I’ve already introduced the first two of my road testers, brave volunteers who have kindly agreed to write about their experiences as expat partners and how useful (or not) they find the Survival Guide along the way. So far we’ve had Lynsay, who is about too embark on her second expat experiences, and Nichole, staring down the barrel of her first ever move overseas. Today I would like to introduce Erin, who is a newly arrived expat in Copenhagen, Denmark, and who blogs at Oregon Girl Around the World.
Thank you for agreeing to be a road-tester, Erin. First of all, please could you tell me a bit about yourself and your family, as well as a bit about your background.
Oregon girl I’ve been around the world, lived in many states and accumulated a myriad of addresses, but Oregon is where I’m “from.” The Oregon Trail is for explorers, wanderers, cultivators. We seek. We create. We do. Currently living and doing and making life happen in Copenhagen, Denmark as Chief Operating Officer for a lively family of 5.
Where were you living in your home country, and where have you moved to?
We were living right outside Portland, Oregon on the west coast of the United States for the past 7 years. My husband worked for the North American Headquarters of Vestas Wind Systems, a Danish company based in Aarhus, Denmark. With the family’s consent, he pursued an open position with the Danish office and here we are. His department is based out of Copenhagen, Denmark where we relocated to in December of 2014.
Have you ever been an expat before? If so, where and when? If not, do you know much about the “expat life”?
While I have held many different addresses domestically (the USA is a big place) I have never lived abroad. My experiences traveling abroad did not prepare me for the expatriation process. I was definitely caught off guard.
How prepared did you feel for the move? As well as from the Survival Guide, where did you get/are you getting your information from?
I wish that I had known about the Expat Partner’s Survival Guide as we had little assistance from my husband’s company and we had to figure it mostly out on our own.
Why do you think the Survival Guide will be useful? Are there any particular chapters you think you will find particularly helpful?
Wish I’d had Chapters 1-8 last year. Now I am particularly interested in making sure that my children are doing ok and that we power through the “Culture Shock.”
How did you find out about my book?
I can’t remember where I first found you! I think on a blog roll for expats or twitter!
What are you most looking forward to about living in your new country? What are you most worried about (if anything!)?
I was most looking forward to exploring Denmark and the rest of Europe with travel here being so much easier when you are already within Europe than making separate trips all the way from the United States. We were most worried about language and culture differences, fitting in and finding friends and comparable activities.
How are your children feeling about the move? How did they react when you told them?
As this was a voluntary move – we pursued the opportunity – we engaged the children all the way. At first it was very exciting and adventuresome. Sure – let’s do it! As it got closer and we had to pack up the house, sell things, get rid of things and say good bye to friends – the reality was a little harder to swallow and we went through many phases of ups and downs – both before AND after the move.
I have a wide range of expats reading my blog – do you have any questions for them? Either country-specific or just general questions about moving and living abroad?
I am really interested in how other families with teenagers have integrated their children into local schools, cultures and activities.
Thanks Erin – if anyone has any wise advice about integrating older children into the local community and schools please let her know in the comments.
I hope you’ve enjoyed getting to know my three road-testers and that you’re looking forward to following their progress as much as I am. I almost feel like a mother hen as I cluck around them, making sure they’re looking after themselves! Watch this space as we hear about the first part of their adventures – preparing for their big move.