Why Your Move Abroad Can Be The Best Thing That Ever Happens To You, guest blog

Expatriate Blog by Jane Bennett of The Expat Partner

If your partner has got a job abroad and you are moving with him or her, then how do you not only adapt to your new surroundings – but also make it the best experience of your life?

It’s this topic I’m writing about in today’s post and I’m going to start with the inspiring story of Nina Chung. Nina is both a client and a friend of mine who runs a charity based in Kenya called Elimu  (www.elimu.ca).

In 2004 Nina accompanied her partner on a VSO posting to Kenya. While volunteering she met a grandmother who had been left to care for several of her grandchildren, who were largely abandoned by their parents. The grandmother’s only income was from occasional work cleaning houses or doing laundry. It was not enough to sustain them all, much less put the children into school.  So Nina got involved. A little at first, helping 2 small boys with kindergarten school fees, which were not yet free in Kenya.

In 2008, she began by taking on the sponsorship of the grandmother and the children in the form of a children’s home. In the beginning, she covered all the costs for the home herself with the help of a few friends and family. Knowing that she could not sustain this personally over the long-term, she began in 2010 to take steps towards establishing a charitable organization that would allow her to officially fundraise to support these children through their primary and secondary education and onwards where appropriate.  That charity is called Elimu, which means education in Swahili.

The charity has grown substantially since then and although Nina still supports this home, she also supports a vocational sewing school for girls, which teaches them how to build a business from sewing. In addition she is also helping to build a nursery school. Remember, all this in an area renowned for its prostitution, drug problem and the AIDS epidemic.

What’s wonderful about Nina and so inspiring about her story is how she found her flow in completely unexpected circumstances.  She has now attracted a wonderful group of directors (and it really has been an attraction thing as she didn’t go out to find them) so it’s an enlightening story of how following someone else abroad can also be the best thing for you too.

Tips To help YOU Get The Most Out Of Your Life Abroad

Stay Open Minded

When I went to live abroad in the USA, I automatically assumed I would carry on with my passion for travel as I’d been in the travel industry for years. But going to LA I then realised didn’t really want or need to work in travel anymore. It was, I realised, an opportunity to do something fresh and new. So it was in LA that I discovered NLP and followed that path.

At that time personal development was huge in LA, so I went to all sorts of workshops and different groups – both spiritual and personal development. It was a huge life shift and was much more fitting for that time of in my life as I was married, settling down and planning to start a family. NLP – which led to my career in coaching clients – fitted my new lifestyle in a way travel didn’t.

Take The Opportunity To Follow Your Dreams

When you’re not constrained by your home and family expectations, the truth is you can be freer and expand in a way you’ve never been able to before. Like me, you may find you’re drawn to find a new part of yourself as old constraints taken off.  Or like Nina, you may realise your dream is sitting right in front of you and all you have to do is decide if you’re ready for this new challenge.  Nina didn’t go to Kenya to set up a charity but that’s what life offered her so she took it.

Your Move Abroad

Ultimately, if you’re drawn to something – whether it be living abroad or not – then my best advice is follow your heart and trust that the how will be revealed. If you are on the verge of a new life abroad, then I hope the above story is a wonderful example of this could be the best experience of your life.

Elimu is the charity that both The Expat Partner supports and I do personally. If you want to find out more about Nina and what they do, then visit their website for more information: www.elimu.ca

 

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