Archive for 'Interview'

From Mexico to Vancouver: Expat Interview With Christine Delano

Posted on 22. Feb, 2010 by in Blog, Expat Entrepreneurs, Interview
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Christine Delano is originally from Mexico City, and her mother is Canadian. She has agreed to answer a few questions about her experience as a graphic designer and expat entrepreneur in Vancouver, BC. Through vivid images and evocative words, Christine talks openly about the fear, the loneliness, and the growth we all go through.

A very rich interview, full of inspiring lessons for expats not only in Vancouver, but all over the world.

View from Stanley Park

- Can you tell us what brought you to Canada, and how that move has shaped your career? (more…)

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Expat Interview: Looking For Work In Vancouver – MĂ©lanie

Posted on 25. Nov, 2009 by in Blog, Expat Life, Interview, Working Abroad

MĂ©lanie Bourquin is a French expat currently living in Vancouver, BC. She is 29.

The following interview is the transcript of a conversation I recorded with MĂ©lanie on November 18, 2009. She has plenty of tips and advice to share with fellow expats, especially those who are looking for a job.

Jobs (painted sign)What attracted you to become an expat? (more…)

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Interview with Danielle LaPorte

Posted on 29. Jan, 2009 by in Blog, Interview, Musings & Inspiration

The brilliant Danielle LaPorte (of Style Statement fame) offered to interview fellow bloggers and readers of her new blog, White Hot Truth.
The idea is that each blogger agrees in turn to interview his or her own readers who are interested, and so on. So if you would like me to interview you, please take a look at the rules below and leave me a comment here.

* leave me a comment saying: “interview me”
* all comments will be published
* I will e-mail you five questions of my choice
* you can then answer the questions on your blog {with a link back to my blog}
* you should also post these rules, along with an offer to interview anyone else who e-mails you wanting to be interviewed
* anyone who asks to be interviewed should be sent 5 questions to answer on their blog
* it would be nice if the questions were individualized for each blogger

And without further ado, 5 Q’s from White Hot Truth for Emmanuelle:

1. What is your form of genius?

Reframing: I am really good at helping people see a different perspective or unexpected opportunity. I love opening up new possibilities.

I am also very adept at researching, sorting through and interpreting large amounts of information, be it practical or conceptual.

2. What do you want more of?




Raw-milk cheeses.

Now that I think of it, more shoulder rubs would be nice too.

3. In your opinion, what was David Bowie’s best phase?

Wait, you mean David Bowie has gone through several phases? No one ever tells me anything…

[What’s with the Bowie references all over the place lately, by the way? Is the Flight of the Conchords song single-handedly causing a revival?]

Back to the original question: Music-wise, he definitely was on top of his game in the early seventies, so I would have to pick the Ziggy Stardust phase.
Mind you, as a composer/performer/actor/chameleon, he was amazingly prolific in the eighties too, culminating in the feathered-haired and glittery gloriousness that is Labyrinth… so I guess it is a tie between Ziggy and the Goblin King.

4. Who inspires you and why?

– Pharaoh Hatshepsut, an amazingly strong woman who was also an excellent diplomat. Her reign brought peace, prosperity and stability to Egypt.

– Hildegard von Bingen, for being such a multi-talented author, herbalist, linguist, composer and mystic (among other things). I cannot read about her, or listen to her music, without feeling the urge to get up and go do something meaningful with my life!

– Felines in general, and cats in particular, for their grace, their independence and their ability to combine deep relaxation with constant alertness.

5. What are 3 books that rocked your world?

Only three? Oh that is a tough one for a bookworm like myself!

Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog) by Jerome K. Jerome
Yes I know, purple prose and all that. Yet I have always found this book hilarious. I first read it in French when I was a little girl and I must have re-read it close to 15 times since!

Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling
Another book that I first read in French as a child. I remember being mesmerized by the way Kipling played with words and sounds and alliterations and repetitions… my first exposure to a writer who had a very distinct voice and who was not afraid to use it.

The Search for Omm Sety by Jonathan Cott
A fascinating biography that poses more questions than it answers. Dorothy Eady, aka Omm Sety, bridged the gap between modern and ancient Egypt. She chose to leave everything behind and moved from England to a tiny hamlet in Upper Egypt, in order to spend the rest of her life near her beloved Temple of Abydos. Her story never fails to inspire me as a coach, especially when I work with clients who feel stuck and are doubting their own dreams.

and a bonus Q, just for you:
what advice do you give most often?

Hmm. You know, I try to refrain from giving too much advice. I am more of the “listen deeply and make it easier for people to listen to their own wisdom” school of thought. After all, each one of us is the expert at living his or her own life and I can only speak for myself!

In my coaching, I will often suggest “Sit with this for a while and see what comes up”. Life is not just about constantly doing and/or analyzing stuff. Sometimes it is good to just notice what is going on inside and simply allow it to be there, without rushing to “fix” it.

I will take an insightful question over a piece of advice any day. Much more powerful.

Your turn now! Please leave a comment if you would like me to interview you next.


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Expat Interview: Aliye Kurt – From Turkey To The Netherlands via Canada

Posted on 20. Jan, 2009 by in Blog, Expat Life, Interview
1 comment

Today I bring you the first in a series of expat interviews, beginning with my friend and fellow coach Aliye Kurt, who recently relocated to Amsterdam. The interview below is a short version- you can read the full interview here.
If you would like to see your own expat story featured on this blog, please leave a comment here, or send me an email at coaching[at]winningaway[dot]com.

