Mindful Expat Episode 40: Divided By a Common Language: The Role of Language in Cultural Adaptation (With Guest: Claire Handscombe)

Today’s Mindful Expat Guest is Claire Handscombe!

Claire is a freelance writer, blogger, and fellow-podcaster (host of The Brit Lit Podcast) living in Washington, DC. Born in London to a British father and French mother, Claire then spent much of her early adolescence in Belgium before returning to the UK at the age of 12. She later returned to Belgium as a young adult, before moving to DC to do her MFA in Creative Writing at American University. From 2005-2012, Claire taught English, French, and Spanish to adults of all levels in both London and Brussels. In 2011, she published a book called Conquering Babel: A Practical Guide to Learning a Language.

What you’ll hear in this episode:

• Claire’s experiences of moving abroad to countries where she spoke the language, but where subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle!) language differences still impacted her cultural adaptation.

• We discuss the interplay of language and culture, including some metalinguistic cultural differences that can lead to misunderstandings.

• Claire’s experiences of the differences in academic cultures between the UK and the US.

• A discussion of why it’s important to learn at least the basics of the language where you’re living and some of the ways doing so can positively impact your life. Read More


Mindful Expat Episode 33: Challenges & Opportunities for Expat Partners: Meaningful Work, Sense of Purpose, & Professional Identity (With Guest: Claudia Landini)

Today’s Mindful Expat Guest is Claudia Landini!

Claudia is an intercultural trainer and mobile careers coach. Originally from Italy, Claudia has been living abroad for the past 27 years, since 1989! She has lived in four African countries (Sudan, Angola, Congo Brazzaville and Guinea Bissau), two Latin American countries (Honduras and Peru), in Jerusalem, and she now lives in Jakarta, Indonesia. She also speaks quite an impressive number of languages – Italian, English, French, Spanish, and German – and as if that weren’t already enough, she also knows a little bit of Portuguese, Bahasa Indonesia, and Arabic.

Claudia is the founder of the non-profit organization ExpatClic, which is an online platform and community supporting expat women in a number of different ways through their transitions abroad – both personally and professionally.

She is also an intercultural trainer and cross-cultural transitions coach with a focus on helping expat women develop and maintain their careers as they move abroad.

What you’ll hear in this episode:

• Some of the challenges that expat partners may face in their careers when they move abroad and how this can impact their sense of professional (and personal) identity.
• The importance of finding meaningful, satisfying activities that allow us to continue to learn and grow — whether or not we have an official job that pays the bills.
• How our professional paths can evolve and shift when we move abroad in ways that we might not have envisioned but that can be incredibly enriching and satisfying.
• How moving abroad and navigating some of these challenges can actually teach us important things about ourselves and foster not only profession but also personal development. Read More


Mindful Expat Episode 32: Thanksgiving & Gratitude (Even If You’re Not Feeling So Grateful at the Moment)

What you’ll hear in this episode:

• The benefits of practicing gratitude (to our emotional, psychological, and physical health!).
• What it even means to “practice” gratitude. (And how doing so can help you experience more spontaneous gratitude as well!)
• A short gratitude practice that you can incorporate into your daily routine that is supported by a bunch of research. Read More


Mindful Expat Episode 28: Reflections on Foreignness

What you’ll hear in this episode:

• My reflections on foreignness during my travels in South Korea.
• Some of the pros and cons of being an obvious foreigner vs. a hidden foreigner (or “hidden immigrant”).
• Some of the benefits of living abroad and experiencing being “the other” first-hand — and how this experience can make us reflect differently on our own cultures as well as become more compassionate to other people’s experiences.
• How all of this relates to my idea for starting this podcast in the first place. Read More


Mindful Expat Episode 27: Creativity & Other Sources of Resilience for Latino Immigrants & Others Living Abroad (With Guest: Carmen Roman, Ph.D.)

Today’s Mindful Expat Guest is Dr. Carmen Roman!

Dr. Roman is a licensed psychologist in the state of California. She is originally from Mexico and practiced as a psychologist there for a number of years before moving to the United States in 2007.

Dr. Roman is bilingual in English and Spanish and offers bilingual and bicultural psychotherapy to her clients in the San José region of California, where she lives. She also has a specialty in creative expression and art therapies.

Dr. Roman also has her own podcast, called Emotions in Harmony, which is a bilingual podcast (in English and in Spanish) and which focuses on topics related to emotional wellbeing – so very relevant to things we talk about here on this podcast too, and I highly recommend you check it out!

What you’ll hear in this episode:

• About Dr. Roman’s experience of moving to the United States from Mexico and her journey of becoming a licensed psychologist in the US, specializing in working with Latinos living abroad and navigating this intercultural space.
• Some of the particular stressors that Latino immigrants to the United States face as well as some of the factors and mindsets that may positively impact their immigration experience.
• About the importance of creativity in helping all people (but perhaps especially those living abroad) come back to their core sense of self, develop a new sense of identity, and find community abroad. Read More


Mindful Expat Episode 26: Bonne Rentrée! Turning Over a New Leaf This Fall

What you’ll hear in this episode:

• I’ll introduce you to the concept of the “rentrée” in France (basically back-to-school but for adults and kids alike!).
• We’ll discuss how this time of year can be an opportunity to take stock of what we have accomplished and learned in the past year and set our intentions for the year to come.
• I will provide you with some tips for how to begin to build habits in the service of your goals so that you can continue to make progress throughout the year on the things that are most important to you.  Read More


Mindful Expat Episode 24: The Source of Your Joy

What you’ll hear in this episode:

• I’ll share with you some updates about the podcast and invite you to take a short survey I’ve designed to help me know what you’d like to hear more about in Season 2 of the podcast.
• We’ll discuss a quote from Thich Nhat Hahn that says, “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”
• I’ll share with you some fascinating research that shows that this quote is literally true, and we’ll also discuss some ways you can work to subtly shift your perspective to feel more joy in your life. Read More


Mindful Expat Episode 14: Self-Compassion, the Two Arrows, & Learning to Surf

What you’ll hear in this episode:

• How you can create a pause between your initial experience of an emotion and your reaction to it, and how doing so will allow you to cultivate more self-compassion and feel less out of control in your life.
• About the differences between pain and suffering — and how our responses to our own internal experiences determine the extent to which we suffer.
• The Buddhist metaphor of the two arrows, which illustrates this difference between pain and suffering.
• How all of this might apply to the experience of struggling with adaptation to a new country/culture. Read More


Mindful Expat Episode 12: Expat & Intercultural Relationships: Growing Together Through the Challenges

What you’ll learn in this episode:

• Some different contexts that expat or intercultural couples find themselves in and how these contexts can present unique challenges for relationships.
• Some of the most common challenges I see in expat and intercultural relationships (including some of my own experiences!).
• How open, non-defensive communication can help couples learn and grow together through the challenges rather than let them damage their relationships. Read More


Turning Over a New Leaf in the New Year

It’s that time of year again!

The time when people start to talk about their New Year’s resolutions.

The beginning of a new year is a great opportunity to reflect back on the year we’ve had, what we’ve accomplished and learned, and what our priorities and goals are for the year ahead.

At the same time, many of us go about setting these goals and priorities in way that feels harsh and critical — and also tends to set us up for failure.

So what can we do to start off this new year on the right track? Read More