‘I feel this kind of support should be mandatory’

After relocating to Cairo, expat partner Andrea Paric Bermanec was unsure of what path she would take until she spoke with a coach.

What do I do now?

Like so many members of our community, Andrea was eager to experience life in a new culture with her family. Her kids (now 4 and 9 years old) soon settled into a new rhythm. Her husband was relishing his role as an international manager. “After everyone else had settled in, I looked around and thought: what is in this for me? What do I do now?” says Andrea, who had previously been a lawyer in Zagreb. “I couldn’t practise law and I was very career focussed. In this situation, you start to wonder who you are, and what you can do in a country that’s very different to home.”

A great connection

“I spoke with Josien Berkenvelder from Global Connection. We talked about my needs. She explained what kind of support was available and suggested working with a coach. The sessions with Susanne Cordes were fantastic. We had a great connection because of similar life experiences. Our conversations gave me more clarity on what I was looking for.”

Recognising opportunities

“I meet so many female expats who have given up their careers and are unsure of what they want to do next. So I feel very grateful to have received this support from my husband’s employer. I honestly think it should be as mandatory as cultural training or even a health check for anyone who is following their partner to another country. It reframed everything for me. I stopped thinking about what wasn’t  possible and started seeing all of the opportunities.”

Finding the time

“Now I’m an internationally accredited coach specialising in transition and expat coaching. It’s also a career that I will be able to take with me, whether we relocate to another country, or return to Croatia in the future. I should say that I have put a lot of work into this. To become an internationally accredited coach I was studying, and practised for years attending my online lectures in different time zones at night! Some of my friends asked me where I found the time and energy to change my career. My motto is: where there is a will, there’s always a way! And luckily, I have picked up some good time management skills from my legal career!”

Photo: Andrea with the family in Egypt