About Expat Focus
I have a returning guest today - it’s Mia Stewart, who joins me to talk about winning the US Green Card Lottery. Also known as the DV Lottery, or the Diversity Immigrant Visa Program. If you’ve listened to my first interview with Mia, you’ll recall that she and her husband moved from Australia to the USA a few years ago, to LA specifically, on an O-1 Visa. So we’re going to find out the process they’ve gone through to adjust their visa status, and what made them enter the green card lottery in the first place? But that’s not all that Mia’s been up to, she’s also had a baby in the States. And if you listened to my recent interview with Cigna Healthcare, you’ll know just how important it is to have good health insurance when you live in the USA. So Mia and I are also going to speak about that, and some of the costs related to her pregnancy.
Gabor Holch’s relationship with China began two decades ago, on what he thought was simply a two-year sabbatical. As an Intercultural Leadership Coach and Consultant, Gabor has worked with China-based managers at countless multinationals over the years. And he was there for what was dubbed the ‘Golden Age’ for foreign businesses in China, when loads of expats were moving there on lucrative work packages, for a guaranteed boost in their careers. Gabor joins me for a chat about how the business landscape has changed, and the key attractions and benefits of China for today’s international talent. We touch on China’s infamous internet restrictions, and some of the many anecdotes that Gabor gathered on work and life from expat professionals for his latest book, called Dragon Suit.
How easy is it for a foreigner to find a job in Denmark, if they haven’t been fortunate enough to line up something for when they arrive? What sectors are they most likely to find work in, and what are some need-to-knows about Danish workplace culture? My guest to answer all of these questions and more is Kate Dahl, a career consultant for internationals in Denmark.
Writer and Editor Kirsten Raccuia is known for her Sand in My Curls blog, which until recently, was all about her expat life in Malaysia. We last spoke at the height of the global pandemic, when she and her husband were closing in on a decade in Penang. Fast-forward a couple of years, and they’re in a new country, Mexico. I’m chatting with Kirsten again to find out what factors influenced their decision to move, and why Mexico? And what it was like to close the Malaysia chapter of their life abroad.
I first spoke to Max Lee just over a year ago on the show, and he was preparing to move his young family from North America to Taiwan. It was a move abroad that they’d been planning for many years, and Max intended to focus on his music career in their new country, while his wife would be remote working for a company back in the States. One year on, I’m excited to find out where they’re at - what went to plan, and what plans changed.
A topic that comes up quite often in our Facebook groups is moving abroad with children. What’s the ideal age? Especially if they're going to need to learn a new language? What about the best time of year to move? And how do you make the assimilation process, from learning new cultural norms to making new friends, as smooth and enjoyable as possible? My guest today is someone who can speak from experience. Sharon Green is the founding editor of online publication SHE DEFINED. And in 1998, just before she turned 12, Sharon migrated with her family from Durban in South Africa to Melbourne in Australia. Sharon’s going to share her experience of being a third culture kid, and how it has shaped her sense of belonging as an adult.
When American, Samaki Dorsey Schneider moved to France permanently five years ago, the last thing the 44 year-old expected was to need to take a driving test. But that’s the reality for some expats who can’t simply exchange their existing driver’s license for a French one. Keep listening to find out why this is the case, what the testing process is like in France, some of the costs involved and the road rules that might be a little different to what you’re used to.
Click here to get a quote from Cigna Healthcare for health insurance in the USA. When you're moving abroad, one of the things at the top of your to-do list should be sorting out health insurance, especially if you're moving to a country like the USA with no universal healthcare system. So, where do you even start? What's the minimum essential health coverage that you should have in the States? And what does a good health insurance plan there even look like? How much will you be out of pocket for medications? What would a trip to the emergency room cost you? And what health treatments are seen as extras in the USA? To answer all these questions and more, Kate Lambon from Cigna is joining me in this episode.
Finding or creating a sense of community can be a real challenge when you live abroad. Greek American Pare Gerou is building hers from the ground up in the form of a cohousing community in southern Greece. So what is cohousing and just how ‘communal’ is it? What kinds of people would you be living with, and what if you don’t get along? Keep listening to find out in my chat with Pare about the Greek Village Cohousing project. We also discuss Greece’s golden visa scheme, how much it costs to join a cohousing community, and what happens if one day you decide to leave.Pare, just before we kicked off this podcast, we were talking about Greece versus Portugal and why you think Greece is a bit underrated and Portugal perhaps overrated. So maybe we can start with you telling me about why you were and why you think other people should be more attracted to Greece.
It’s one thing to dream about living life in another country, but it can be quite daunting to make that dream a reality. Especially if you’re, say, a little bit older than fresh out of college. Today’s guest, Cepee Tabibian, tried and failed a few times to move from the USA to her dream life in Spain. She finally succeeded at the age of 35, and formed the She Hit Refresh community to inspire other women aged over 30, to follow in her footsteps. We’re going to talk through some common considerations for women when it comes to moving abroad in your 30s, what new work and visa opportunities are available for US citizens in Europe, and what Cepee sees as the 4 key elements to a successful move abroad. Now Cepee is a fellow podcaster, so after you listen to this chat, be sure to search for her “She Hit Refresh” podcast.
