The Expat Cast
Moving Abroad or Running Away? with Aspen from AspenAbroad

Moving Abroad or Running Away? with Aspen from AspenAbroad

August 15, 2019

Season 3, Episode 1. "Started from the bottom, now we German."

We kick off season 3 with an interview with expat YouTuber Aspen, from Aspen Abroad, in which we get a little deeper into Aspen's decision to move to Europe after growing up in Hawaii - and how she settled on Munich, Germany, as her new home. Released just in time to celebrate Aspen's 5th Gedeutschtag (Alles gute, Aspen!), we take a stroll down memory lane to look at the traumas and challenges that inspired Aspen to leave the US, followed by a discussion of how she's feeling now.

Moving to a new country also means leaving another country behind. What if the situation you're leaving behind is messy, full of problems and stress? Is your choice to move abroad a healthy way to improve your surroundings for a better future, or is it in some way a very elaborate method of running away from your problems? And what happens when certain problems sneak back up on you, because the baggage comes with you, even if you thought you left it behind?

 

FIND ASPEN

Watch her video about our weekend in Freiburg, I did a Expat podcast Germany!

Check out her YouTube channel, AspenAbroad

Follow her on Instagram, @Aspen.Abroad

 

RESOURCES

Hidden Brain episode about the psychological effects of scarcity, You 2.0: Tunnel Vision

 

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Ask the Expat with Stacey

Ask the Expat with Stacey

July 11, 2019

Season 2, Episode 25. Welcome to the Season 2 finale episode! To celebrate 50 episodes, 10,000 downloads, and 1 year of podcasting, we've called up a good friend to answer listener questions and quandaries in a brand new format called Ask the Expat. Host Nicole and guest Stacey answer the following questions with a mixture of personal anecdotes and librarian-approved resources.

  1. How do I make friends in Germany?
  2. What are the visa options in Germany?
  3. How does public transit work in Germany?
  4. What are some tips for getting a job in Germany?
  5. What have you guys brought with you to Germany that you can’t get here, and how do you approach that?
  6. How do I manage my move to Germany with money and language constraints?

Note that none of the things we say are professional advice! The advice and resources are intended to help point in the right direction, but any decisions should be made based on more solid research than we provide.

THANK YOU to everyone who has tuned in, recommended the show to a friend, left a rating/review, and participated in this show in any way, be it via a social media comment, an email, or as a guest. It's been a year full of hard work, and it's taught us a lot about podcasting and about life in general. We'll be back with season 3 soon. Keep your eyes on social media and stay subscribed to get updated about when the next season will hit your feeds.

 

RESOURCES

 

Find Facebook groups like New in Freiburg or Freiburg English Club

Check out Visa Guide's list of visas in Germany

Revisit our episode Prepping for a Job Hunt in Germany

Revisit our episode Learning German

 

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How to Show Up with Sundae

How to Show Up with Sundae

July 4, 2019

Season 2, Episode 24. For many, one of the toughest things about living abroad is being far away from friends and family. It can feel like you're missing out on all the important moments, big and small - and sometimes, that's true.

But sometimes, it's possible to move heaven and earth to be there, in person, for a big event. When that does happen, the moment becomes that much more important because of how far out of your way you went to be there. Showing up in those moments is, as Sundae explains in her podcast Expat Happy Hour, a grand gesture.

Taking inspiration from Sundae's podcast episode Grand Gestures, Nicole and Sundae discuss what a grand gesture is and how to decide if you should make one, by sharing examples in their own lives of grand gestures done by or for them. Also, what if you really can't be there in person? What if that's totally off the table, but you still want to be there for your friends and family? With a little creativity and a lot of love, there are endless possibilities of how you can show up for your people, physically and otherwise, regardless of how many kilometers are between you.

 

FIND SUNDAE

Listen to her podcast, Expat Happy Hour

-the episode inspired this episode, called Grand Gestures

-the episode Love Your Friends and Family While They're Alive

Check out her website

Join her Facebook group, Expats on Purpose

 

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Celebrate Every Little Win with Gyo

Celebrate Every Little Win with Gyo

June 27, 2019

Season 2, Episode 23. Moving abroad is anxiety-inducing for anyone, but especially for people with anxiety and depression. Gyo moved from southern California to Nuremberg, Germany about 9 months ago to close the distance on her relationship with a German man from Hanover. Although she's always struggled with anxiety, Gyo has found ways to continue challenging herself as she adjusts to the new culture.

