Interview with Flavia Holman

Flavia, tell us a bit about yourself and how you came to be an expat.

I’m Brazilian/American and have been an expat for over 20 years now. I went to Switzerland to spend a year and as the stories go, I have only been back to visit. I’ve lived in England, the US and now Germany.You've previously written about how you don't like being called a "trailing spouse". What other challenges do you face when moving abroad with a partner, and what advice do you have for other expat spouses in the same position?

First thing, both people must be on the same page about moving abroad. If it’s only one-sided, it will be hard to work out. One person will always be wanting to be back home while the other will be thriving wherever they are. The main thing is to communicate. If you’ve always worked, as I have, it will be hard in the beginning. Right now I’m looking for work, but I just arrived here 3 weeks ago and it’s not easy.

You're about to move to a new country – tell us about that! How's it going?

Actually I’ve just moved, 3 weeks ago. The last month before moving was like a roller-coaster, with so much stuff to do, but here we are, we made it and soon our things will arrive and I’m so looking forward to it.

What was it that surprised you the most about moving to the USA?

The first time I moved to the USA, it was back in 1992 during high school. It was hard. Culture shock and adjustment were massive, I had a really hard time, especially for the first 6 months.

What did you find the most challenging when you first moved abroad?

It was very hard making friends in high school.

What are you most looking forward to about living in Germany?

I’m looking forward to getting out and exploring Germany. I want to learn about the culture and of course, travel around Europe.

If you could give one piece of advice to people who are considering their first move abroad, what would it be?

Be open-minded. Everything will be different, you might not have your family around, but accept the changes and remember that everything will be ok.

Finally, what do you like to do in your spare time?

I love exploring, spending time with my family and going out for a drink with friends.

You can keep up to date with Flavia's latest columns here.