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Claire Smith

My name is Claire, and I am American expat living in northwest Germany.

“Where are you from?” is a rather complicated question. Although I spent much of my childhood in South Carolina, I have strong family ties to Michigan. I did my first stint abroad in 1997 in Kassel, and in 2002 I met “my German” while doing research for my PhD thesis in Oldenburg. I often say that I went to Germany for work, but I stayed for love.

I now find myself in a small town in northwest Germany, where I live with my German husband and our two boys. Expat life resulted in re-thinking my career path (toward academia and tenure) and now I teach English and politics in a German public secondary school.

I am passionate about teaching, politics, superhero movies (mostly Marvel, but I adore Wonder Woman) and cocktails. All of my German friends think I am a bit odd.

Julia Simens

Hi everyone,

I am a USA passport holder that has been living the past 25+ years abroad. I recently retired and spend time in Nevada and on Roatan, Honduras.  Undecided on where I should move to full time so weighing the pros and cons of these two places. Currently living on the beautiful island of Roatan.

I love water, little kids and coffee, so expect to see plenty of these things during my curation week. I look forward to your questions, comments, and feedback on my tweets.

As an author, educator, speaker, and consultant, I share my professional and personal experience, as the mother of two TCKs, with audiences worldwide.  In 2011, my book, “Emotional Resilience and the Expat Child,” was published.

I love the water so I took the first chance I got to move to the sea, being granted a scholarship to study at Chaminade University, Honolulu. There, I studied psychology and education. Still charmed by the sea, my first teaching post was in Tafuna, American Samoa. Then I moved to the San Francisco Bay area to get my master’s in Clinical Psychology. I have since worked in Singapore and Perth, Australia where we added two kids, a cat and dog into our family and the start of a “five continent life abroad”. With an ever-lengthening train of suitcases and container shipments, our family lived, worked and studied together in Singapore, Australia, Indonesia, Nigeria, Thailand, and the USA.

My children true global nomads have worked and studied in Canada, Argentina, Spain, and India.

To date I have worked with over 8000 global families, representing upwards of 50 different nationalities.

You can also find me on:
@Jsimens on Twitter
@Juliasimens on Instagram
juliasimens on YouTube

On Facebook https://www.facebook.com/EmotionalResilienceExpatChild/

Blog: www.jsimens.com

Books – Emotional Resilience and the Expat Child: Practical Storytelling Techniques That Will Strengthen the Global Family, Julia Simens, Summertime Publishing, 2011.

Ready, Aim, Soar! : The Expert Insights System for Business Growth and Success in the 21st Century by Marcia Wieder Featuring Rick Frishman, Dan Janal, Julia Simens and Tom Antion 2012.

Stefanie Kogler

Hello, I’m Stefanie!

I left a small Austrian village in the mountains (yes, just like the Sound of Music, only my clothes were not made of curtains) when I was barely 18 years young and I never looked back. Leaving the trappings of a very traditional, catholic, and conservative background, that I always struggled to understand, proved the best thing I did for myself.

I moved to the UK and lived there for 16 years. I was able to follow my ambitions and found that being outgoing and different was not such a bad thing after all. The UK made me who I am today and I am forever grateful for having been accepted there for all those years. Throughout that time, I worked, volunteered, and got myself through university, which was a lifelong ambition of mine.

I also lived in South America for a year studying, travelling the Gringo Trail, and learning Spanish, and I backpacked through Japan on my own, which was an amazing experience.

I met my husband in Switzerland a few years ago, and it became clear quite soon that my time in the UK was up (also partially due to a well-known referendum you may have heard of). We moved to Germany, and I have been here for about two years.

Still, I will always regard the UK as my home. I have made lifelong friends there and I think and feel in English. I visit my adopted home as often as I can.

As an art historian and curator, I keep a social media diary of exhibitions I visit and art I see around.

You can find me on Instagram @ruptureworkinprogress and on twitter @rupturework and @skogle.

Alexandra Illes

Hæ Hæ!

I am Alex, a 31 year old American from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Go Steelers!). In July, I moved to Reykjavík, Iceland with my husband, Tom, and our two cat children!

We never planned to move abroad and our life was pretty set in Pittsburgh. We own a house there, both of our families are in Pittsburgh, so we weren’t looking to move anywhere let alone another country! My husband is a secondary Maths teacher and in April of 2018 he received a job posting through a teachers group for a position of Maths teacher in Casablanca, Morocco. He jokingly sent me an email saying that he applied for the job. I replied (obviously after checking that the cats could come as well!) “Why shouldn’t we look at living abroad if you are able to teach Maths in English in another country?!”

So long story short, Tom applied all over the world and received many interviews and several offers, but the school in Reykjavík was the best fit for him and they offered me a job as a teaching assistant at the school too. My background is in public health and I was working in clinical research before the move. The move into a teaching assistant role has surprisingly been pretty seamless. I was worried that I would make mistakes, but I have great co-workers who have helped make the transition easy.

It was stressful since we didn’t plan for a large move, so we had a lot of unexpected costs (cost of importing the cats, not getting our U.S. house rented right away, security deposit, 14 bags of luggage, etc.), but it has all been worth it. Iceland is a gorgeous country, friendly people, and Reykjavík feels like being on a college campus. We don’t know how long we will be here, but we plan on using our time here wisely by not only exploring Iceland, but Europe since we can easily jump on a cheap (cheaper than from America) flight!

You can find me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @alex.renee.is.away

Nicole Palazzo

Hallo! I’m Nicole, an American originally from Philadelphia (like the cream cheese), Pennsylvania and currently living in Freiburg, Germany.

