Black man in open water making a peace sign with his hand.

The Expat Files: Eric Jamarr Black

 

Name: Eric Jamarr Black

Where you can find Eric Jamarr : Website & Instagram.

Nationality: American

Current Host Country: Colombia

Previous Locations: Finland, South Africa, United States

Years Abroad: 

Years in Current Location: 6

Occupation: Education and Tourism

800 X 530 Eric Jamar (1)

 

I moved to my current country because: An ESL teaching fellowship opportunity in Cali, Colombia presented itself at a time when I was in-between jobs and yearning for a position that would allow international travel or living. I returned to the USA after the year-long program finished but still longed for the atmosphere I´d experienced in Cali. In fact, I made it a point to visit Colombia each of the two years I didn’t reside there. Eventually, I used my recent experience and knowledge of Cali to inform my permanent move back here and secure a teaching job at a private institution. I also founded a startup tour company called Hola Cali.

The three things you need to make it here is:

1. Patience – things will not always happen as fast as you would like them too nor as described by individuals you come in contact with. 2. Ability to balance having an open mind but also boundaries – both are necessary for avoiding negativity, potentially unpleasant interactions and inconsistencies. 3. Advanced level of Spanish – It’s absolutely necessary in order to navigate life here and understand context and nuances.

The Best thing about living in my host country has been:
The access I have to nature and national travel. Apart from having some of the most phenomenal landscapes I’ve seen in my life, generally-speaking Colombia is one of the most biodiverse places on earth. We have mountains, beaches, rivers, jungles and all types of exotic vegetation. Not to mention, it's easy and quite affordable to travel within the country.

 

My favorite experience living here has been…Overall, my favorite experience has simply been being here, learning Spanish and seeing my growth over the years in terms of integrating into both my educational community and my social community. Other than that, I was recently able to mark travelling to the Amazon off my bucket list and went swimming in the Amazon river.

If you’re considering living here, you need to leave this at home : I would leave winter clothes and any flashy jewelry at home. Also, leave behind any sense of entitlement or nationalist arrogance.

Black Man facing camera on Boat with water in the background

The biggest lesson I learned as an expat is...
Surrender fear of the unknown and go for it. Always be alert and have a back up plan but be easy-going enough to take things as they come.

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