We’re now almost through the first month of 2015 (how did that happen?!). A new year brings new beginnings, and some of you may be thinking of moving jobs, moving house, or even moving countries. More and more people are upping sticks and deciding on the expat life.
We’re lucky to be working with seasoned expat and technology professional Yelena Parker, who comes from Ukraine and is currently based in London. Yelena has written an expat guide book for women called ‘Moving Without Shaking’. Described as a ‘Guide to expat life success (from women to women), the book is getting great reviews.
We recently met up with Yelena in London to chat about her expat life, the book and why she wrote it.
Tell us a bit about your book ‘Moving Without Shaking’…. what is it about?
Moving Without Shaking is about and for women expats as well as women interested in international careers. I define a modern expat pretty broadly: people moving to work, study or volunteer abroad. There are a lot of books and blogs about women who relocate with their partners or families, including children. What I found was that no one is talking about career-driven women without children and challenges they are facing when making decisions about where to live and work. We are all so busy, so despite the fact that there are many expat communities and tools online, people want a shortcut. Tell me what I need to know to succeed in my life abroad. Give me a few ideas that I didn’t have. I hear often people saying “I wish I knew this before I moved” “I wish I thought of this before I chose to take this job in…”. The book is meant to answer a number of questions but also to inspire through stories of other women like you. You may not want to be motivated by examples of women who are independently wealthy or moving to retire with their spouse, or celebrities in a particular type of career or entrepreneurship. The book is for women who are trying to find their own way around the globe, be it a program to study abroad or a work abroad opportunity.
What made you want to write the book?
Having met a great number of women who are very successful with their careers and lives abroad, I realized that many of them started from pretty much nothing, just like me. It’s not a book about hardships but it is about perseverance and belief that things will work out if we make an effort. If you search Twitter for “move abroad” “live abroad” you will find young women saying that they would like to but can’t afford it or they are surprised that their family would even support the idea. I wanted to give every woman an opportunity to learn from experiences of others and see that like any other dream, life and career abroad is possible for people with any incomes and any backgrounds.
Who do you think will benefit from reading the book?
I hope to reach female students who are trying to decide on their study abroad programs or recent graduates thinking about career progression. Most of my examples are from our lives in tech, so may be the book will address both interests- live abroad and work in tech. Worked out for me! I also would like women who are about to make their decision on a move abroad to work or return home after an international assignment to read it. It works at any stage of your career- the examples and stories are from both women who were just starting out and those who have continued on the path of being serial expats.
What has the reaction from readers been like so far?
I am very pleased to say that many readers have found the book inspirational and came back to ask me more questions, share experiences and ask for guidance. A few meetings with readers in London were quite fun to discuss how they will apply the learnings to their own first move abroad. When I sat down to write the book, I mostly focused on women who are career focused and do not have children. It was interesting to hear feedback from a few bloggers that this focus was viewed as an omission of a very important topic in an expat woman’s life. I don’t claim to know anything about raising children since I chose not to have them and most of the women who I interviewed also don’t have children, so the book is not about family aspect but a journey of self-discovery around the world.
Where can people buy the book?
You can download the book on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Google and iTunes. If you still prefer paperback, it is available to purchase online only at Amazon, Barnes and Noble as well as Waterstones and Blackwell’s.
Yelena Parker is also available for interview and guest blogging.