Gyo and Nicole chat about the stresses of language learning, friend making, wellness and nutrition, and home building in Germany. Life in Germany as a foreigner can make you feel like an idiot every day, but it also forces you to stop being such a perfectionist and start accepting failure. Above all, the two share the belief that it is vital to celebrate your little wins along the way, like a trip to a grocery store or going to the gym on a cold winter evening.

 

FIND GYO

Visit her website, gyomonreal.com

On Instagram @gyomonreal
 
On YouTube @GyovannaMonreal
  

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Putting the Ex in Expat: Break-Ups Abroad with Jessica

Putting the Ex in Expat: Break-Ups Abroad with Jessica

June 20, 2019

Season 2, Episode 22. Many people move abroad for love, but what happens when that relationship doesn't work out? Jessica had studied Spanish and moved to Guatemala, so Germany wasn't anywhere on her radar when she started dating her German girlfriend. But eventually, she moved to her girlfriend's hometown of Erfurt, Germany. Erfurt had been a part of the DDR, so Russian was more common as a second language than English.

Jessica immersed herself in the German language and culture. Two years into life in Erfurt, the relationship ended, but Jessica stayed. Even when she later moved away to England, her heart stayed in Germany. 

In today's episode, we discuss at what point living abroad, learning a new language and a new culture, stops being something you're doing for someone else and starts being something you're doing for yourself. For Jessica, although the relationship that brought her to Germany ended, her love affair with Germany continues to this day.

 

Jessica's German podcast recommendation: Ostwärts - Eine Ode an den Osten

Have any German podcast recommendations for us? Please share via email or social media!

 

FIND JESSICA

Visit her website, JessicaDrucker.com

Check out her book, How To Move Abroad (And Why It’s the Best Thing You’ll Do)

Learn about her life coach services

 

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Stereotypes & Misconceptions with Tatjana

Stereotypes & Misconceptions with Tatjana

June 13, 2019

Season 2, Episode 21. WANTED: your expat problems! The season 2 finale of The Expat Cast is nearing, and we're planning a fun episode to celebrate: host Nicole will team up with a cohost to give advice to anyone moving abroad, wanting to move abroad, or living abroad. Send your questions, problems, and quandaries about life abroad to the show via email or DM on social media by TUESDAY, JUNE 18, 2019 to be included! Submissions can be answered anonymously upon request.

This week's episode features Tatjana, a Berliner who grew up craving expat life so badly, she made it her Instagram handle. Tatjana chose a profession in tourism in order to enable her to live all over the world - which she has, with stints in The Netherlands, England, The United Arab Emirates, and India.

Tatjana discusses what stereotypes and misconceptions she has encountered in her various experiences as an expat, including both ones that have been directed towards her as an expat and ones that have been directed toward the country she calls home. She also shares how she's incorporated her German culture into her life in India with her Chinese-Indian husband and their young daughter.

 

FIND TATJANA

On Instagram @craving_expat_life

Her new podcast, Bookish Expats, with Steph Fuccio from S2E3, Book Worms International 

 

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You Are Where You Live with Mark

You Are Where You Live with Mark

June 6, 2019

Season 2, Episode 20. Today's guest is celebrating three decades of life abroad! Born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio, Mark Baker's studies in journalism and Eastern European international relations took him to Vienna, Austria in the late 1980s. Little did he know that the Iron Curtain would fall just as he was settling in, changing his life - and the world - forever.

Mark's writing career took him to Prague, Czech Republic, but after a few years, he tried to move back to the US. Despite landing a great job in New York City, something wasn't right. His time in Europe had made him more European than he'd realized, and now he felt homesick for Prague.

He moved back to Prague, and now, he's an accomplished travel writer, with travel guides on central and eastern Europe published by renowned companies, like Lonely Planet. Most recently, Lonely Planet hired him to write a guide book in Wisconsin and Minnesota. Mark shares what it was like to spend weeks in those states, which are so familiar to him as an Ohioan, yet as a long-term expat, still somehow new.

