EP. 14: Living Abroad Teaches Us the Power of Connections (Anna from Canada)

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–Anna Noakes Schulze is in the Expat Life Germany Facebook group, so if you have questions about her TEDx talk or her interview on the podcast, you can ask her there!–

“Be like a sunflower and turn to face the light. Whenever you find those special people who are positive, thoughtful and supportive, you stick to them like glue. Give them the place of honor in your life that they deserve.” 

That’s a quote from Anna Noakes Schulze in her TEDx talk, “Living Abroad Teaches Us the Power of Connections”. It’s an honest talk that comes from her experiences as a serial expat: she’s a Canadian who grew up as a Third Culture Kid, and who has since lived in the USA, Thailand, Ireland, and finally, Germany. 

At the core of her talk is the persistence of the connections that we make with other people. Very often we meet people who continue to shape our life, even if we live in difference cities, countries, or even continents to them. In her talk, she uses the metaphor of an invisible thread tying us to everyone with whom we have a connection. 

This is something that defines the expat experience, where we are often far away from families, and the friends we make might only be in our lives temporarily. And yet, they mean more to us than we might realize. I was fascinated by the idea, and so I invited Anna to come on my podcast – and she agreed! 

In our interview, Anna eloquently shares her wisdom and insight as she discusses the importance of connections, how to handle social media without letting its negativity impact your life, making friends with Germans, raising special needs children in Germany, and more. I highly recommend that you watch her TEDx talk below, and then listen to the podcast episode to learn about the incredible woman behind the talk:

Anna’s Website: https://www.sunflowerux.com/

Anna on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/annanoakesschulze/

The Chrome plugin Anna mentioned for managing your social media feed: Social Fixer

2 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I am an expatriate myself and I can appreciate and resonate with Anna’s experience. It takes courage and determination to live in another country. Anna demonstrated that she has both in spades! I cannot help but admire her spirit and tenacity in confronting and overcoming the difficulties that people face when they take the steps to integrate into a new country and culture. It is more so in her situation having to deal with the challenge of doing it with kids with special needs. One thing that I would like to add is that, in my experience, it takes more than learning the language to feel at home in another country. I felt comfortable only after I begun to understand the local jokes.

    Thank you Anna for sharing your experience. I am sure that many newcomers in Germany will benefit from both your TEDx talk and this interview. Also I am sure that you’ll be a wealth of information for those seeking directly your advice.

    1. Hi Alex, thank you for the comment. I couldn’t agree more with you about Anna’s courage and determination. Just interviewing her, I really got a feeling of what an amazing, inspirational person she is!

      And about the jokes: agreed! Once you start to understand the humor, as well as the cultural references they make, then you really start feeling “at home”.

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