Published on August 14th, 2010 | by thevyne3
Tips for Living Abroad
It seems like more of our friends are moving overseas – whether for short periods of time or, in some cases, for good. In case you’re thinking about moving away, check out some of the experiences and tips from fellow Vyne readers, Nadia, Chereese and Natasha:
Nadia Johnson, Senior DIrector- Human Capital @ Rent The Runway
Where did you live overseas and why did you move? London, UK for a job assignment
How long did you live overseas? 9 months
What do you find most challenging? Truly bonding with the Brits. They are a closed off bunch who are difficult to really get to know. Relationships take a LOOOONG time to develop.
Any tips for others considering moving overseas? Have an open mind, relish change, view everything as an adventure and try not to compare everything to”back home”…its supposed to be different! Embrace it- the frustrating, the normal, and the amazing!
What was the most memorable thing you did while living overseas? Travel. I knew I was there for a defined period of time so I took advantage of it. I went somewhere every other weekend…the regional airlines made it easy. Say Yes to EasyJet, and say NO to RyanAir.
Chereese Johnson, Recruitment Manager, Chevron Corporation
Where do you/did you live overseas and why did you move? Paris, France as part of a study abroad program and Luanda, Angola for a work assignment.
How long did you live/will you be living overseas? Paris – 3 months, Luanda – 1.5 years (so far)
What advice do you have for others moving overseas or considering it?
- Save your money! Living overseas as an expatriate can be very lucrative at a global corporation. Don’t blow this opportunity to build a significant nest egg. Be smart and contribute the maximum into your 401K and hire a financial planner if needed.
- Be Flexible! Things are definitely different and can take some time to get used. The things that you wouldn’t tolerate in your home country are things you may have to live with. It is ok… you will live.
- Get to know the local people! I have observed that many expats have the tendency to only engage with locals at work. Local citizens can help to enhance the overall experience. Some of my closest friends here are locals that I hope to keep in touch with in years to come.
- Learn the Language! My experience from Paris taught me that I needed to learn the language. I wanted to have conversations with other people. I wanted to be able to communicate with my driver and maid (Yes, this can be one of the perks of living overseas) without having to rely on someone else.
- Understand that love can happen in another country! As African American single women, we do have a tendency to shy away from overseas experiences because of the relationship factor. Will I be able to find someone? Is this pulling me out of the game for numerous years? Just because you are not in your home country, doesn’t mean that love stops! It is possible that the love of your life can be waiting for you in another country.
- Research the country! This is very important so that you have as much information as possible. Talk to others, read books, visit the country, etc. You don’t want to have a situation where you want to leave the day you arrive.
Natasha Davidson, Director of Marketing Effectiveness, Philips
Where do live overseas? Currently live in Amsterdam, Netherlands
How long have you lived overseas? Been living in Amsterdam for 10 months so far
What made you move overseas? I had always wanted to live in Europe in my adult life. I was born in the UK but my family moved to the US when I a child. My move to Amsterdam specifically was because I got a new job, which was sparked by my desire to leave consulting.
What do you find most challenging? Being so far away from my family and close friends has been the hardest part. I moved here on my own knowing absolutely no one. The second hardest thing is the absolutely difficult time finding products and hair stylists who can deal with black hair. It’s so hard to believe that with so many Black women living in Europe, that hair care is not at the same standard as it is in the US!
Any tips for others considering moving overseas? Do your research and be sure that you can handle the ups and downs of a new culture. Know that it will be hard but it will be one of the most rewarding and life-changing experiences you’ll have. Read”Get Ahead by Going Abroad”, it’s a great book that has helped me with transitioning overseas.