Life of a single expat mum in Mexico

Expat interviews
  • expat in Mexico
Published on 2021-11-19 at 05:57 by Veedushi
Roxana has had wanderlust since a very young age. While Zanzibar has been the land of her dreams, she finally ended up in Mexico after staying in New York. A single expat mum, she keeps herself busy in taking care of her daughter and an educational initiative dedicated to making linguistic education accessible for marginalized communities. 

Can you please introduce yourself and tell us about your background?

I am a child of immigrants and always had an innate curiosity about other cultures and travel, so this led me to want to write and travel.

What made you want to leave New York?

I wanted to travel and own a home, and New York was just too expensive for all of these things to happen.

I decided that it was time to pay attention to the Wanderlust gene ignited since I was 12 years old, wanting to visit a magical-sounding place called Zanzibar, so after university, I went to London. Not quite Zanzibar, but it was outside of the US and a soft landing because of the UK being a former colonizer of Sierra Leone and The Gambia, where my family hails from. I had loads of relatives that would ensure me having a good time in London. I went on a BUNAC visa and worked for various organizations during my stay in London. I was also able to spend time in France, where I also have family.

I have also had international jobs that have led me to the Italian Senate and the Parliament in Ghana, so Mexico is not my first rodeo.

What brought you to Mexico?

I wanted to relocate to The Gambia to live, but my cousin there who was helping me passed away suddenly, so I had to pivot. My daughter had been learning Spanish since she was an infant through programs, but I truly wanted her to be fluent in the language. As linguists state, one of the best ways to become fluent in a new language is by immersion, so I decided that living in a country with the Spanish language was necessary. Mexico was the obvious choice for so many reasons.

Geographically, Mexico is close to the US. Economically, the cost of living here affords a good quality of life for many foreigners, and as a result, I was able to take advantage of that for myself and my daughter.

What were the main challenges you had to face on moving to Mexico? How did you overcome them?

The challenges were mainly my daughter adjusting to school and the language barrier. In addition, there was bullying that was not addressed by the school staff, and it made me remove her from the school.
The pursuit of the English language is also another challenge that I have experienced here. A great deal of resources/time/marketing/energy is dedicated to teaching English as a get rich quick scheme on the part of private schools. Now what I have observed as an educator here and parent is that schools are not well equipped to provide adequate resources to develop their teachers' skill set so that they are indeed qualified to teach English as a Second Language (ESL). This, in turn, does not have the student's best interest in mind, and many do not develop the language for practical use.

Talk to us about your educational initiative dedicated to making linguistic education accessible for marginalized communities. What were your motivations, and how is it going so far?

I have my own educational initiative called The Bangura Insitute dedicated to raising the profile of Linguistic Education by amassing a growing network of ESL educators who can collaborate on best practices in linguistic education. The goal is to equip ESL teachers and to provide them with better opportunities for their educational careers.

Did the pandemic have an impact on your professional and social life as an expat?

Covid was/is impactful because I, like many others, had to pivot in order to adjust to this new Remote Normal. It was during the early days of the pandemic that my initiative came to fruition, and I started to strategize, market, seek partnerships, write courses and recruit teachers. Before the pandemic, I was working at an international school that wanted to give me a Motown deal, and by that, I mean they wanted me to create a course and not get any credit for it. I told them that it was my work and my copyright. Eventually, we decided to part ways.

Covid has definitely impacted us socially. We no longer attend any house parties or participate in public events, so in that regard, we are a bit isolated.

What does the daily life of a single expat mom in Mexico look like?

My life is pretty routine. I am an avid gym rat, so I start my day at 5 am by walking to my Crossfit class, then I come home, clean up. I chat with my daughter about her school day and I create content for my educational initiative and blog.

What do you like the most about Mexico?

I just like the peace that I have found here. Due to the much lower cost of living, I do not have to keep up financially. I have no debt outside of rent, utilities, food, transport, and my daughter's education. This has allowed me to be more present for my daughter. We spend valuable time together, and we both love that.

What do you miss the most from your home country?

I miss my family, friends, and particular food from the US, and that is about it.

Is there any advice you would like to give to anyone, especially single moms, who would like to move abroad?

I tell anyone that they should surround themselves with people who will support their wanting to move abroad. People who are living abroad already or who have lived abroad will be their best allies and advisors. I would not listen to naysayers. There is failure in never even trying, so even if you return to your home country, at least you made an effort to try living abroad, and there is success in that.

Where do you see yourself in the five coming years?

I see myself having more Spa Days and doing any and everything to maintain my wellness while also supporting my daughter as she becomes a young adult.

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