Expatriation: Dream or Nightmare ?
To discuss the subject of expatriation for woman we have interweaved Ezgi an expat and Ana an expat spouse, for them to tell you more about their experiences.
Hello, my name is Ezgi, I am from Istanbul in Turkey. I am a dreamer, an adventurer and a traveler. I have a blog about my travels so I guess I am a blogger too. I really love touching people’s lives and take part in social projects.
Regarding my professional life, I am an engineer. After graduating I started working in a commercial team and then moved on to Business Developer. After a couple years my company offered me a position of head of innovation project in Paris and so that’s why I am currently in Paris.
I am Ana, I am 40 and I am from Spain. I am in France since August 2021 because I followed my husband in his expatriation. From a personal standpoint I am a hard worker and perseverant, I love helping others. During vacations in Spain, I volunteered in a center for seniors. On the professional level I skipped out on my work in Spain to follow my husband in Paris and I am currently in an online master degree in a Spanish university.
Is it your first expatriation?
Yes, it is the first time I follow my husband on an expatriation.
For me too it is the fist time. It will soon be 3 years that I came to Paris.
Why have you accepted the expatriation?
There are several reasons, the first one is because I have always loved to travel and discover new countries and new cultures.
The second reason was that the balance between private life and work life in Turkey was way more complicated than in France.
If I had to summarize:
- Learn a new language
- Meet new people
- Find common interest groups
- Try something new and different
- Enjoy doing it
I agreed to follow my husband because I think this situation is a gift. It is an opportunity to live a new adventure in a new country. Learn the local way of life, it’s culture, it’s language.
What did your spouse and your family thought about your expatriation?
At the time I left Istanbul for Paris, my boyfriend was living in Dublin in Ireland. We were already living separately so there was no problem about me moving to France. My family was happy for me even if, like most families, they would have preferred me to stay close to them.
I realized that thanks to the distance, I see them less but each time I see them I enjoy it more because it is so rare.
My boyfriend has now found a job in France, so things are going well.
Yes, for me to the distance between me and my family was a bit difficult at first. But they understood that it was a great opportunity for me.
Is there anything that could have prevented your expatriation?
I don’t think so, when my husband asked me to go live in France, I didn’t saw any objection. For me there was only positive about this project and now I have no regrets.
No because I have always traveled, I couldn’t see myself working in Turkey my all life. The fact of being used to traveling allowed me to adapt myself easily and to not feel lost or disorientated when I arrived in France.
Do you think expatriation is more difficult for women than for men?
For me no, I wasn’t the case. But I think, generally speaking, it is mostly prejudices about women that are the problem.
I share Ezgi’s opinion, inequalities are not so much between male or female expats but more of a society problem. But this problem has repercussions on the expatriation market.
How would you compare gender equality in France with your home country ?
I think the men-women equality is much better in France than in Turkey, I feel like there is less discrimination here. For example, in Turkey if your kids are sick, you are not comfortable asking for 1 or 2 days off to take care of them. While in France, it is “normal” to do that.
For me I don’t see much of a difference between France and Spain. I think that currently the men-women equality is pretty much the same in both countries. It can still be better but things have already evolved a lot in the last few years.
Ana, what advice would you give to a woman who is going to follow her spouse on an expatriation?
The first and the most important thing is to enjoy the experience as much as possible. Then you need to take advantage of this opportunity for your personal development. But also for your professional development in your new country. You must enjoy the culture and take part of the society activities.
But the most important thing for me is to understand that even if you came here as an expat spouse, you need to live your own adventure. You have to do things on your own, be independent and do what you love.
Ezgi, what advice would you give to a woman who wants to make her first expatriation?
I think that it is important to present and explain what really an expatriation is before they leave, so they will not be surprised. For example, explaining them what the cycle of life of expatriation is can be useful.
Being an expatriate necessarily involves a lot of stress on a daily basis because you have more difficulties and things to think about than when you were in your home country.
I would say that expatriation is not always positive but it is normal to have some negative aspects. But they shouldn’t stop you. Nobody should be scared, this is an amazing adventure.
I think that finding groups of common interests and learning the local language are the keys to better integrate yourself.
Here you will find the individual and complete interviews:
Check out this article, it explain the cycle of life of expatriation:
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