When you are unable to work (or find a fulfilling volunteering role) in your host country, you can still explore new career opportunities through study.
Lately, expat partner Saskia de Jongh has found that she has much more free time on her hands: “My boys are 12 and 14, so they come home from school and go straight to their room. When they need a snack, they help themselves! Another big difference is that Singapore is so safe. You see eight or nine year old kids here take Grab taxi cars on their own. It took some time for my husband and I to get used to this but we’re now comfortable with the boys heading off to the mall by themselves.”
Time and space
Her boys’ increased independence has given Saskia enough time and space to take steps toward fulfilling a new career goal: “Before our expat life began in 2015, I worked in communications in the corporate sector. When we moved to the US, I imagined that we would return home in two to three years. So in my mind, I was just taking a break. But seven years later, here we are in Singapore and I’m sure I’ll never return to my old career. Instead my plan is to become an elementary teacher in the future.”
First teaching experience
“My father’s a journalist, which must have influenced my decision to work in communications, and my mother’s a teacher so that must have influenced this new direction! But I feel like teaching is the ideal career for an expat partner. Whether we relocate or repatriate, there will likely be job opportunities,” says Saskia, who dipped her toes into the education sector in the Spanish capital. “I was a class assistant at NTC Madrid, which offers extracurricular Dutch language and culture lessons.”
Hitting the books
It is hard for expat partners living in Singapore to get an ‘employment pass’ (work permit). Even volunteering opportunities are limited. However, that situation doesn’t concern Saskia too much: “My degree will take four years so I can focus on my studies while I am here. Also, as part of my course, I have to do teacher training once a week, which I hope to arrange with the Dutch School here. That would mean I would get to do my own thing without being employed.”
Photo: Saskia hiking along the MacRitchie Reservoir in Singapore
This article was originally published for the thousands of expat partners that Global Connection supports around the globe. It is reproduced here in its original form.