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What's it like to live and work in Cape Town, South Africa, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong, China, Geneva, Switzerland? Ask expats who talk about:
Our expat interviews are with expats of different expat profiles, both old and young expatriates, male and female expats, professionals, entrepreneurs, students, trailing spouses, all types of expats.
Our interviews can be watched on:
We are Ariane & Stefan from Germany & Switzerland, and we both have an extensive history of living an expat life abroad, counting 9 countries where we’ve lived, worked and studied 2 months or more between us, and around 50 that we have travelled to. We know the struggle & the thrill of making a new place home; how it can be overwhelming at times, and that there are things that make life easier - if you know them upfront. We’ve simply quite often been through that very question: What’s it like? What’s it like to live in France, to live in Paris? What’s it like to live in Beijing, or Cape Town, or HongKong? Making friends there, finding a job & working with local colleagues, moving into a new place, discovering the city & the country. Getting a visa & work permit, having all the administrative parts set up, and learning about the health system, and safety & security. What’s all that like? And yes, it’s different in every new place.
What „What's it like?“ is all about
Because we also have friends living as expatriates all over the world, we decided to start this project „What’s it like?“ - Meeting people to ask them to share their experiences, so that others who are still pondering a decision can make that decision in a more informed way. Our idea was that these interviews will replace those calls to a friend of a friend of a friend who’ll squeeze you into his planner to share a few experiences. Actually, we wanted the interviews to even be better than that call. that’s why we drafted a detailled list of questions - our interview guide - clustered in to eight different topics from „friends & local life“ to „about work,“ „money matters,“ „stay safe“ or „living here.“ At the end of nearly every topic, we ask also for hints & tips, or what has been surprising. We simply wanted to make sure that everything relevant gets covered (in brief, everything that we would have wanted to have known for one of those moves in the past.) And that’s also why we tried to interview a lot of different people with diverse backgrounds & profiles in the different cities we started with - simply because your experience will be different, depending who you are and where you come from, and we wanted our viewers to be able to both listen to someone they can identify with with the same background & „norms“ but also to compare multiple perspectives.
The people we’ve met (thank you - you are amazing!!!) have shared their very personal stories with us, their experience but often also their knowledge about the new culture they moved into, and they’ve provided us with insights that go far beyond the reading of a travel guide book or browsing an expat blog. Or actually even beyond staying in that city for some time… because even though we have ourselves often lived a month or more in the city to prepare & conduct the interviews, every single discussion was interesting & enriching to us, and the multitude of experiences & knowledge shared with us probably put us through something of a crash course in „what’s it like to live in…“ each of those places.
Once back from filming & collecting material, we’ve started editing & searching a platform to make these interviews publicly available. There are A LOT of interviews, and more coming all the time. It’s a lot of fun, and an exiting journey - both going through the interviews again, editing them & adding captions for better structure & understanding, but also seeing how these interviews might help one or the other out there to get inspired or make up his or her mind.
We’re still at the beginning - but we’re certain that it’s the beginning of something good."
You’d like to get involved?
Take the survey to help up figure out which clips to edit next. Or let us know if you’d like to be interviewed (or even can imagine to interview another expat) on firstname.lastname@example.org. Or simply give us some feedback regarding what we already have & share your thoughts on where you think we can get better. We’d love to hear from you!"
Now - enjoy! Hope you’ll be as inspired by these interviewees as we were when we first met them…