Mark's got years of hard-earned wisdom, and I'm glad he's shared the following nuggets with us.

Mark's Rules of Expat Life:

  1. It’s always a temporary move, or so you think.
  2. You never decide to stay. It’s always just one more year, one more year.
  3. You develop an unacknowledged expectation that the United States will never change.
  4. Your environment changes you.
  5. You are where you live.

 

FIND MARK

On his website, Mark Baker Prague

Check out his article about Youngstown that caught Lonely Planet's eye

Check out his 3-part article about the early days in Vienna

On Twitter @MarkBakerPrague

 

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Preparing to Move Abroad with Riana

Preparing to Move Abroad with Riana

May 30, 2019

Season 2, Episode 19. Once you've moved abroad, it's a whirlwind of paperwork, cultural adjustments, adventure, new experiences -- but what about before you move? 

This week's guest, Riana, spoke to us when she had one month left in Canada before she, her partner, and their dog moved to Prague. As a Canadian under the age of 30, Riana was able to take advantage of the Youth Mobility Visa, which allows Canadians to life and work in 35 countries for one year. She talks us through how she decided that life abroad in Prague was the right choice for her.

Once the decision was made, there was still plenty to do and to feel. Riana shares what kind of preparation she's been able to do pre-move abroad, as well as what it's been like emotionally preparing for her year in Europe.

 

FIND RIANA

On her blog, Teaspoon of Adventures

Read her resource-rich blog post about the Czech Youth Mobility Visa

 

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Macaroon Moments with Ara

Macaroon Moments with Ara

May 23, 2019

Season 2, Episode 18. Have you ever had a macaroon moment?

As a kid, Ara dreamed of eating a macaroon in Paris while gazing out on the Eifel Tower. But growing up in her hometown in Mexico, any kind of experience abroad seemed like an impossibly far away notion. Then: life and love happened, and before she knew it, there she was - eating a macaroon in Paris while gazing out on the Eifel Tower.

For Ara, that's what life abroad is all about. Although her weekdays are filled with working from home in her small town in Bavaria, her weekends are filled with travel, adventure, and macaroon moments.

We talk about what the expat dream means to her, how she made the most of working from home as an extrovert, and why she views leaving as a process, not a moment.

 

FIND ARA

On Instagram, @ara_cherie

 

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From Pils to Pints to Passport Stamps with Sixtina

From Pils to Pints to Passport Stamps with Sixtina

May 16, 2019

Season 2, Episode 17. Four years is Sixtina's magical number. After growing up in Germany, she moved to the Netherlands for 4 years, followed by Ireland for 4 years. She's also lived in the United States, Mexico, and Spain.

Throughout all these temporary homes, her dream was always to go traveling - the kind of travel where you see the whole world over a longer period of time. Instead, Sixtina took the career path. A whole series of opportunities she just couldn't say no to kept postponing her dream of travel. Until now!

Mere days before she left Ireland to embark on her dream-turned-reality world trip, Sixtina took time out to talk to The Expat Cast about what it's been like working for a big international company, learning just how German she is, and - of course! - that good ol' Irish pub culture.

 

RESOURCES

Expat Focus's guide to taxes in Ireland

Volunteer while you travel at Workaway.com

 

FIND SIXTINA

On her website, sixmilesaway.com

On Instagram, @sixmilesaway

 

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Meet the Parents with Momsie & Popsicle

Meet the Parents with Momsie & Popsicle

May 9, 2019

Season 2, Episode 16. Guess who this week's guests are? My parents! I power my Brene Brown and get vulnerable by asking my parents how they feel about my choice to live abroad.

When my dad was a young adult and moved into an apartment 20 minutes from his childhood home, his mom was outraged he'd move so far away. My mom's extended family numbers around 40 people - of whom, only a handful live more than a 2 hour drive away. So what do they REALLY think about the fact that their daughter lives thousands of miles and several time zones away?

We take an evening out of a whirlwind tour of Europe to get into the beautiful, complicated mess that is expat family relationships.

