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Cross-cultural & Expat Interviews

Inspiring Individuals Living Cross-Cultural Lifestyles Around the World. Archive of Cross-Cultural Interviews.

compiled and edited by Jennifer Kumar, Cross Cultural Coach

This is a compilation of interviews from regular people who decided to live extraordinary expat, global, intercultural and international lifestyles. If you'd like to participate, click here.

A British Family Settled in Nairobi, Kenya
Africa Expat Wives Club (UK in Kenya)    
The Pros and Cons of moving to Nairobi

Anu's Authentic Journey - Marrying Indian Culture with Small Town America
Anu came from India to small town America in 2006. Moving from Mumbai to Oregon brings a lot of changes. How does Anu balance her new found identity in small town America with her Indian identity? How does she stay connected to her roots and nourish herself while balancing cultural integration being married into an American family? Click in to read some of her story. Thanks for sharing Anu. 

The Authentic Journey of Barbara: An American in Italy
Experiences of an American living life in Italy as an Italian! She has fully immersed herself into the culture by marrying an Italian (who doesn't know English), raising her child (who was born in America) there and starting her own business! How inspiring.
Barbara's Top 20 List of Interesting Things I've found in Italy

Binu John

Palm Sunday In America and in India
Binu shares his thoughts and experiences about Palm Sunday, the day that Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a goat, heralded in by the local villagers with the fanning of palm leaves, days before Easter.  The interview also provides links to games, crafts and songs for children, videos about Palm Sunday and links to bible scriptures that can be read on this holy day.

Daniel Sumarto    
Rustic Rendezvous in East Africa
Our dream vacation awaits in Kenya and Tanzania. We wait to experience wildlife and safari in the country that still seems so exotic. In 2007, I came across the following videos by Daniel Sumarto I want to share with you today. These are three of his six videos. These videos are inspiring. The photography is simply breathtaking and leaves an emotional imprint within me. All videos are embedded with permission from videographer, Daniel Sumarto.

Deepa & Brijesh Nair
Part 1: Lessons on Maintaining Identity Away From One’s Native Culture and Country      
Learning to stay connected to one's culture and identity can be a challenge when living in another country as an international student, foreigner or expat. Have you faced that? Brijesh and Deepa share some of their lessons on maintaining their identity away from their native culture and country of India while they stayed in U.S.A.

Part 2: Process of Moving Back and Re-Integration into ‘A More Familiar Place’

Making a decision to move home after years away can be tricky whether we live a few towns away or a few continents away. What are some factors that can be weighed in the decision making process? How far ahead of time are such decisions thought of and planned out for? What are some of the adjustment factors that seriously considered? Are these decisions different based on the location of the move? Click in to read some experiences of Brijesh and Deepa in their planning to return to India after being NRIs abroad.

Part 3: College Culture in India
College culture for students and staff have changed in India since Deepa and Brijesh left and returned to India over the past 10 years. What are some of the changes and current conditions they have noticed working as professors in Vellore Institute of Technology in South India (Tamil Nadu)?

Jon Herrin

Life Outside U.S.A.: Appreciating Diverse Lifestyles in South America
An American's journey from the South of U.S.A to the South Americas is an intriguing story of cross-cultural lifestyles and learning about the world!  Click in to read the story of Jon Herrin's journey from America to Mexico.

Lisa C. James

My So-Called Jeevitham

Part 1 of 3: From U.S. to India - The Struggles of Identifying with India While Growing up in America

Growing up in America has some perks. However, when one's parents don't identify themselves as American or 'act American' at home, this offers both gifts and challenges. Experience growing up in America while trying to balance an Indian and American identity through Lisa's eyes in this three part series that takes Lisa from America across the seven seas to .... India!

Part 2 of 3: India it is!
What happens when a move around the world seems to happen overnight? Does it mean it's meant to be or does it mean something more, something greater, something mysterious and life-defining? Click in to read what happens to Lisa as her life's journey takes her what seems haphazardly to .... a place less familiar than expected!

Part 3 of 3: Fighting Stereotypes and Embracing Identity
Wonder what it's like to look Indian but feel American in India? I would guess it's a bit like being a fish out of water; as we say here in America. Reading Lisa's account, I can imagine it was. On the outside, Lisa blends in and looks 'like everyone else' because of her Indian heritage, but on the inside which starts to come out- everyone including her realizes something else is underneath it all. You have to click in to read her expeirences finding and fighting stereotypes and identity in India and also following once returning back to 'the States'.

Margarita Gokun Silver
The Authentic Journey of Margarita Gokun Silver: Musings of Multi and Cross-Cultural Life, Sharing and Mentoring from Russia and Beyond
Margarita, originally from Russia currently lives in U.S.A.. She has also enjoyed living a cross-cultural lifestyle in Argentina and other international locations. She uses her experiences to helpe others adjust to different cultures and lifestyles.

