Today’s Expat Spotlight interview is Alexandra Amaro, aka Ali la Loca in Maputo, Mozambique. She describes herself as a 21st Century Nomad.
- Name: Alexandra Amaro
- Occupation: International Development Consultant & Jewelry Designer
- Current Location: Maputo, Mozambique
- Originally From: New Mexico, USA
- Expat Locations: Italy, Brazil and Mozambique
- Website: ali2africa.blogspot.com
How did you become an expat, and why?
I come from an international family, so travel has been a way of life since I was a little girl. My mom and I would travel to Italy to spend summers with my grandmother, so I suppose the “expat life” has been familiar to me from the start.
When I was 15, I wanted to learn a new language and have an experience abroad that wasn’t centered around my family. I chose to do a year-long student exchange to Brazil, and it literally changed my life. I returned to Brazil for business school, and eventually, through a series of not-so-coincidences, ended up in Mozambique to work as a private sector development consultant with two of my old classmates. We first lived in Chimoio, then moved to Maputo. Overall I’ve been in Mozambique for just over 4.5 years, the most I’ve ever lived in any place since that fateful trip to Brazil back in high school.
Where else have you been an expat?
Italy, Brazil and Mozambique
Best piece of expat advice you’ve received?
Write a journal.
Best piece of expat advice you’d give?
Don’t let yourself become isolated, either from family and friends back home or in your new community. Make an effort to connect to people, be it virtually or over a coffee, every single day.
Favorite expat related web sites?
Are you planning or dreaming of a move? Are you going home instead? Where to and why?
My husband and I are getting ready to move to the San Francisco Bay Area in late 2009. It’s been a spectacular experience in Mozambique, but as it inevitably happens, we feel it’s time to move on to a new challenge.
Tell us more about what you do in your location?
I came to Mozambique as a private sector development consultant (read: self-employed, help clients write business plans, fundraise for project expansion, do strategy planning, etc.) with a serious jewelry making hobby on the side.
I’m leaving Mozambique as a serious jewelry designer with a business consulting and translating hobby on the side. 🙂
Would you recommend your current location to other expats? Does it rock or does it suck?
Maputo is fabulous, but it is *expensive*. Brush up on your Portuguese if you want to have a more meaningful experience.
What is the expat community like where you are?
Large, dominated by the NGO and Embassy crowds.
Thank you, Alexandra for participating in our Expat Spotlight! We wish you success and happiness in your current location, and wherever your dreams and business endeavors take you.