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Expat Experiences

Iceland > Expat Experiences


Kaelene Spence, Reykjavik

Friday September 11, 2015 (14:52:08)
Kaelene Spence
Kaelene Spence

Who are you?

Hi! My name is Kaelene and I come from the lovely Oregon where I have lived my entire life up until I moved to Iceland two years ago. You can find me blogging over at unlockingkiki.com where I talk about my life as an expat in Iceland and all the adventures I get up to!

Where, when and why did you move abroad?

I moved to Reykjavik, Iceland two years ago.

Why Iceland? Well it all started with a boy I met in Australia 5 years ago. The boy turned out to be a Viking from Iceland and now 5 years later here we are living life on this small island on the Atlantic.

What challenges did you face during the move?

I had been to Iceland several times before so I knew what to expect on the move over. Thankfully it was an easy process but saying goodbye to my family, that was definitely a hard challenge!

Are there many other expats in your area?

There isn’t a huge expat community but it is quickly growing with more people moving to Iceland. It doesn’t take long before you meet most of the expats and everyone knows or at least has heard of the others.

What do you like about life where you are?

I love the slower pace of life and the focus on taking time to just enjoy life outside of the daily grind. That work life balance is tough to come by in the states so I am very glad to have found it here in Iceland. And also, the nature, that nature in Iceland is just stunning!

What do you dislike about your expat life?

The weather. I never thought the weather could affect me too much, but when you live in a country that has long dark winters it does. I miss warm summers and mild winters!

What is the biggest cultural difference you have experienced between your new country and life back home?

I think one of the biggest differences though between my life in the US and in Iceland is the work life balance. Having your time off in Iceland is just as important as coming to work and at first this was strange to me coming from a country where taking time off is basically frowned upon. It took me a bit to shake off my American work ethic as my co-workers call it but now I fully embrace that time off and see how important it is!

What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?

Humor will get you through the toughest situations! If you can laugh at yourself then all the challenges that come your way as an expat will be no problem for you! Also, get out there and try lots of new things and don’t stop exploring!

What are your plans for the future?

My plans have me here in Iceland and traveling around as much as possible!

You can follow Kaelene's adventures in Iceland on her blog, Unlocking Kiki.

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