To lead a more sustainable expat life, build social networks

If you’re looking for answers on how you can live more sustainably as an expat, or even find work in the sustainability industry, you first need to understand the local community and create connections.

Making a difference

For Camilla Degerth, a coach who has experienced 12 relocations in her own peripatetic expat journey, sustainability has increasingly become a central focus in life. As it happens, she’s found that more and more expat partners these days are also asking her: ‘How can I make a difference?’  But, wherever you are based, and no matter what you are seeking (paid employment, a voluntary role, a more eco-conscious lifestyle, the best plant-based burger in town), Camilla suggests that everyone should begin by making friends.

A little research

“For expats looking to live more sustainably, the questions that you might be asking, after moving to a new country, are: ‘What can I do here?’ , ‘What are the issues here?’ , ‘What are other people doing here?’ ” says Camilla. “To learn more about the local environment and your new community, you can use social media as a tool to join groups and connect with others. But I’ll always remind clients, don’t forget to get out and go beyond the door! That hasn’t always been possible during the pandemic but hopefully meeting people in-person will become easier.”

Exchanging ideas

“Even as a coach with an interest in sustainability, I have joined a group called the Climate Coaching Alliance. Members get together to consider our roles as coaches and look at how we can positively contribute to sustainability. Creating connections always opens up possibilities and diversity always leads to innovation. So that’s why I encourage expat partners to meet people. You’ll see ways that you can make a difference, whether you want to set up a business, join the workforce, or just live a more sustainable lifestyle,” says Camilla.

Connecting with nature

Camilla also extols the virtues of connecting with nature as much as possible. “This year, video calls have become the norm, but we don’t have to sit talking at our desks, do we? Sometimes I suggest having a ‘walk and talk’ with clients. I’ll go to the park while they stroll through green space or alongside a river, wherever is accessible. Resources can always be sent later by email,” adds Camilla. “If sustainability is a focus for you, getting to know the local environment and connecting with nature will also open your mind.”

Photo: Camilla Degerth

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.

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