Jess, marketing manager
Jess is an Aussie who lived in London for two years before migrating to the warmer climate of Mexico City over two years ago.
"Incredible experience? Without a doubt. Easy adjustment to life in Mexico? Hell no".
What do you consider your nationality to be?
Have you have ever considered yourself a Foreigner?
Yes definitely. I've been living overseas for the past 5 years. First in London and now Mexico City. But much before that I think that like many Aussies I've always associated with this idea of 'foreigner' - we're pretty much a ragtag nation of immigrants that love to explore and travel.
Can you tell us your story as a Foreigner?
London was my first experience living overseas. I was desperate to live and work in Europe and find a way to mix my travel ambitions with my career ambitions. Without a doubt London is one of the most incredible cities I've experienced - a melting pot of like-minded foreigners' and great opportunities. In London however I fell in love with a lovely Mexican fella and after a few years we decided to move to Mexico City to try our luck in Latin America. Incredible experience? Without a doubt. Easy adjustment to life in Mexico? Hell no.
What do you enjoy about living abroad?
I love to explore. Meeting new people and experiencing new cultures is addictive and there's literally never a dull moment when you're living abroad trying to navigate a new culture, a new language or even just a new public transport system.
Do you remember any personal challenge in adapting to the local culture?
My time in Mexico City has been a real love/hate affair. It's an incredible place; wonderful and warm people, super interesting culture, and delicious food. But I most definitely underestimated how difficult it would be learning a new language and fitting into a culture that is so very different to my previous western homes. In general I found myself feeling quite isolated at first.
Was there any key encounter which helped you, personally or professionally?
Oh my goodness, throwing myself into the deep-end in Mexico without a word of Spanish was a great life lesson. It taught me patience, and how bloody easy I've got it in a world that is very much English language friendly.
It also taught me how kind people can be, and that when in doubt; never underestimate the power of a big smile.
Do you think your experience as a marketing manager would have been the same if you stayed in your country of origin?
Definitely not, I've grown professionally in ways I don't think I would have been able to if I'd stayed in Australia. London was a big career boost for me, working on incredible global campaigns at Saatchi & Saatchi. And Mexico City was a trickier beast, but equally as rewarding, as i navigated being the only English speaker in a Mexican company. My straightforward Aussie nature saw a real clash with a much more reserved Mexican working culture. It was a great insight in the power that culture has over working life.
What are your plans for the future?
We're actually about to move back to Australia, so I'll be starting a whole new adventure in oz. But in general i'm hoping to take my 'foreigner' attitude home with me - to stay curious and open-minded about whatever comes next.
Where is home?
Home for me is a feeling rather than a location - it's the feeling you get when you're surrounded by wonderful friends and family.
What words/ideas do you associate with "Foreigner"?
A foreigner to me is adventurous, open-minded and open-hearted.