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Living abroad as an expatriate family comes with privileges and challenges. Belén Galindo Lizaldre and her husband Roberto Goñi Ruiz uprooted their family of four from Pamplona (Spain) to move to Chattanooga, TN in the United States.
Three years in the Tennessee Valley have left a lasting impression on this expat family and on this episode Belén & Roberto share their experience only a day before their return trip to Spain. What worked? What didn’t work?
Roberto had been sent to Chattanooga for his employer, German automotive manufacturer Volkswagen. Meanwhile, Belén had to pause her successful career as a media professional in the Navarra region in northern Spain, in order to accompany her husband an this assignment. Their two teenage sons also had to get used to a new environment and a “new normal” in a hurry.
Listen to their advice of how to be successful as an expat and navigate the challenges of work and social life.
Some of the expat tips Belén shares during our interview:
- Be open. Don’t stay at home. Go out and make new connections
- Starting over again abroad is possible. It may not always be easy and it’s worth it
- Find an activity that you are passionate about and give it your all
Roberto gives some valuable insights as well:
- Don’t assume the corporate culture in your organization will be the same in different locations around the world
- Prepare to have a lot more meetings
- Be ready to experience challenges when trying to blend different cultures at work
- Be prepared for failure and never stop learning
As a professional journalist, Belén quickly found her passion at her host location. Please take a look at her book, People of Chattanooga, which you can order via the website.
Feel free to connect with Belén on LinkedIn and Twitter. And with Roberto as well: LinkedIn • Twitter.
On this episode you will also hear about the annual meeting of the International Business Council at the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce. To attend please make sure to register. An expert panel will discuss how a metro region is meeting the needs of international business families. Titled “Beyond the Job,” this panel will discuss what happens after economic developers, company leaders, and politicians have signed the contracts for a new international venture.
Because: it’s not companies who go global but people who do.
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