When an expatriate realizes that his/her time abroad did not go very well, the number one cause is the relationship with a spouse. An astounding 49% of expats get divorced. This can be partially explained by the fact that the spouse needs to put his/her career on hold and move to another country. In Brazil, for instance, spouses of expats don’t have automatically a work permit.
That’s why we’d like to give you a few options on how to best handle spending time living abroad with your loved one.
Start by asking yourself what you’d like to do, and develop your forgotten passions and hobbies:
When you were working back home, your job might have taken center stage. Maybe you didn’t have the time or the patience to live a healthy lifestyle. In Brazil, several condomínios (residences) have a gym – sometimes even a swimming pool. If your building does not, there are gyms everywhere! In Brazil, the second-biggest market in the world for gyms, people place a lot of importance on taking care of their bodies. Take this opportunity to reconnect with a healthier lifestyle!
You wanted to be an artist when you were a kid? Good news: Brazil is a country where culture and art are very important. You’ll probably notice this right away by the sheer number of street artists, musicians and museums. Take the time to sign up for an art class. In larger cities like São Paulo, most neighborhoods have an SESC – it’s a center that offers both sports facilities and cultural activities. At the SESC, you can find swimming pools, theaters, gyms, and art classes.
As an expat you’ll likely travel a lot, so why not try writing a blog with recommendations for other expats? Sometimes, it’s our hobbies that can become full-time jobs!
Learn A New Language:
The best way to learn a new language is through immersion and speaking to locals. Learn Portuguese! Brazilians are a friendly and welcoming people; they are easy to befriend, but you’ll need to learn Portuguese. Moreover, the number of people who speak Portuguese keeps increasing. It’s one of the official languages in worldwide organizations such as the Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games, or the UN.
It is quite easy to enter a post-graduate university program in Brazil. There also are specialized short programs like project management, where you demonstrate your skills as a group manager to lead a project.
Causes You Support:
There are many NGOs or like-minded projects in Brazil, and they need volunteers. Helping out just a few days a week will enable you to meet different people, make new friends, give back to society, andpractice your Portuguese. You could also take on some responsibilities in these organizations and improve your résumé.
Find Work or Create Your Own Company:
Most of the time, the husbands and wives of expats don’t have a work permit. However, you could work on developing your professional network instead by landing interviews and applying for a working visa. Already being located in Brazil could be a huge advantage when compared with other candidates for expatriation. While it depends on your nationality, you will generally be able to work after living in Brazil for four years.
You can also create your own business, or even invest in a local company. If you have the money to invest and a good business project, it is possible to apply for something called an investor’s visa.
The most important thing is to frame your expatriation as an incredible opportunity, even if your career has been put on pause. Enjoy your stay in Brazil, take advantage of the local culture, and most of all, have fun!Being an expat wife or husband is not an easy task, and unlike most people think your life can quickly become boring. Marie Doremus tells you all there is to know not to waste your time in Brazil.
Article written in collaboration with Plus55 and Justin Ruivo