Belarus Expat Living in USA, Interview With Jenya

Published: 7 Oct at 9 AM
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Filed: Interviews,USA
Jenya is a 27 year old expat from Belarus, that refers to herself as a girl that is “Born and raised in BY. Live and Love it in LA”. She moved to the USA right after graduating from a university and has been enjoying her California live since. In her blog I Discover America (see listing here), Jenya shares her unique and personal view of American customs, traditions and other aspects of a day to day life of a foreigner living in the United States.

Meet Jenya - Belarus Expat Living in USA
Meet Jenya - Belarus Expat Living in USA

Here's the interview with Jenya...

Where are you originally from?
I was born, grew up and graduated from a university in Belarus.

In which country and city are you living now?
Since 2007 I've been living in Los Angeles, California, USA

How long have you lived here and how long are you planning to stay?
I've been here since June 2007, which makes in 6 years and 3 months to date. I will see where life will take me, but for the near future I have no plans to move.

Why did you move and what do you do?
I moved after falling in love with this country when visiting it as a summer exchange student. I currently work as an international country coordinator for an online retailer.

Did you bring family with you?
Nope, my entire family is back home in Belarus. One day I hope they'll come to visit me here, but for now I am here by myself.

Another kind of boarding on the streets of LA
Another kind of boarding on the streets of LA
How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
It felt natural for me. I obviously had my moments of doubt and home-sickness and questioning whether I made the right choice, but for the most part the transition has been rather quick and smooth.

Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
A great quality people in America possess – they are super friendly. They may not instantly become your best friends, but I never felt unwelcome or unwanted.
I've been meeting people at work, on the streets, through common friends and lack of social participation has never really been a problem. When it comes to my closest friends here, they do share the same background and language as me. I can't say I was going around picking among people that come from the same place as me, it just happened so.

What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
I find Los Angeles to be a great place for anyone who is ready for a fresh start – people come here from all corners of this country and the world. I would recommend starting by learning a little about LA and where things you are mostly interested are. Do you want to live near your community? Are you thinking of going to school? Is Hollywood calling your name? If you have an idea of what you want, you should settle down closer to the area that would help you get around.
Best things to do – enjoy the beach and a nice weather, no matter what kind of activity you do, even of just walking and gazing around.

Palm trees and magnificent sky - Los Angeles staples
Palm trees and magnificent sky - Los Angeles staples
What do you enjoy most about living here?
The weather. The palm trees. And the fact that I AM living in the heart of California!

How does the cost of living compare to home?
You cannot compare an apple and a pear. It's a different economy, a different currency, a different approach in general.
LA rent on average is known to be not cheap, and many people have to live with the roommates till they meet someone and start a family.
You also need a car to get around and gas prices tend to go up regularly. So that's another spending in your budget. You could still find ways to make it work – just like millions of people in this city do.

What negatives, if any, are there to living here?
Distance. You can hardly walk from your house to the store, you have to drive. Driving becomes almost a second nature here, and a car is where you spend probably most of your daytime besides workplace.
Oh, and have you heard of LA traffic? It's not exaggerated at all.

If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving here, what would it be?
Be prepared to hear a dozen of “no” before you hear one “yes”. It's hard to surprise anyone in Los Angeles, it has everything, and people have been there, seen it, and done it. Don't let this discourage you. Know what you want, believe in yourself and go for your dream.

Surfing - a must do in Los Angeles
Surfing - a must do in Los Angeles
What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
The distance from home and family has definitely been the biggest challenge of all and it still is. Just thinking of the 11 hour difference and across the ocean distance makes it pretty hard, but that doesn't prevent me from enjoying my life to the fullest here.

What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
  1. learn English
  2. remember: everybody has accents, even American people
  3. get a driver's license
  4. open a bank account
  5. open a bank account
  6. don't blindly listen and follow everything you're told

A perfect sunset on the beach
A perfect sunset on the beach
Tell us a bit about your own expat blog.
I started “I Discover America” with the purpose of documenting my experience and how I was seeing some things when I just moved here. The longer I live here, the more normal and less shocking and surprising things seem to me. And this is exactly why I decide to post about those experiences, to look back and remember.
My blog is basically a collection of anecdotes and personal stories from my only and biased point of view. Each person probably has their own vision of things and won't always agree with what I might share, and I accept that as well.

How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
Leaving a comment on my blog or messaging me on social media (links are on my blog) are the best way to get in touch with me.

About the author

Expat Blog ListingJenya is a Belarusian expat living in USA. Blog description: A personal blog of a girl living her dream in California and sharing funny, strange, even shocking stories about life in USA from a foreigner's pov
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