While living in a small town in Germany, Henkel expat partner and Mexican national Norma Holbach has met some wonderful people. But she has also encountered a lot of stereotypical thinking.

Giving up her job
After meeting her German partner in Mexico, Norma gave up her job to move to his homeland over 10 years ago. After all three of her kids were born (including one set of twins) she told people in the local village she wanted to find work. “Why would you want to work?” they often said. “You have three children.” Norma believes that women in this area “don’t see work as a way to express and develop yourself.”

Rude and dismissive
When meeting other mothers at her kids’ school, she has also experienced more negative attitudes: “The first question they ask is often, ‘how old is your husband?’ as they think I married an old man for his money. When I say I have been to university and worked for 14 years, they just don’t believe me.” At a meeting with other parents, Norma, who speaks German, felt like her suggestions were ignored.

On the plus side
“Stereotyping is something I have to live with,” she says. “It bothers me, but on the other hand I have also met wonderful people here. I have two very good German friends, and there are sides to German society that I have grown to love.”

Henk Dam
Global Connection
Expat Partner Support

Adapted and edited from an original article, in Global Connection’s media for spouses (B2B subscription) and HR, on the subject of expat life.