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Colombia > Expat Experiences


Sarah Duncan, Bogota

Published Monday November 21, 2016 (16:16:20)
Sarah Duncan
Sarah Duncan

Who are you?

My name is Sarah but people call me Sarepa. I have an arepa addiction to thank for that! I'm a travel writer, blogger and editor who has found myself writing about Colombia for the last 10 years.

Where, when and why did you move abroad?

I first decided to move to Colombia in 2012 after having visited twice in 2006 and 2009. I had never been to Bogota before but I bought a ticket for the Colombian capital and as soon as I arrived I knew I was exactly in the right place. I love Bogota! The main reason I decided to live in Colombia was because I had fallen in love with the work of Nobel Literature Prize winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez's work and I wanted to learn more about the fascinating country he wrote so much about.

What challenges did you face during the move?

Oh, there were so many challenges. Making friends, speaking the language, finding work, making myself a home, Living abroad always has its challenges, but they were really outweighed by all the positive experiences.

Are there many other expats in your area?

There are LOADS of expats in Bogota and many of them are doing great things to help promote what a great country Colombia is to the rest of the world. I consider myself incredibly lucky to have met and worked with many of them.

What do you like about life where you are?

The great thing about Bogota is that it is a really fast-paced city and there is always so much going on. There's never a dull moment in the big smoke, that's for sure.

What do you dislike about expat life?

Being an expat and travelling around by yourself can be really lonely at first and that was one of the things I've struggled with. But after a while you make great friends and experience things that you never would have had the opportunity to do anywhere else in the world.

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

There are a lot of differences between Colombia and Australia, but probably one of the biggest ones is the level of multiculturalism. Australia is a melting pot of cultural backgrounds, which is one thing that really makes the country great. You can hear any number of languages walking down the street and have Japanese food for lunch then Indian for dinner without really thinking anything of it. Colombia is much less multicultural and a bit more insular as a result.

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

Just give it a go. You can always return home, you can always go back to your old life. It can be scary, and the people around you might think you're absolutely nuts for wanting to start your life again on the other side of the world, but there's just so much to learn from the experience, so why not?

What are your plans for the future?

I just got back from a trip to Iran, so I plan to write about the incredible experiences I had there, I'm also releasing a travel guide about Colombia this month, so that's exciting! Any other exciting news I publish on my travel blog,

You can keep up to date with Sarah's adventures on her blog, Sarepa.

Read more Colombia expat experiences or view our latest Colombia articles

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