What is hiding behind an “expat woman”…
When you decide to follow your husband or boyfriend for expatriation, you know your life is going to be radically different and you will be called an “expat woman”.
I prefer saying ” women follow men” because it is primiraly the case for 90% according to a survey.
What about working abroad although you are in Africa?
First of all : working abroad will teach you to become adaptable and creative!
If you want to be more “creative”, work on the other side of the world :
I really think that discovering another way to work – with so many differences such as language, culture, time notions, space notions, way of thinking, understanding and realising staff/things – is the best way to adapt yourself, developping an open minded and high capacity of understanding other people.
No matter the nationalities and the countries, you will always have to adapt to them by understanding their cultural background and being creative to make business or anything else together. And you will start from the beggining when you will change from world’s region : Asia, America, Europe and Africa have all different ways to behave in business job.
“Cultures come with new norms and values and ways of looking at things, immersing yourself in a culture gives you proxies for biculturalism. Juxtaposing these two different worldviews lets you come up with new possibilities.” Adam Grant
Do women really need to work here?
You will have the first chance (at last !!) in your life to stop working ! Or even at least for a while until………… So if you choose to take advantage of the life without working you can feel like being in holidays, being finally able to see your children, taking time to cook more for your family, and above all looking after yourself for the first time since ages 😉
You have followed your husband because he is supposed to have a better job (I’m only talking about €, £, ¥, $ !!!) , and your apartment and car will also be paid by the company…..
Moreover, if you finally find a local work paid in GHC be aware that it would be useless for getting more money. At the same time, if the reason why you want to work is to have an activity, just do it !
But afterall you will have to find some activities (or at least one) to have something to do in order to avoid loneliness & a boring life !
However, according to my experience here (but I’m speaking personally), to stop working -because you are abroad- can be also very difficult to survive after a while. You will no more get up every morning thinking how to dress and make up to meet your collegues at 8 o clock and have a working purpose and activities everyday…
Is it difficult to get a job in Ghana ?
West African countries like Ghana and Senegal are said to be welcoming….. but…………
The problem is that you should have already moved there to have a chance to get a job. Employers receive so many false assurances from expats pledging to be on the next flight out that preference is usually given to people they meet in person.
Another drawback is that some West African nations may have quotas for issuing work visas to foreigners, with some smaller companies only being allowed one at a time.
On the other hand, reports suggest that anyone with technical skills such as engineering can expect the bureaucratic mist to miraculously lift : the oil and gas sector offers rick pickings, particularly in established countries such as Nigeria and Algeria…
But isn’t it mainly job for men ?!?!?!
==> Consequently, you can now understand that for women, it is not easy to find a work in Africa, except if you work for the embassy (few offers), school (be a teacher) or if you are for your account (psychologist, physiotherapist…) and that you want to open your cabinet/ office here. That is possible.
And above all, you have to check if you are allowed or not to work in the hosting country. It is stuck in your Visa passeport Permit.
My Personnal experience in Ghana…
A SINGLE QUESTION :
“Who was I before being an expat woman …? ”
Well, FIRST OF ALL I used to be INDEPENDENT !!!!
I was working in Paris, France for a famous natural cosmetic brand called L’Occitane en Provence in the center of this beautiful city which I love so much…
I had responsabilities being a District Manager in the city center of Paris : I was “the boss” of more than 15 salespersons and 3 shops managers.
So when I choose to quit my job, I was on the one hand happy to be free for the first time of my life and on the other hand I was scared that I miss my work, colleagues, and stop being proud of myself.
“Will it be worth it …or not…? ”
Nobody could answer that question at that time…
MAY 2014… my arrival in Accra
BUT WHAT CAN I DO HERE NOW ?????
At my arrival in Accra, I started quicky to be ALONE in my “lovely” house, knowing noone, being LOST in the crowded and noisy capital of Ghana, Accra.
My boyfriend was working from 7 am to 7 pm so I had yo find out what to make with my two hands and head!
First, I really had difficulties to adapt: I MISSED France, family, friends, colleagues, Paris, my appartment, my dance lessons, my “own” bars of preference , restaurants, Zara and FNAC shops, theatres, Opera Garnier, cinemas and all what Paris could offer… EVERYTHING in fact! And what about here??? Well………. φ φ φ φ φ…….
HOW could I make to go out of this mess ?
==> I HAD to find a WORK and other daily ACTIVITIES to integrate and spend time.
July… hummm… no french expat is here … no activities neither … OK, it is summer holidays… well… one solution… (you are following me?!?!!!) BECAUSE I do not want to commit suicide alone here.
So I “cried” to my boyfriend :
-“please, my lover, I am sorry but I beg you, can I go back to France for the summer and I will come back in September ? ……”
“one angel is very very slowly passing” we would say in french which means “There is a hushed silence “
-OK then… you are sure? You don’t want to stay with me?
September 2014, 3 months later…
3 months after my arrival, (yes, you know now that all expat women are going back for the whole summer holidays to their country, but I understand why now…). and with good new motivation and a parachute this time , I landed in Accra happy to find my boyfrien again .
I first tried to help in organizing “Accra Accueil” activities and visits with the french association. I met french expat girls and start to discover with them the city, the culture and typical things of Ghana.
So yet, it was a good beggining afterall… but after 6 months…. the same questions… were coming back to my mind….
I was missing something only given by work : the Pride to be active and independent.
“WHAT ABOUT GOING BACK TO SCHOOL ?
BUT THIS TIME FOR HELPING AND TEACHING CHILDREN ?”
“WHAT ABOUT BEING A VOLUNTEER IN AN ORPHENAGE?”
Contrary to all expectations, the life changed for me from that moment.
At last, I felt like waking up again …!