Expat Interview With Katie - British Expat in Israel

Published: 10 Apr at 9 AM
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Filed: Interviews,Israel
Katie left London and her TV career 8 years ago to move to Israel, the home of her husband. With little clue as to what she was getting into she was ready for adventure and more than a little unprepared for this whole new world. Her blog is a lighthearted and non political view of her life there; through turning 40, homesickness, the language, the culture and coping with extreme parenting of three very young children in arguably the most infamous country in the world, the Holy Land. Katie's expat blog is called 39 and Counting (see listing here)

Meet Katie - British expat living in Israel
Meet Katie - British expat living in Israel

Here's the interview with Katie...


Where are you originally from?
I am from a small town in Cheshire in middle England.

In which country and city are you living now?
I live in Israel in a town outside of Tel Aviv

How long have you lived here and how long are you planning to stay?
I have lived in Israel for 8 years, firstly in Tel Aviv and since children in suburbia. I always think I will leave but haven't so far.

Why did you move and what do you do?
I moved for love - aah. My husband is Israeli and after many years outside of Israel he wanted to come home and I was happy to try something new. I worked in TV in the UK and in Israel.

Did you bring family with you?
Just hubby and me, freshly married. The children came later.

Jerusalem, city of a 1000 arguments
Jerusalem, city of a 1000 arguments
How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
Hard, I am still transitioning. Israel is very Western but the language and culture has been a big hurdle.

Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
It was hard to make female Israeli friends to start with, now some of my best friends are Israeli girls, perhaps it was the language barrier or the cultural differences. Now I also have a very small hardcore group of British friends, mostly made through work. As my husband is Israeli most of our friends in the early days and now, are his friends and their partners.

What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
The beach is fantastic, young and cool in Tel Aviv, more family oriented to the north and south. The natural beauty of Israel in spring time is quite breathtaking and it's a very outdoor life so trekking or exploring on the weekend is the norm. A visit to Jerusalem is a must, no matter how many times you visit you always see or experience something new, however it can be sensory overload so a few short trips rather than a few consecutive days is my recommendation. Obviously the Dead Sea and the desert and if you have the energy then a crazy few days in the heat of Eilat.

What do you enjoy most about living here?
The weather, the refreshing honesty and lack of pretence of the people and the Mediterranean

Food glorious food. You're never too far from a pitta.
Food glorious food. You're never too far from a pitta.
How does the cost of living compare to home?
It used to be much cheaper but recent events in the UK means that life in sterling terms here is very very high. For Israelis the cost of living is huge because salaries are not as high as the UK and house prices, food costs etc are comparable or higher in Israel.

What negatives, if any, are there to living here?
Where do I start? Obviously the security situation is the biggest problem: Getting security checked everywhere takes some getting used to, armed guards at schools, nurseries and all public places; Threats of terrorism; Being surrounded by not overly friendly neighbours; Fear over personal safety in times of conflict; Having to constantly reassure family and friends that its not as bad as it looks on the news and feeling political all the time, even if you are not.

If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving here, what would it be?
Have a thick skin.

Israel in bloom
Israel in bloom
What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
Times of conflict.

When you finally return home, how do you think you'll cope with repatriation?
If I return home I think it will be very very hard. In Israel I feel very British but when I am in Britain I know I have become slightly Israeli.

What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
  1. Make sure you have your papers in order before arriving - it's costly and very long winded once you are here.
  2. Have a basic understanding of the language.
  3. Don't expect it to be all desert and camels.
  4. Bring bags and bags of patience.
  5. Eat out a lot. The food here, even in the most unassuming shack is amazing.


Jaffa & Tel Aviv, the old and the new
Jaffa & Tel Aviv, the old and the new
Tell us a bit about your own expat blog.
My blog recounts my experiences in Israel, as a foreigner, as a mother of 3 very young children and as someone who hasn't quite got her head around not being 25 anymore.

How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
Through my blog or through twitter @katiedz39

Katie blogs at http://katiedz.wordpress.com/ which we recommend a quick visit if you haven't been already. 39 and Counting has an ExpatsBlog.com listing here so add a review if you like! If you appreciated this interview with Katie, please also drop her a quick comment below.
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Comments » There is 1 comment

Geoff Short wrote 3 years ago:

very interesting read.

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