Hi! My name is Ruth and I’m a freelance writer who writes about the arts, race, identity, food, and travel. Home base is Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S.A., but I currently reside in Istanbul, Turkey. I enjoy exploring the city’s Old Town, taking the ferry down the Bosphorus, and sipping çay, well, anywhere and everywhere. Piping hot black tea with a sugar cube is ubiquitous and unavoidable aspect of Turkish culture. I also love just gazing out my window in Europe across the Bosphorus to Asia. (Istanbul is the only city situated on two continents.)
Living in a city with such extensive history, architecture, and art is truly a privilege. That being said, after eight years living outside the U.S., I’ve definitely started to feel the lack of representation within the expat community, which tends to be composed of people who are white, straight, and binary, with passport privilege and affluent backgrounds.
And so I’ve been trying to increase the diversity of my experience as an expat, and as a person living in a more racially/ethnically homogenous place than my home country. I can’t wait to show you my adopted city and the diversity of people and places I’ve found here!
Hello from Vienna! Originally for New York, we moved to Vienna from Nairobi last August. I live here with my husband and our two dogs, Oreo and Maddie. This week, as I curate the expat-account, you’ll get a view of my daily life as we slowly come out of Covid-19 lockdown.
The Austrian government has been managing the crisis really well. We all feel lucky to have had it much easier than many other places and to be coming out on the other side. Sometimes I feel a bit guilty about it as many other places are just now hitting the eye of the storm. Friends back home in NY and in Nairobi are still in lockdown and will likely be for a while. But here we are, starting to go out again. It’s a little weird – like a different kind of culture shock. I’ll be sure to tweet as I make my back into the world outside.
You can also find me on: @curriedpotato on Instagram @nyc_abroad on Twitter
Hello, I’m Fernando. I’m a writer and artist, recently moved to London after six years in Japan. Born in Chile, I moved to Australia as a young child and grew up like a classic third culture kid, speaking English at school and Spanish at home. In my late 20s, I moved to London, where my daughter was born. When she was 2, we moved to Delhi, then later Hong Kong, Singapore, and Tokyo.
Hello! My name is Kelsey and this is my second curation for @WeAreXpats! I am American, and have lived abroad in three countries: Spain, Germany, and, most recently, Australia. I am a water resources engineer and scientist, and I travel a lot for work! I moved to Australia in January 2020 for a Fulbright fellowship, but this was unfortunately cancelled due to CoVID-19 so I returned to the United States (unexpectedly) in mid-March. I love hiking, traveling, reading, and cooking, and look forward to connecting with all of you during my curation week. Feel free to follow me on twitter (@kelseyrosemcd) where I mainly tweet about science and the environment. I love hearing about others’ expat experiences and learning about new places to visit!
I’m an American writer living in London, dating a French man who lives in Paris. I’ve bounced between the US, UK, and France for the past three years. I’ve learned that two cliches are true – you’ll always return to Paris, and you find love when you’re not looking.
I first moved to Paris as an au pair after I graduated university a year early. I was 21 and had never left America before, so France was very different. I have lived in NYC, but the 16th district of Paris was almost a city in itself. My year in Paris led me to then live in London for a bit, where I found my MA program and applied. After, I returned to Paris before the US, as I had 3 months before I could apply for my UK visa. This is when I was trying not to date, and ended up meeting my partner.
My partner and I dated in person for 2.5 months before I returned to the US to get my student visa for the UK. We ended up being apart longer than we dated, but we made it, and have been Eurostar loyal customers ever since. I love London and Paris both so much, and in different ways. This autumn I’ll be moving to Paris again.
Sundae Schneider-Bean is American by birth, Swiss by marriage and an expat in South Africa by choice. Raised in Williston, ND, USA in a farming family, she wasn’t quite prepared for what her adult life had in store for her. Taking her from Spain, to Switzerland, Burkina Faso and later South Africa, she professionalized her passion for culture and transitions along the way. For more than a decade, Sundae has been a solution-oriented coach and intercultural strategist for individuals and organizations. Her clients range from European multi-national organizations to international NGOs, from West and East African country directors to new and seasoned expat spouses, representing over 60 countries across 6 continents. Sundae is the founder of Expat Coach Coalition, host of Nr. 1 rated podcast Expat Happy Hour and founder of Expats on Purpose. Find out more at www.sundaebean.com.