 

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Expat Mama with Ashley

Expat Mama with Ashley

May 2, 2019

Season 2, Episode 15. You last heard from friend of the show, Ashley, when she was pregnant with her son, who we lovingly referred to as Appleseed, back in Season 1 ("Pregnancy in Germany"), but now she's back, with another fun nickname for her kiddo -- WAM.

Ashley is now 7 months into motherhood, and she shares with us what it's been like adjusting to her new role. What was it like for her to give birth in Germany? How has she handled being an ocean apart from her family in the US? And how is she planning on keeping her American identity alive with her son?

Ashley's go-to book recommendation for new parents-to-be is:

The Shit No One Tells You: A Guide to Surviving Your Baby's First Year by Don Dais, which Ashley mentions in the episode as the one pregnancy book she did read. This link is to the entire Shit No One Tells You series. https://www.dawndais.com/sht

For more expat pregnancy resources, check out Season 1, Episode 10, Pregnancy in Germany with Ashley and Appleseed.

 

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The First Few Months with Samar

The First Few Months with Samar

April 25, 2019

Season 2, Episode 14. Initially, moving abroad is insanely exciting. New scenery! New people! New language! New groceries! New new new! Wow wow wow!

And thennnnn reality comes crashing down, in the form of paperwork, financial pressure, a language barrier, or social isolation. While some part of you might still be excited about the newness, another part of you starts to wonder how the heck this will all work out. Was this whole move the right choice?

In this phase of expat life, it is easy to despair and lose hope. In fact, it might seem like despair and hopelessness are logical reactions to the situation.

This week's guest is fresh out of that challenging phase, and she sits down with your host to chat about what it felt like, what pressures got to her, and what helped her keep going.

 

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Choosing to Move Back with Aurora

Choosing to Move Back with Aurora

April 18, 2019

Season 2, Episode 13. Expats don't always stay expats forever. But what goes into the choice to leave international life behind and return to one's home country? We sit down with Aurora, a Mexican-American living in Germany, to hear what made her decide to move back to the States.

Aurora will move back to the US this summer, but where exactly will she move? Cue: A Very Well Built Excel Spreadsheet! Aurora and her husband, Duncan (our guest in Season 1 for Voting Rights Abroad) systematically identified places they'd liked to live and their top criteria for what matters to them most about a location. Then, they individually ranked their choices, pulled in some publicly available data, and got a data-driven indicator of what city or cities work best for them.

Plus, we chat about why weird subway encounters & Game of Thrones are worth uprooting your life and relocating.

 

DUNCAN & AURORA'S DECISION MAKING SPREADSHEET

You can view the spreadsheet Aurora mentions in the episode here, as a view-only Google Spreadsheet. Feel free to copy/paste the spreadsheet into your own document to put in your own potential locations and criteria!

 

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Here & There, Then & Now with Nic

Here & There, Then & Now with Nic

April 11, 2019

Season 2, Episode 12. When Nic moved to Germany from England to be with his girlfriend, he committed himself mentally to the move. It would have taken something really huge and dramatic to make him consider moving back. But how does he manage keeping in touch with family, especially negotiating visits? And how does he still show up for his partner's family?

We use the topic of family as a launching point for a fun conversation about British Christmas, cultural judgement, and way more.

 

FIND NIC

Twitter @40PercentGerman

Blog 40% German

 

FIND VIRTUAL EXPATS

Check out The Virtual Expats, a great podcast run by Steph Fuccio, a fellow American podcasting expat, wherever you get your podcasts.

 

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Unemployed in Germany with Jeremy

Unemployed in Germany with Jeremy

April 4, 2019

Season 2, Episode 11. We're swapping stories about unemployment, everyone's favorite topic to discuss openly and honestly! Just kidding; of course, being unemployed is uncomfortable, stressful, and disorienting, no matter when or where it happens. However, even if it's not always the easiest thing to talk about, it's important to discuss.

In this episode, we learn what it's been like for our guest, Jeremy, to be unemployed in Germany. Jeremy moved here for a two- to three-year work contract that recently ended. He tells us how he's been navigating the immigration and unemployment offices, plus, we discuss how the social support he's been given in Germany has altered his approach to the job hunt in general.

