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Sometimes when you have a dream, you have no idea how it can affect people and yourselves. This is a good summary of how we feel with this 3rd anniversary issue of Black Expat. What originally started as a cool idea between co-editor Adrianne George and myself has rapidly blossomed into a quarterly magazine from which we have received hundreds of comments and emails from dedicated readers.

 

I originally started the magazine drawing on experiences living in Beijing studying Mandarin for a semester. I found it interesting how many other expat groups such as British, Germans, Aussies, Koreans, Israelis, etc. (though Americans not as much) had large communities and well-organized networking and social groups. Also, in their countries or societies, living abroad was not only accepted but encouraged. I contrasted this with what I often saw back home where Americans don’t travel abroad much and Black Americans are no exception. A 2005 study by the Institute for International Education showed that while Black Americans are 14% of the higher education population, they are only 4% of the US study abroad participants.

So I decided to write about my story online somehow and after running into Adrianne from a fortuitous reference, we were able to make a quarterly magazine out of it. Adrianne had deep contacts in Europe and I had deep contacts in Asia so we were able to deftly put together many issues full of articles on expats from a wide swath of the world. Around our first anniversary, we were blessed to have Derek McCullough join us as a webmaster and creative designer. His skills helped bring what was once a PDF to the excellent website it is now.

From the outset, though the magazine decided to broaden its scope from just Americans to those in other countries from Brits of West Indian ancestry to Africans living in Scandinavia. In addition, while a key hope of the magazine has always been to encourage Blacks of all ages and backgrounds to travel and live abroad, we have not pushed the theme of ‘just hang out with Black people’ wherever you go. The social support and networking can often be valuable, especially in those countries with a small expat population, however we have emphasized that people go beyond the tourist mentality and embrace the local culture and learn the local language. Like any country, there may be customs which seem strange or at times even offensive, weird food, and difficulty in learning a language however in the end it is eminently worth it. Many expats get sucked into the ‘expat bubble’ only talking to or socializing with people just like them. We encourage you to look beyond and let the experience transform you and change your life.

 

In this 3rd anniversary issue, we celebrate the stories of those in the snowy north—Scandinavia specifically. There stories are a tribute to commitment and perseverance to make these countries their home.

First, Whitney discusses her courageous decision to drop everything and move to Europe and while this was ultimately satisfying, her tips on hard learned lessons will help those contemplating a similar move.

Claire Requa – Discusses living in Denmark and raising a family as well as her burgeoning furniture design business.

Lande Anjous-Zygmunt discusses living in Lund Sweden and her business at modernafricanart.com

Having moved there as an expat for business, Roland Williams brings his valuable perspectives on Sweden and learning the language, business etiquette, and social conventions.

Herta Boakye-Yiadom’s life is a banner for modern globalization having been born in Kumasi, Ghana, raised in Kenya and finally settling in Gothenburg, Sweden with her husband.

Durban, South Africa gets a lot less snow than Oslo! However, Laverne Wyatt-Skriubakken tells us how she has made the transition and integrated her African culture with that of her Norwegian husband’s both in family life and career.

Black in the Day this month chronicles the history of Black expatriates in Scandinavia over the past 100 years which have spanned adventurers, Vietnam War deserters, and American ambassadors.

 

As the year comes to a close we would like to remind you of the generous offer from Luxe City Guides to you: 5 Black Expat readers will be able to choose a Luxe City Guide of their choice. Get the details here: Luxe City Guide Giveaway!

 

Thanks again for reading and as always your feedback is welcome!

 

Reginald Smith, Editor

 

 

 

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