The Covid pandemic has been a catalyst for change for so many of us. How are you living your life differently to before the year 2020? Husband and wife, Alex and Michelle, actually had a big move abroad in mind before the global shutdown derailed their plans. Now, they’re catching up. They quit their jobs, sold most of their stuff and moved - with their two cats - from Texas to Rotterdam in the Netherlands on the Dutch American Friendship Treaty, or DAFT, Visa. The couple document their lives on their YouTube channel; it’s called Buncharted. And we chat today about their experience of setting up in the Netherlands, applying for their visa - which only happens after you arrive, lifestyle differences, and what they’d leave behind if they had to pack for their move all over again.
Today’s guest built a successful business - and brand - around her passport country’s most popular food - pierogi. And she did it in the bustling city of Shanghai. Gosia Modlinska shares why she first moved to China a decade ago, how she navigated local rules and regulations as she ran her polish dumpling business, and why she pivoted to cocktails and became known for serving up one of the best martinis in town.
Welcome to another year of Expat Focus podcasts. We’re kicking off 2023 with an episode about life and career change, which tends to go hand-in-hand with a decision to move abroad. It’s certainly true for me. Actually, this year marks 10 years since I decided to quit my job and life in Australia, to move to the UK to see what else I was capable of. My guest is Midlife Career Change Coach Josh Peck, who talks about our common motivations for making a change, the three key elements for success, and the common reasons that can hold people back. Josh, thanks so much for joining me on the Expat Focus podcast.
Hey there, it’s Carlie with the Expat Focus Podcast. It’s another festive themed episode! We’re discussing Christmastime in South Korea and Spain with American expat and English teacher, Jesse Sweed. We talk about festive activities in the classroom, the perils of the Secret Santa gift, Spain’s Three Kings Day and how Jesse’s experience of the holidays in three countries has influenced how he celebrates this time of year with his own family. Oh and a little footnote - I have a "pooping log" question in this interview that seemed to stump Jesse - it turns out, it’s a Catalan Christmas tradition.
Did you know that fried chicken is a Christmas tradition in Japan? And that the festive season is more about romance and gift giving between couples than arranging presents for the kids? Former expat and current Japanese tour company founder Nicki has lots of other fun facts to share from her 10 years' living in the country. So, whether you are an expat in Japan, planning a trip there, or just curious about how Christmas time is recognized in other parts of the world, I hope you enjoy this chat with Nicki.
When American Sara Dyson moved to Croatia in 2012, she couldn’t find any local resources in English to help her. So as she figured things out - like residency and healthcare, Croatian culture and learning the language, she posted about it on her website, expatincroatia.com, to help other foreigners. Close to a decade later, Expat in Croatia is a full-blown business, and Sara is about to become a Croatian citizen. In this interview, we talk about why Sara moved to Croatia, the ‘one giant grey area’ that is local bureaucracy and how to work through it, and what she loves about the Croatian way of life.
The continent of Africa is our destination today. We’re going to be talking about living and working in Rwanda with Italian expat, Giulia, who decided to take a leap away from her life in Europe to follow a job opportunity. Giulia talks about her first impressions of the city of Kigali, and why it’s known as the ‘Switzerland’ of Africa. We also talk safety, work opportunities and local workplace culture, Giulia’s experience with the health care system, choosing to ‘not’ learn the local language, ordering warm beer, and the personal growth that happens when you leave your comfort zone.
Have you ever visited a city in a foreign country, and just felt immediately at home? That was Laurel Wright’s experience whilst on a solo European holiday from the USA. Wanting to escape the hustle culture of LA, she decided to pack up her life, and move to Berlin. We recorded this chat a couple of months back, and talk about what Berlin is like in the summer, how she found a job and navigated German bureaucracy, freelancing in Berlin, workplace culture and making friends with locals. Laurel also explains the ways in which her quality of life - and perspective - has changed for the better since her move abroad.
Do you have your eye on a rundown old property in the French countryside? Are you planning to leave your big city life behind for a simpler one? Do you really know what to expect? Best-selling Author and Editor Janine Marsh gave up her city life in London and made the move to a neglected farmhouse in Northern France more than a decade ago. Find out what attracted her and husband Mark to the Seven Valleys, the creature comforts they had to leave behind in the big smoke, what they’ve learnt in their many years of renovating their home and trying to be self-sufficient, and the point at which they truly started feeling like locals.
Today’s guest is an accidental social media influencer. American, Kacie Rose Burns has amassed a community of over one million people across TikTok and Instagram. And it all started with a little video she posted on her way to her new life in Italy. When I told a friend I was going to interview Kacie, she said “I just want to meet her in Italy and eat gelato together.” And that’s exactly the vibe you get watching Kacie’s social media videos. We chat about what led her to leave her career in New York and move to Florence, Italian culture and food, including what you should never do to pasta, and some of the opportunities that have come her way thanks to her social media fame.