Learning and growing with each relocation

Expat partner Ria Thawani has relocated on numerous occasions. Everywhere she goes, she’s happy to be able to adapt to the circumstances and explore new interests.

Another new start

After living in Tokyo, Paris, Amsterdam and Sydney, Ria moved to a small German town called Bad Homburg in 2019. We wondered if she had found it harder to find a fulfilling occupation compared to each time she had lived in a major city. “Well, it’s never been immediately obvious what I would do anywhere. Circumstances are always different and it takes time to explore possibilities. In Sydney, where I was permitted to work, I found a job as a recruitment consultant,” says Ria, a mother of two boys from India.

Cultural exchanges

“My background is actually graphic design but on my husband’s first assignment in Japan, it wasn’t really possible to enter the formal job market as an expat partner. So instead, I organised cooking classes for Japanese women who wanted to learn how to make classic Indian dishes. It was a pleasure to see how much they loved it! When we relocated from Tokyo to Paris, I participated in another cultural exchange – I learned how to bake pastries and breads from some French friends and, in return, I taught them English!”

Digging deeper

Since arriving in Germany food remains central to Ria’s expat life but this time she’s ‘digging a little deeper’ and studying nutrition: “I have always been interested in food preparation, food security, and how diet impacts the health of individuals and communities. The pandemic only reinforced these interests and concerns,” says Ria, who has already been able to apply some of the knowledge gained from two online courses that she’s following. “Over the last two years, I’ve been giving my family in India a lot of advice to protect their health during the pandemic.”

Part-time photographer

On top of her formal studies, Ria has also kept her toes in the world of visual arts: “Since my days as a graphic designer, I’ve always been a keen photographer, so I’ve been brushing up on my photography skills. I have also volunteered to be a photographer at some school events as well as festival and cultural events hosted by the Indian consulate and Indian community in Frankfurt,” says Ria. “I’m always excited by each move. It’s a chance to discover a new culture and a chance to learn and grow.”

Photo: Ria (centre) with the family

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