Wanderlust has always been in my heart, so when I lived in the states, I implemented a life hack in order to experience different cultures within America’s standard 10 vacation days per year: namely, I made it a point to move to different regions every couple of years. After growing up in the Northeast, I moved to Charleston, South Carolina to learn the South and then moved to Chicago, Illinois to learn the Midwest. Somewhere along the line, I accidentally fell into a long-distance relationship with a half-German, half-American guy. What’s that saying about life being what happens when you have other plans? Right.

After completing my master’s degree in Library and Information Science, I decided now was as good a time as ever to try out life in Germany. I was excited to move in with my boyfriend and drop the long-distance term, and I was curious to see how I fared when faced with the challenges of immersing myself in a foreign culture and language. Despite being in a fairly international city with plenty of infrastructure to help foreigners adapt, I still had a very tough time, thus inspiring me to launch a podcast, The Expat Cast, where I share stories, promote resources, and create community for expats all over, but especially those in or from Germany.

I’m now a librarian by day and podcaster by night, but when I’m not working either gig, I’m most likely found reading, doing puzzles, hiking, drinking a hot beverage, heading from here to there, or getting to know someone new.

You can find me on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest at @TheExpatCast, and the podcast is available on all major podcast apps.

Judith Waller

Hej, I’m Judith, and this is my second time curating this account, I guess you could call me a seasoned expat, having left my birthplace, Manchester, UK, over 12 years ago, and now residing in my third country, Sweden, after a short time in the US, and 10 years in Switzerland, and of course, travelling to many others!

I “was” a research scientist by trade, having a background in material science and engineering, but curiosity keeps getting the better of me, so in August last year I quit my job in Switzerland, packed up my stuff into a car (and a small truck that followed a few weeks later) and drove up to “Northern” Sweden, to live in Östersund, where I’m now in my second, and final year of a Masters degree in Ecotechnology and Sustainable Development, learning about the challenges facing the planet as we strive for sustainability, and trying to fit as many other activities into my spare time as possible!

I’m currently vice president of the committee for international students, a trip leader in the snow and outdoor section of the university sports section, and a mentor in the library, helping other students out with study issues.

Sweden has very quickly become my home, and I’m thoroughly enjoying life up here, so this week I want to share the joys of the dark Swedish winters, and show you why I have no regrets about moving here, and to interact with you throughout the week! I can also be found at @judithwaller

Dan Hewitt

 

Konnichiwa everyone.

I’m Dan, a 34 year old northern lad with a passion for content creation and punk rock.

Originally from Sheffield in the UK, I moved to Japan in April 2016 and never looked back. I currently find myself living and working in Osaka, Japan. The people of Osaka are so awesome and friendly and the food is out of this world. There is so much to see and do that you could be here for decades and still not see it all.

As for my work, I teach English in a junior high school. Like a lot of people, I left the UK as I felt trapped in a life that wasn’t for me and needed to start fresh. It was the best decision I have ever made.

Things that make me tick include going to live punk shows, going to awesome Japanese festivals and blasting out some tunes in Karaoke. I document a lot of my life and adventure in Japan on my youtube channel so please check it out if you have the time. http://goo.gl/eyDCA3

On social media, you can find me on almost anything with the name @jadandandan

Ronnie Torrance

Hello, I’m Ronald (but everyone calls me Ronnie), originally from Glasgow in Scotland, and currently living in Zhengzhou, Henan Province, China. I have to confess, this is not my first time in China – actually, it’s my fourth! I first came to China after graduating with my bachelor’s degree in 2013. My major was in English literature and I wanted to take a year away from studying before returning to Scotland to do my master’s degree, which I completed in 2015. Prior to that, I was living in Shanghai and, being interested in literature and culture, I was keen to explore Chinese literature, which is still a specialised subject in the UK.

In summer 2015, I once again returned to China, but this time, I was studying at Nankai University in Tianjin, Hebei Province. The last time I was in China – prior to arriving in Zhengzhou – was in 2016; my friend and I spent four weeks travelling China and visited many places, including Beijing, Hangzhou, Xi’an and, of course, my Chinese hometown: Shanghai.
Professionally, I’m currently a lecturer in English at Zhengzhou University, where I will hopefully also finish what has occupied most of my free time over the past three years: my PhD in English at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. I’m still a relative newbie to Zhengzhou (only arriving in September this year), so I’m still finding my way around the city and surrounding areas – I hope you’ll join me in sharing a little about my experiences as a re-expat in China!

Twitter: @rnldtrnc

Sarah Peel

 

Originally from the small town of Lakefield, Ontario in Canada, I moved to Japan for three years in 2000. 18 years later I still haven’t found my way back home. I now live and work in Shanghai, China as an early years music specialist at a large bilingual preschool. Other homes have included Beijing, China and Onomichi City in Hiroshima Prefecture. I struggle to define myself as an expat. I’ve always made the choice to live and work overseas. There is very little permanent about the life we lead. I may have been in China 12 years, but its visa to visa, contract to contract, and so much as we choose to stay we cannot choose to settle.

When I’m not coteaching bilingual music classes for small humans I am an avid reader (41 books and counting this year!), casual cook, and enjoy connecting people with one another so amazing things can happen. If you’re looking to do the same, visit www.shanghaimamas.org an amazing organization serving expat families in Shanghai. I share my life with my 14 year old daughter from my first marriage (known online as Plusone) who is half Chinese, my British partner (known online as The Fella) who is an engineer, and our grouchy old cat Meefball. I also love music and sing with friends around Shanghai whenever I get the chance. If you’d like to hear me sing visit www.soundslikesarah.com for free access to my six song EP recorded here in Shanghai with some very talented friends.

Twitter: @sarahplusone WeChat: Sarahplusone