Gret in Lilongwe: “The people there are so kind and giving”

  • Gret in Lilongwe
  • Gret in Lilongwe
  • Gret in Lilongwe
Interview
Published 2016-09-01 00:00

Gret comes from Northern Virginia. Tired of his life back in the US, he decided to move to Malawi three years ago. He now teaches Maths in an international school in Lilongwe.

Where are you from, Gret, and what are you doing nowadays?

I was born and raised in Northern Virginia. I went to a private school my whole life and graduated from Grove City College with a degree in entrepreneurship. After that, I started a boring desk job where I had good pay and promotion opportunity, but I just wasn’t happy. So I decided to make a change and moved to Malawi.

Why did you choose to expatriate to Malawi?

I felt replaceable at my desk job and knew that I was capable of making a bigger impact. I had always wanted to travel the world and help people, so when the opportunity came up to live in Malawi, I seized it.

As a US expat, what where the procedures you had to follow to move there?

All the usual stuff: vaccines, malaria pills, residential permits.

How long have you been in the country?

Gret in Lilongwe

It's been three years now.

What has attracted you to Lilongwe?

I originally went over there to teach Maths, but I've stayed because I love the people.

What has surprised you the most at your arrival?

I was surprised by how many amenities Malawi had. I was naive in thinking that everyone lived in huts with no electricity. But actually, there are grocery stores, hot water and even wifi in some places.

What are the local labor market's features? Is it easy for an expat to find a job there?

I would recommend finding a job before moving over. It's not the best strategy to show up and look for a job.

How do you find the local lifestyle?

It's very diverse. Expat culture and local culture are often segregated.

Have you been able to adapt yourself to the country and to its society?

Gret in Lilongwe

Yes! I love living here now. It's really helped to have good contacts and friends who can help me out when I'm in a pinch.

What does your every day life look like in Lilongwe?

Everyday is different! Lately, I’ve been overseeing the construction of an all-girls school for which I am fund-raising for through my Youtube channel. I also have a podcast and a blog that I'm continuously working on.

What is your opinion on the cost of living in Lilongwe? Is it easy for an expat to live there?

The cost of living is extremely low. I live off of $600 per month most of the time.

How do you spend your leisure time?

Lately, I've been developing a brand new giving platform for expats to use to raise money for urgent needs around them. It's available in the app store.

Your favorite local dishes?

Nsima.

What do you like the most about Malawi?

Gret in Lilongwe

Malawi is called “The warm heart of Africa”, and for good reason. The people there are so kind and giving. I’ve loved living there because the Malawians have made it a great experience for me.

What do you miss the most about your home country?

Taco Bell!

Would you like to give any advice to soon-to-be expatriates in Malawi?

The experience will be tough, there’s no doubt about that, but it will be so worth it. You will change and grow as a person even faster than you ever have before in your life.

What has motivated you to write your blog “Math in Malawi”? How does it help?

I wanted to keep everyone back home in-the-loop of what I was up to.

What are your plans for the future?

I’m currently working on an app called DonorSee that is available in the app store. It allows donors to see where their donations go.