I grew up in the wilds of the Olympic Peninsula of Washington state where there mountains, rain forests, and the ice cold sea to contain me. When I was a young woman I met a British ex-pat working for a US company and eventually married him. To paraphrase what David Sedaris once said to explain how he ended up living in France, “You meet a man, you give up a little control and you end up eating a different part of the pig.”
In 2012 my husband (and our then two young kids) decided to give up life in Seattle and move to the wilds of Cornwall (in southwestern England) -near where he grew up. A trial year has turned into nearly eight. In that time so much has changed about the landscape of Britain, Europe and the world. While the chaos swirls about I do freelance work in the world of social media and copy-writing, and I wrote my first book about food, life and imaginary living. (My very lovely agent Emily Sweet is submitting it.)
To be an ex-pat now is so very different from what it was ten or twenty years ago. I live in a tiny village around a lot of sheep, and farmers whose ancestors have worked the same land for over 1,000 years, while I also remain so connected to a world of communication which moves at lightning speed. It is sort of like hopping between a freeway without a speed limit, and one of those narrow country lanes that meander. People talk about being a global citizen and I didn’t really understand it and feel it until I came to live here in Europe and saw how multi-faceted my identity could become. As I always tell people I have one foot in sea and one on land. (and I still miss the mountains of home.)
John grew up as a Third Culture Kid in Guatemala, Costa Rica, Connecticut, Panama, Morocco and Egypt. He’s worked as a journalist for over two decades, mainly covering the U.S. government as well as the scuba diving industry on the side. He was a board member of Families in Global Transition for four years, and is currently FIGT’s volunteer newsletter editor.
My expat journey began later in life when I left Australia at the age of 27 and moved to Atlanta, GA, USA, to teach in public middle school. This experience was an easy step into the expat life and I am forever grateful to the wonderful people that I met during my time there. When I repatriated (a word I did not know back then), I never felt ‘right’ and just wanted to continue living overseas. During this six month stint back in Australia, I accepted a teaching job near my home town and was ready to set up life back ‘home’; however, as fate would have it an international school in China needed to hire staff half way through the school year and within three weeks of interviewing in January 2005, I was on a plane to Nanjing and I have never looked back. From China, I moved to Frankfurt, Germany where I met my wife (a TCK) and two of our three children were born. In 2015, we moved to Mumbai, India and in 2017 Imogen was born. Although there have been times where Mumbai has tested just about everything there is to be tested about living and working overseas, we have grown to love the city that our children call home.
In our ‘mixed up family’, home is hard to define. I am very much rooted in Australia as my parents and one of my brothers still live in the area that I grew up in, but the rest of my immediate family are not so sure. Jessica (my wife) grew up on the beach in PNG and moved to Brisbane, Australia, at age 11 and has lived less 1/3 of her life there. Our boys think they are from Germany, but have Australian passports (they have never lived there). Imogen is too little to understand, but her brothers call her ‘our Indian baby’. And to just confuse everyone a little bit more, we have purchased property in France and this will be ‘home’ in the summer and at Christmas.
Even after 18 years of living abroad, there are days when I think about going home to Australia; however, when I look out of my 9th story apartment window at the Arabian Sea I think, how lucky am I and there is nowhere else I’d rather be (for now).
Hello, my name is Lisa Peter, and I came to the UK about six years ago from Germany. I had lived here before as part of my Erasmus university exchange while I was studying English literature, so I had a pretty good idea about what life could be like in England when I decided to relocate more permanently.
After a stint of lecturing at a university in Germany, I now work as a museum educator and project manager at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-upon-Avon. Stratford-upon-Avon is the small market town in the English Midlands that would be spectacularly unremarkable, were it not for the fact that the world’s most famous playwright was born here more than 450 years ago. My job is pretty unique in the way that it straddles academia, international collaboration work and public engagement, and it was this breadth of remit that made me apply for the job straight from Germany.
Life as a European immigrant to the UK has changed considerably since the Brexit referendum in 2016, and many of us have had to ask ourselves some really hard questions about why we are here and whether it is worth staying post-Brexit. I personally have put down roots here in the last couple of years. I have recently moved into a tiny house in Birmingham together with my partner, who is a poet. So, I came for one poet, and it looks like I’m going to stay for another.
I look forward to sharing my daily experiences with you during the next week over @WeAreXpats, and if you are interested in what I’m up to on a more permanent basis, you can find me on Twitter as @EleanorPe.