 

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Clinging to Your Culture with Jenny

Clinging to Your Culture with Jenny

March 28, 2019

Season 2, Episode 10. When you moved abroad, did you find yourself suddenly caring an awful lot about dumb things from your home culture you never bothered with before? Likkkeeeee, I don't know, say, ABC's The Bachelor? 

In fact, getting way too into the latest season of The Bachelor is what inspired this week's episode. It got us thinking about all the weird things we find ourselves interested in, especially those things we previously wanted nothing to do with, like football, touristy clothing, and chain restaurants. 

For the full list of the culture we're clinging on to as well as our armchair psychologist ideas on why we feel this way, dive on into this week's episode.

 

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Being Bi-Cultural with Gordon

Being Bi-Cultural with Gordon

March 21, 2019

Season 2, Episode 9. You've heard his name in the thank yous every week. You've heard him mentioned in stories your host, Nicole, shares about her life. You've heard him as a co-host. But now he's a guest!

This week, we get to know more about Gordon, Nicole's partner in life and in podcasting. He's the one that inspired her to move to Germany and thus a huge part in the creation of this podcast, but what's his deal?

Gordon is half-German, half-American and grew up moving back and forth between both countries. He never stayed anywhere longer than 2 years since he was a little kid. Now, as an adult who is putting down roots of his own, Gordon shares with us how his bi-cultural identity as well has his frequent moving shaped him as a person. He tells us the good, the bad, and the ugly about being that weird German kid whenever he was in America and being that weird American kid whenever he was in Germany.

Note: In the introduction, Nicole mentions "the concept of the third-world kid." She meant to say "third culture kid." More information about what third culture kid means can be found on Wikipedia.

Note about the note: This note was written by a librarian. For purposes like this, Wikipedia gets this librarian's stamp of approval. ;)

 

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The Beauty of Community with Berly

The Beauty of Community with Berly

March 14, 2019

Season 2, Episode 8. Today's guest turned an existential crisis in Boston into a thriving non-profit in Nicaragua. How the heck did that happen? Welcome to the fascinating life of Berly. Now living in Freiburg, Germany while she completes her Masters degree in Global Studies, Berly has traveled the globe and lived in a variety of countries.

Through her personal experience as well as her experience in her non-profit, Berly has learned that the most important thing is community. It was only after being inspired by people she'd met that Berly considered traveling the world, and it was thanks to a group of encouraging, like-minded friends that Berly took the leap & started her non-profit, Women's Worth Inc - which hosts soft and hard skill seminars for women in the informal economy in Nicaragua, which, in turn, has inspired a strong community among the women involved in the Women's Worth trainings and programs.

As her story beautifully exemplifies, community can become circular in nature, and it sometimes takes a single person's example to start a wonderful cycle of giving and receiving help and support.

 

FIND BERLY & WOMEN'S WORTH, INC.

Women's Worth, Inc.'s website

Facebook @womensworthinc

Instagram @womensworthinc

YouTube @womensworthinc

Twitter @womensworthinc

 

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Affording Iceland with Alex

Affording Iceland with Alex

March 7, 2019

Season 2, Episode 7. Iceland skyrocketed to the top of the Must Visit list of many eager travelers over the last 5 years, but what's it like to actually live there? We chat with American expat Alex Illes about how she ended up with Iceland and what it's taken to make life there work.

As a devoted cat lover, Alex's top priority with an international move was making sure she could bring her two cats. That eliminated some countries entirely and created a hefty expense that she and her husband were not anticipating. Now, half a year into living on a notoriously expensive island, Alex has some great tips for how to engage in the best thing that Iceland has to offer - without breaking the bank.

 

FIND ALEX

Instagram @alex.renee.is.away

 

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Relationships with Loved Ones Back Home with Summer

Relationships with Loved Ones Back Home with Summer

February 28, 2019

Season 2, Episode 6. When one moves abroad, a lot gets left behind. Most importantly: people. Managing relationships with loved ones back home can be one of the hardest parts of the expat life. So today, two expats with totally different experiences sit down to chat about how they’ve managed.

Nicole grew up with strong roots, surrounded by friends and family that continue to be relevant to her life today. Summer, on the other hand, doesn’t have a strong “home base,” and her friends and family are spread out from South Carolina to Alaska.

