What triggers women to pack their bags and leave their home country?
What makes women seek a life abroad? What drives them? What is their motivation to pack their bags and move their whole life to the other side of the world?
The reasons are manifold and show the different personalities of global minds. Learn about the key drivers, the accidental expat, and the role of her own upbringing.
The thriving Female Expat
A qualitative study of 30 role models around the world
I interviewed 30 amazing women working abroad and asked them about:
– What was your motivation to go abroad?
– Can you have it all? A successful career and a family?
– How do you deal with the opinions of friends and family back home?
– What makes you thrive in your career?
How to access
What motivates women to move abroad?
The 30 conversations I had can be divided into two camps. About 50% of the study participants had private reasons for going abroad. These include, for example, love, self-development, a desire for living in a foreign country or in a more serious context to live in a safer environment. Especially women from South America reported that they are looking for a higher standard of living in Europe and want to become financially independent.
Still others, especially women from Europe and Asia, are attracted by professional projects. Either their career at home has stalled and they hope that projects abroad will have a positive effect on their salary and position, or they are looking for more challenging tasks or find it difficult to coordinate family and career in their home country.
Why women move abroad: In her own words
The study carried out is so valuable in terms of quality because women have their say directly and unfiltered. At numerous points in the report, I let the women speak directly and they share very honestly and authentically about their motivations, experiences and challenges. Below are a few quotes from women about their reasons for moving abroad. You can see how diverse the reasons can be:
The accidental expat
While the examples above show that the reason for a career abroad can be manifold there is also another trigger. An international career does not just happen. Many women have taken their fate proactively into their own hands, writing applications on their own initiative or expressing interest to their employer in a project abroad. But there are also some women who stumbled into this adventure rather by chance. Especially as an Expat Partner coach, I meet women again and again for whom life abroad came as a surprise and either welcomed it with open arms or shied away from it. In this study, I also encountered some women who did not proactively want to go abroad. An opportunity was offered to these women, they were persuaded by their employer or suddenly found themselves in the role of Expat Partner. These comments describe this situation very well:
The role of their own upbringing
For many, the parental home also plays a role in the decision to leave. Interestingly, this applies to both directions. Some reported that their parents themselves hardly left the home country and were very sedentary, and they wanted to break out of these structures to some extent and were curious about the world out there. For others, their parents were role models and exemplified international life. It was only logical for these women to do the same. The following quotes by two Female Expats illustrate how different their own upbringing influenced how they choose their own way of life.
While the motivation to move abroad is very diverse all women encountered very similar challenges and struggles while living abroad. One of them is how to combine having a family and small kids while also following an ambitious career path without the support of the extended family close by.
One of the biggest findings from my study was that many women choose to live abroad because it is the only way they can experience and have a family and career at the same time. Their own home with its familiar values and norms was often perceived as very restrictive, and abroad the women found the courage to assert their very own family concept. You can read more about this in the study here.
Are you currently abroad or thinking about moving abroad? Share your personal reasons with us in the comments and join us at one of the next Global Coffee Dates. In the newsletter, I regularly inform you about new events and content. Feel free to sign up if you want to be part of the next event. I look forward to hearing from you!