NRI Maami
Inspirational Bloggers: NRI Maami's Expression of Indian Culture in America
Trying myself to recreate the culture I experienced in Tamil Nadu, India that holds a soft spot in my heart, I continue to look for Tamil bloggers based in America for inspiration on creating the mood, spirit and physical-look of India and Hindu culture here in America. In that search, I have found and been overwhelmingly influenced by NRI Maami.  With her permission, I have created a wonderful photo story of her expressions of Indian and Tamil culture here in America- including celebrations of Navarathri (including tutorial on how to create golu steps), Diwali, Avan Avittam, Ganesh Chathurthi, Krishna Jayanthi and others. Thank you for sharing your experiences with the world, NRI Maami.

Radhika Vasanth

The Authentic Journey of Cuisine: Radhika's Love for Cooking, Food and Cross-Cultural Living
Radhika, born and raised in India now in U.S. loves to combine her love for Indian culture and other ethnic cuisnes into her palate here in U.S.A.

Inspirational Ganapathi Idols by Roopashri and her friends
Sankranti Traditions from India to America
Lord Ganesh inspires the creative artist within us during Ganesh Chathurthi. This year, I wanted to make a different kind of handmade murthi (idol) and while doing some internet research, found a wonderful collection of handmade Ganeshas on a blog authored by Roopashri. With her and her friend's permission, this post of inspirational handmade Ganesh murthis is possible.   

Sanjay Krishnan and Julie
Williams Krishnan
The Authentic Journey of Sanjay and Julie (Part 1 of 3) - Two People Living Their Best Life Possible Above and Beyond Culture and Appearances
Having known Sanjay for over 10 years, I was excited he'd agree to share his thoughts on cross-cultural living here on my blog with his down-to-earth wife, Julie. I met Julie in person last year and immediately understood how these two hit it off! I am so honored that they decided to share about their life and times here on my blog and really challenged the questions as I posed them! Thanks! (Since the interview and questions are lengthy, I will be posting it in three parts this week! Enjoy!) 

The Authentic Journey of Sanjay and Julie: The Languages of Love (Part 2 of 3)
Ok, so when you meet your spouse abroad, in a home away from home for both of you, and have to adapt and adopt different cultures and languages, what wins? Many people may wonder, and for each person it can differ! Click in to read the experiences of Julie and Sanjay when adapting, adopting and communicating in the three languages of their relationship- U.K. English, American English and Tamil. 

The Authentic Journey of Sanjay and Julie: Yes, UK and USA are Different Countries! (Part 3 of 3)
Well, of course, United Kingdom and United States are two different countries, we learned that in history class- the map tells us so, but what makes them unique? Is it possible to have culture shock when moving between these two nations? Julie and Sanjay share their thoughts on this and other cross-cultural topics.

Sneha Nair
An Indian in China: Interview with Kochi-ite Sneha Krishnan
To Sneha, her life is quite normal. But, to me, looking in and seeing an Indian studying in China, it’s new to me! Though it’s not new for Indians to study in China, it’s a new piece of information for me. Today, I share an exciting interview with Sneha, a Keralite living in China.  About Jennifer Kumar creator of this interview series. Jennifer is a cross-cultural coach helping people figure out how to feel comfortable in their new surroundings by getting to know you and helping you create long-lasting solutions that will help you weather life changes, cultural change, and more!


Vidhya Iyer

Vidhya's Recipe Blog

February 18, 2009

ollowing Vidhya's recipe blog for almost a year has bought some unique culinary delights into our kitchen. I love to read about the Tamil cooking, cultural aspects and health tips as presented in her blog. Of course, to top that, I just love to eat Tamil vegetarian cuisine and reading the blog tempts me to create her recipes on my own! Click in to read more about Vidhya and her Indian Tamil Vegetarian Cooking blog!

Viji Varadarajan 
Insights and Inspirations of Viji Varadarajan
Viji Varadarajan is an ambassador of the Tamil Brahmin cookery culture. Her passion for her culture has taken her on amazing journeys within her kitchen and outside her home as well, interacting with and educating Indians and Internationals on the beauties and wonders of this cuisine and culture. As more and more curious people from all over the world are exposed to Viji’s books and friendly personality, her awareness of what to do and where to go next in bringing awareness to us on Tamil Brahmin (tambram) cooking comes from questions and observations from anyone who’s curious.


Do you relate to any of these expat stories? Maybe you're an international student, expat wife, in a cross-cultural relationship, considering an interfaith marriage, a 'third culture kid' (TCK), or someone finding it challenging to adjust to a new culture, lifestyle or country. Would you like some help to sort all that out? Maybe you'd like help figuring out the answers to some of the cross cultural interview questions to explore yourself and personal learnings on a deeper level. I am a cross-cultural coach and mentor,
contact me for details or see more details about what I do here.

Thank you for spending your time on Alaivani.com.

Updated February 2011


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Copyright 2007-2011 by Jennifer Kumar