Our vision at Expat EASE is to empower expats by supporting them through the full life cycle of their time in Ethiopia. Our holistic approach includes a range of professional expat support services, training, workshops, and events. These include practical support as you prepare for your transition to Ethiopia, support upon arrival, connection into a community, and cultural training and support to face the challenges of expatriate life. We have identified six phases that people go through as they transition into a new culture, though the experiences and the length of time vary for everyone. These six phases, PRAYER, just like the literal practice of prayer, take time and personal investment.
The planning and process of a major move are more than buying tickets and packing. What documents do you need to receive your work permit and residency? What do you need to be able to drive in the country where you are going? What are schools and housing like? Where can you shop and what is available? What things do I need to bring with me? There are so many things to be ready for!
This is what you have been working towards and now you are ready to go. Airport pick-up and finding a place to live, a school for your children, a place of worship, and where to shop. There is so much to be done when relocating to Ethiopia and figuring it out is much easier with someone to support you.
The adjustment phase is like the onboarding process at a new job. Orientation to feel comfortable in your new surroundings, training to understand the culture and expectations, and regular check-ins to see how you are doing.
The honeymoon period is now over and reality sets in. For some people this is a yearning for ‘home’, their family, favourite foods, and the familiarities of life as it used to be. For others it is more defined by frustrations, when things don’t go right, and life is just so much more complicated than you expected.
Finally you feel at home. Your routines are in place, you can get around on your own, and you know the basics of life in your new location. Building community and connections with other expats in Ethiopia keeps you focused and settled.
Whether you are going on holidays, sabbatical, furlough, have kids leaving home for college, or are moving on to a new opportunity in another country, it is great to reflect on this journey before opening a new chapter in your life.
Who We Are
Hannele grew up in Ethiopia with her German/Finnish parents. She lived in Ethiopia until the age of 18 and then moved to the UK. She and her South African/Italian husband Marc returned to Ethiopia with their family in 2009. While in Ethiopia, Hannele has worked in HR at an international school and continues to work in expatriate support for an NGO. She is also the President of the global organization Families in Global Transition. Hannele and Marc have four daughters, three of whom live at home and one heading to university in the UK.
Gail is a Canadian citizen who immigrated from the Netherlands to Canada as a child. She grew up in Canada and moved to Finland following her schooling, where she met her Ethiopian husband Yonas. In 1995 Gail moved to Ethiopia as a young mom and has lived most of her adult life in Ethiopia. Gail was the Program Director for an American adoption agency for 15 years and worked as the government relations officer of an international school. Gail and Yonas have four grown children who now live in Canada, Australia, and the Seychelles.