American Expat Living in Botswana - Interview with Tamara

Published: 13 Aug at 9 AM
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Filed: Interviews,Botswana
Tamara is currently a Peace Corps Local Government Capacity Building volunteer serving in Botswana. She enjoys traveling, cooking watching HBO's GIRLS and the Walking Dead.
She also enjoys learning how to build Wordpress blogs. She left the hectic life as a research assistant in 2010 to work in South Korea, then Spain, and now Botswana. Tamara's expat blog is called The Traveling Natural (see listing here)

Visit el Retiro park in Madrid. It is stunning!
Visit el Retiro park in Madrid. It is stunning!

Here's the interview with Tamara...

Where are you originally from?
Connecticut by way of Jamaica

In which country and city are you living now?

How long have you lived in Botswana and how long are you planning to stay?
I've only been in Botswana for four days but most recently lived in Puertollano, Spain. I plan on staying in Botswana for 27 months.

Sun set in old town Toledo. Another great place to visit for a day trip.
Sun set in old town Toledo. Another great place to visit for a day trip.
Why did you move to Botswana and what do you do?
I moved to Botswana with the U.S. Peace Corps.

Did you bring family with you?
No, just me.

How did you find the transition to living in a foreign country?
Since this is the 3 or 4th country I've lived in, the transition hasn't been so bad. I find I adjust fairly well.

Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?
It's easy making friends in countries with tons of expats, for example South Korea. Whereas living in a small town in Spain, I had to rely on bettering my language skills in order to make more friends. The pool of English speakers was really small in my town, so I learned some Spanish.

Molino or
Molino or "wind mills" in Consuega.
What are the best things to do in the area; anything to recommend to future expats?
I'll talk about Spain since I just left in June and have been in Botswana for less than a week. In Puertollano, there are not as many things to do, as in Madrid or Cordoba. Spain has such a variety of fun sites to take in and neighborhoods to explore, there really is something for everyone. It's quite hard to give recommendations since it's based of my preferences.

What do you enjoy most about living in Botswana?
I loved the slower pace life in Puertollano. There is also a RENFE train line that will take you to many places across Spain.

How does the cost of living in Botswana compare to home?
The cost of living in Puertollano was much, much cheaper than say, Barcelona or Madrid. And cheaper than the larger cities in Connecticut. My rent for a nice 1-bedroom apartment in the center of town was about 300 euros so around $400.

Mezquita–Catedral in Córdoba
Mezquita–Catedral in Córdoba
What negatives, if any, are there to living in Botswana?
The culture is very family oriented which is great. But it can be lonely at times until you meet friends and are invited to spend time with them. Banking and signing up for internet may be different and it can be really frustrating.

If you could pick one piece of advice to anyone moving to Botswana, what would it be?
Moving to Spain...I would say to learn some Spanish. Also to make a friend who can help you with banking or house hunting if you aren't great with the language.

What has been the hardest aspect to your expat experience so far?
Maybe missing family engagements or welcoming new babies and such back home.

When you finally return home, how do you think you'll cope with repatriation?
Oh dear... I don't even want to think about that ha ha.

Paella in Barcelona at a cooking Class with Cook & Taste. It was so much fun!
Paella in Barcelona at a cooking Class with Cook & Taste. It was so much fun!
What are your top 5 expat tips for anyone following in your footsteps?
  1. Be OK with not know what might happen next.
  2. Even if it is uncomfortable because of language barriers, never stop trying to integrate into your new community.
  3. Smile and say thank you (in said language). You would be surprised the amount of doors a smile can open.
  4. Having a bad day remember "This too shall pass".
  5. Keep all your receipts for big purchases.
Tell us a bit about your own expat blog.
My blog documents my past and current travels. It's more of a lifestyle blog with advice for travel, working abroad and healthy living.

How can you be contacted for further advice to future expats coming to your area?
You can actually search for my blog name "the TravelingNatural" on Facebook!

About the author

Expat Blog ListingTamara is an American expat living in Botswana. Blog description: Travel and advice blog!
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