When an ocean and a few thousand miles get thrown into both of those situations, what happens? How does one manage keeping in touch? Who visits whom? And how often? And where? Nicole & Summer exchange their perspectives on the pros and cons of their familial and friendship relationships throughout their time as Americans abroad.

 

FIND SUMMER

Blog at Eat Something Go Somewhere

Twitter @Summer Outside

Instagram @Summer Outside

 

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Study Abroad BFFs with Chad & Jared from Untranslatable Podcast

Study Abroad BFFs with Chad & Jared from Untranslatable Podcast

February 21, 2019

Season 2, Episode 5. By coincidence, Chad and Jared signed up for the same college study abroad program in Vienna, Austria. Although they knew each other from around campus back in Michigan, it wasn't until they were tossed together into an unfamiliar place that they became close friends.

Now, 7 years later, Chad lives in the Czech Republic and Jared lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and they keep their long-distance friendship alive as co-hosts of the Untranslatable Podcast, where they discuss an array of fascinating linguistic topics.

The two come onto The Expat Cast to chat about how their experience in Austria drew them together, what they've done to maintain their German language skills, and why they started their podcast.

 

FIND CHAD & JARED

Untranslatable Podcast

Instagram @UntranslatablePodcast

Twitter @Untranslatable1

 

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Long-Distance Relationships with Meg

Long-Distance Relationships with Meg

February 14, 2019

Season 2, Episode 4. It's Valentine's Day! We're celebrating with an episode about long-distance love. Host Nicole dated her boyfriend Gordon for 2 years, while she lived in Chicago and he lived in southern Germany. Guest Meg dated her boyfriend Lucas for 3.5 years, while she lived in Philadelphia and he lived in Zurich.

The gals are old friends from theater camp who bonded over their long-distance relationships with German men, thus prompting a long-distance friendship. Now, both women are living two hours apart with their partners. Reunited after 4 years, the two dish over how they survived long distance, why they stuck it out, and what benefits they found long distance had to offer.

Any Newsies or Lady Gaga fans out there? Check out the mash-up video Nicole and Meg made nearly 10 years ago, that randomly went viral.

 

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Got questions, comments, topic ideas, funny anecdotes? Email us at theexpatcast@gmail.com.

Book Worms International with Stephanie Fuccio

Book Worms International with Stephanie Fuccio

February 7, 2019

Season 2, Episode 3. Your host Nicole is, as Leslie Knope so eloquently put it, a "punk ass book jockey" by trade, aka a librarian. Now having experienced librarianship in a handful of libraries across America and Germany, she's got a unique perspective on how different communities' reading habits look. Plus, she's a huge book worm herself! (Duh, you get rejected from library school if you aren't) (Just kidding) (But am I?) So it was great fun to have fellow expat book worm Stephanie Fuccio on the podcast to geek out over reading.

The discussion explores our journey as readers and as expats, and we try to figure out how and why our reading habits have changed over time, location, and financial status.  

 

FIND STEPHANIE

All of her projects are gathered on her website

Her podcasts, which are all available wherever you get your podcasts, are called:

Changing Scripts

Expat Rewind

The Virtual Expat

 

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Got questions, comments, topic ideas, funny anecdotes? Email us at theexpatcast@gmail.com.

Extroverted Entrepreneurial American Expat

Extroverted Entrepreneurial American Expat

January 31, 2019

Season 2, Episode 2. Does your identity as an introvert or an extrovert impact your experience as an expat? Can America be understood as a more extroverted culture and Germany a more introverted one? And if so, what does that mean for foreigners?

This episode, we sit down with Joe, a fellow American in Germany, to discuss how his extroverted, outgoing friendliness has impacted his long-term happiness in Germany. Now in his seventh year living in Germany, Joe is slowly started to experience frustration when trying to interact with Germans, especially strangers in casual social situation.

In America, it's hard to run a simple errand without having smiling small talk with strangers. In Germany, it's rare to find a single interaction like that throughout an entire week. We dive into questioning what that says about the people, the culture, and ourselves.

 

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Got questions, comments, topic ideas, funny anecdotes? Email us at theexpatcast@gmail.com.