Making Connections with Solo Expat Women

Female expats seem to fall within four broad categories: the trailing spouse, those who move for love, au pairs and then there are those of us who are doing the whole expat adventure solo.  It is these women I really want to connect with.  Women, who like myself, have arrived in a foreign country with just a suitcase and a job offer with no pre-existing support structures and no one to come home to at the end of the day to compare notes with.

Most female expat sites seem geared more towards the trailing spouse, the lovers or the professional women who move to their new country with their families.  I haven’t really found any  sites geared to us solo expaters that talk about the unique challenges we face and how tough it is at times doing this whole thing solo.

I find myself longing for this type of community, to connect with other women in the same position as myself, to share our experiences of trying to make a whole new life for ourselves in a foreign country.  Does this type of community exist?  If not, what would be involved in creating one? Is there even any interest to form this type of group?

If you are a fellow solo female expat and you are interested in connecting with others in the same positions as yourself, leave a comment or contact me.  Perhaps we can form something here – a network of online support to share our experiences with and to help each other through those not so great times we all face while trying to start a new life in a foreign country.

Edit: Due to the amount of interest this post is getting, I’ve created a Yahoo Group – Solo Expats as a way to get this ball rolling, please join if you are interested.

About Meg

A thirty something queer Aussie geek girl who now lives in Germany.
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9 Responses to Making Connections with Solo Expat Women

  1. outoutout says:

    Well, I actually ran my own expat website for more than 7 years. This is it:
    http://www.yanksdownunder.net

    It wasn’t really geared toward a specific type of expat, but a significant majority of the members (I would say upwards of 90%) were either trailing spouses or lovers. I’m not sure if it’s because they represent the majority of expats as a whole, or because trailing spouses & lovers are more likely to seek out expat groups. IIRC, I found most ‘lone expat communities’ to exist in two places: migration agency forums and backpacker websites. Or they’d have their own section on existing forums. I tried having one on mine, but there simply wasn’t enough interest in the long-term.

    Of course, that’s a different audience (Americans in Oz)… I don’t know if it would be different in your situation. Starting a community from scratch might be the way to go. I started a Yahoo Group first – quick, easy, no capital outlay. Most of the work is in marketing, spruiking your group everywhere you can.

    BTW, I didn’t initially emigrate for love, I just happened to find it after I got here. :) So I can definitely understand the whole “arrived in a foreign country with just a suitcase” situation. I’m sure there are others out there who did the same thing, but wouldn’t exactly qualify as ‘lone expats’. Sometimes great understanding and support can come from outside your preferred demographic. Just a thought.

    • Riayn says:

      I didn’t know you ran your own expat site, that’s cool.

      I totally agree that great understanding and support can come from outside my preferred demographic. I have meet in person and spoke to online many fantastic people that fall into the three other categories of expats. However, when to talk about certain topics they can’t relate. Therefore, I want to speak to others who can relate as well, but I just can’t find them through the “normal” channels.

  2. Ros says:

    Well, I don’t fit into this category now, since I’m back home. But I did do the solo expat thing for two years a couple of years ago, when I moved to the US for graduate studies from the UK. I was lucky enough to find a great community of people very quickly who were really helpful and welcoming and friendly, so that helped a lot. But I was homesick for the whole two years and being a lone traveller was a big part of that. There were lots of times when I really wished I had just one other person who had known me back home and who I didn’t have to ‘translate’ everything for.

    • Riayn says:

      I definitely understand where you are coming from wishing you could met someone you didn’t have to translate everything for. I’m fortunate that I’ve met a fellow Aussie here and whilst it’s not someone I knew back home we have a common culture which I find helps ease the feeling of being a complete alien.
      What did you find so hard about being a lone traveller?

  3. NFAH says:

    I feel the same, I’m always amazed by how few solo expat women with jobs there are in the general internet world. Count me in!

  4. Rachel says:

    Count me in…. Single, move from country to country for the job. .. Would love to connect with more of us out there…..

  5. Hi Riayn, good luck with your adventure! At the expat+HAREM community site we bring together a lot of different kinds of expats (and not only women, or expats in Turkey, although they make up the foundation of the site’s concept — which is based on a book by foreign women in modern Turkey). Check us out! (And consider a guest posts, we do those.)

    I’ve noticed just in the expat community here in Istanbul that social groups specifically for professional women have emerged in the past few years. Single or otherwise. That seems to reflect either a growing population or a more connected one. I think it might be a little bit of both.

    (@Thandelike on Twitter)

  6. Maureen Miriam Mansour says:

    GREAT to hear that there are others out there who are willing to form a community of solo women expats! Glad you posted this and willing to help in any way I can :)))

  7. I always find it kinda funny when people seem surprised that I don’t have a Turkish husband. I have a job in Istanbul but I didn’t move here for that either; I just wanted to try living in another country for a while — and “a while” is going on three years now. I did have a couple of friends here when I moved, so I was never completely alone, but I agree there’s a lot of ways my experience has been different from those of friends who’ve gone abroad with their spouses. Making good friends (male and female, mostly other expats) has been really key to my happiness. I hope you find that kind of support too!

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