1. Could you tell us about your background, where you have lived before coming to The Netherlands, and what your new life in Amsterdam is like?

I was born and raised in Turkey, and lived there until my mid-20s until I moved to Vancouver for graduate studies. I started working as a full-time faculty member at a psychology department after completing my doctoral degree at UBC. In the past year I have also been working as a professional coach. After maintaining a (very!) long – distance relationship for four years between Vancouver and first Berlin, then Frankfurt, I decided to move to Europe last summer.

I was really excited about moving to Amsterdam – which in my mind was the “perfect introduction to living in Europe” with its diversity, open-minded/tolerant attitude, nice European flair with its cafés, canals and amazing architecture, and of course with the convenience of using English in daily life, as well as in coaching and teaching. And so far, I was not disappointed – except for the two months of rain in summer (maybe to make the transition from Vancouver easier??). My life here is much more active in terms of attending to cultural events – the offer is very broad with museums, galleries, festivals, concerts, and talks.

Amsterdam has also been great for my coaching practice. Based on my background and life experiences, I work a lot with internationals and expatriates. Both its own international/expat community and, its closeness to other similar cities such as The Hague, Brussels, and Frankfurt make Amsterdam a strategic spot for my coaching and training business. I also run a coaching retreat program on sailboats in Turkey in summers, which has become more feasible by living in Europe. What can I say ~ so far so good!

2. What has life abroad taught you? What skills have you found most helpful?

I think the best learning for me was to realize how relative my (or my culture’s) “right way of doing things” was. That realization could bring about confusion, or even shake one’s identity a bit. But if you are open – minded, you will grow tremendously. Now I am much more aware of the cultural lens through which I experience the world, and question my perceptions of people and events more.

One of the skills that I have found to be vital, especially to optimize the benefits of being in a new environment without “losing it”, is to anchor yourself with social support. When I think back, each time I moved to a new city, the shift from anxiety, longing for the familiar, and dissatisfaction to a positive mindset/emotional state happened by meeting one or two people who anchored me with something familiar. In most cases that familiar thing was culture – I ended up meeting like-minded people from Turkey. And that happened even though I did not consciously seek out Turkish people, and never had an exclusively Turkish social network. That familiar element, which I believe restored my sense of security, then served as a springboard for me to start adapting to my new environment and enjoying my life abroad as I formed a broader, more diverse social network. For other people the anchor might be their work, a particular activity, nature, their favorite hobby, or whatever restores that sense of security – but as a social psychologist I suspect social support would be more effective since it does more than just being an anchor.

3. What did you find most challenging?

For me the most challenging part of living abroad is being away from family and close friends. Especially moving frequently means we don’t get to grow roots at any place, which has recently started bothering me. I try to deal with that by visiting my family more often and creating opportunities to do projects in Turkey.

And this time – as an accompanying partner – another challenge is my career. Luckily, I do not have a problem with a work permit, but a full-time teaching position similar to the one I had in Vancouver is very difficult to find in the Netherlands. My solution to that is teaching part-time for now, and focusing more on my coaching practice – which I hope to transform into a portable career that I can take with me no matter where I live!

4. What advice would you give to people who are considering living overseas, or to fellow expats?

My tip number one is manage your expectations! As I have described before, my expectations about living in Amsterdam were quite high, and I hadn’t taken the weather factor into account – my initial experience of my life here was dominated by a negative mood due to the disappointment around “the terrible weather in Amsterdam!” Set realistic expectations about how your new life might look like, but don’t underestimate the power of some optimism! Anything that would increase your intercultural awareness – from books to workshops – would also help to set realistic expectations. Of course number one requirement for this one is to know your priorities really well.

Related to the above, try to be open-minded/ don’t get stuck with the same perspective. After years of teaching psychology, I am still amazed how our mindset and perceptions can shape our experience. After two months of rain, I said to myself, “it is September…now, it is Okay if it rains” and I was not as bothered by the rain anymore…Of course magically, we had a golden autumn to reward my new attitude! Doing that is not always easy especially when you are stuck with a particular perspective – then please seriously consider working with a coach who will not only help you with different perspectives, but will also be tremendous social support. I benefited a lot from working with my coach – with her help I’ve realized how I was letting weather (something completely out of my control) to spoil my experience of this wonderful city!

There are many more, but lastly, make sure to do at least one thing that makes you feel confident about yourself. Next to social support self-esteem is an invaluable resource that helps people bounce back successfully from challenging situations.

And one not-to-do: Do not hang out with people who are consistently negative and who always complain how terrible life is in your host country!

Dr. Aliye Kurt – Suedhoff is a social psychologist and a professional coach. Having lived in Turkey, Vancouver, Berlin, Frankfurt and Amsterdam, she enjoys being part of diverse expatriate/ international communities.

As an academic she specializes on self-esteem, cultural differences in self-views, emotional intelligence, and the importance of balancing independence and interpersonal closeness for well-being. As a professional coach she brings together her solid psychological expertise, her coaching training, and her international experience to assist individuals and organizations in functioning at their best.

She currently lives in Amsterdam, Netherlands, and works globally through her coaching & training company, Set Sail Coaching.

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