Where are you from, Isabel, and what are you doing nowadays?
I come from Sonora, Mexico. I was a marketing manager at a real state company. Now, I am an almost MBA graduate, a blogger and the editor/copywriter/junior consultant at a Media & Communications Consultancy agency in Slovenia.
Why did you choose to expatriate to Slovenia?
Because of a nice Slovenian boy.
As a Mexican national, what where the procedures you had to follow to move there?
I had to produce a strange paper to the European Union stating that I was an individual acting upon my free will. It's something you don't need in Mexico because you automatically turn into an autonomous person once you turn 18.
How long have you been in the country?
I have been living here for almost 2 years. I live in a small town in the Dolenska Region.
What has surprised you the most at your arrival?
The hospitality and breathtaking scenery!
Was it difficult to find accommodation there? What are the types of accommodation which are available there?
It was very tough as the real state business is very small and thus prices are very high. People usually inherit land or still live with their parents.
What are the local labor market's features? Is it easy for an expat to find a job there?
I think it will depend on your credentials and aspirations, but knowing people is crucial, as well as speaking the language.
How do you find the Slovenian lifestyle?
It's very quiet compared to Mexico and even though it is very community-oriented, meeting with friends is something that you need to schedule with time. In Mexico, we tend to be more spontaneous and passionate.
Have you been able to adapt yourself to the country and to its society?
In some aspects, but not completely. I can't contextualize as fast as I wish, and some behaviors are hard to understand, which I guess is true for any culture. Sometimes, we don't even know if what we are doing is the right thing or not, but because everyone else does it in such way, we think it is right.
What does your every day life look like in Slovenia?
Quite busy, but mostly because I commute to go everywhere. When you live in a small town, you really need a car to move around and you just can't spontaneously decide to go any where without a means for transportation. As the transport system is not that efficient, things can get complicated.
Any particular experience in the country you would like to share with us?
One of my popular posts covers my biggest cultural shock in Slovenia. You can check it out on my blog.
What is your opinion on the cost of living in Slovenia? Is it easy for an expat to live there?
Compared to other European countries, I guess is cheaper, but per square meter, it is much more costly and comparable to cities like in Austria which have a bigger population and higher GDP per capita.
How do you spend your leisure time?
Exploring the nature! It's something I never thought I would enjoy, but everybody here in Slovenia loves hiking and the outdoors.
Your favorite local dishes?
Pražen krompir, it is a potato casserole that takes a lot to make but it is so delicious!
What do you like the most about the country?
Although it is a small country, there are lots of things to do and places to explore!
What do you miss the most about your home country?
The Latin American warmth, the hugs and kisses when you greet someone you know or haven't seen in a while. How people try to make you laugh or smile even if it is just small talk, how we find the silver lining or punch line on any awkward or unjust situation, the 5-minute conversations that give you a full recap of their lives, struggles, family, and passions. How people will always try to help you, even when you are a stranger on the street. But the thing I miss the most is the contagious happiness everywhere and in everyone you know, even when and despite things being less than perfect.
Would you like to give any advice to soon-to-be expatriates in Slovenia?
Observe more than you talk and try to always smile, even if you don't know the language. People will gladly assist you if you know you are at least are trying to be respectful.
What are your plans for the future?
Finishing my masters and launch my digital marketing service company.