (The Economist 2014) stated that volunteers in the UK do the work of approximately 1.25 million ‘proper’ employees. The volunteer sector of the UK producing about £50 billion worth of economic output, roughly the size of the British energy sector.

Worldwide each year nearly 1 billion people are engaged in volunteering.

There are obviously huge benefits

  • For the communities and people the volunteers serve.
  • For the volunteers in terms of social interaction and general sense of well-being derived from their engagement in their volunteer roles.

For expats volunteering is often an excellent way to become involved in the new local community and at the same time make a valued contribution.

And yet

We know anecdotally and personally how we can downplay those contributions, especially the expat partners. This is demonstrated by the way we refer, or prefer not to refer to our voluntary activities. We hear people saying things like,

  • ‘I help out a little bit at the refuge, its nothing really.’
  • ‘I have a huge career gap, all I did was some volunteer work while we were overseas.’
  • ‘I don’t know who will want to employ me, my role (full-time leadership role) was only voluntary while we were abroad.’

Today we want to celebrate your contributions and encourage every volunteer to stand proud and recognise the massive contributions that voluntary efforts make.

We interviewed the wonderful Naomi Hattaway on this topic. Naomi is the founder of ‘I am a Triangle’ a hugely successful Facebook community, created for people who have lived their lives in other cultures and countries, either as an adult or a child.

Her approach to life is represented by these words;

‘There are only two things required in life, one is to show up, the second is to be kind’

In this podcast episode Naomi shares

  • The role that volunteering has played in her life at home and abroad.
  • Her suggestions on how to talk about our volunteer experiences from a professional perspective.
  • Her belief that volunteering doesn’t have to be about finding and joining something that already exists. Her suggestion:

‘You can fill a gap, there is no bigger confidence builder than the fact you created something that was needed’

  • How her experience as a volunteer was invaluable in the creation of her own business.

We hope that you enjoy the interview and will be inspired to see your voluntary contributions in the positive light that they deserve. You can listen to our conversation on the player at the top of the post where you can also download it and subscribe to future episodes.

You can connect with Naomi via LinkedIn and get to know her better through her Blog.

Naomi also invites you to join the Facebook group I am A Triangle and participate in the Tri-Connect meetings which are beginning to spring up all over the world. 

How do you represent your voluntary activities positively on your profiles such as LinkedIn and your resumé? Following Naomi’s advice why not go and update your profiles to represent these important and valuable roles.

If you enjoyed hearing Naomi’s story, don’t forget to leave us a review on iTunes and while you are there, click subscribe to make sure you don’t miss future episodes.

If you are interested in joining our private Facebook Group for expat partners interested in focusing on their personal and professional development while abroad, click on the link above and ask to join.