Arts and Culture

Tips for the modern filipina on how to thrive abroad

Lai S. Reyes - The Philippine Star
Tips for the modern filipina on how to thrive abroad
Donna Avellana-Kunzler is an overseas fabulous Pinay who has spent almost 20 years abroad with a successful career in finance.

MANILA, Philippines — Around the world, careers are being put on hold as companies tighten their belts amid the pandemic. Still, there are Filipinos eager to leave the country to seek better lives abroad.

While travel bans are still in effect, now is the best time to think things over. Is it still worth it to move overseas when a lot of OFWs are losing their lives and jobs because of the coronavirus? Are you willing to give up your (American) dream without putting up a good fight? If you’re moving overseas, do you know how to plan your move? Where do you start?

Ah, with the excitement comes trepidation.

Well, if you’re one of the modern and professional Filipinas determined to succeed abroad against all odds, there’s a new book that’s written with you in mind — The Overseas Fabulous Pinay: A Modern Filipina’s Guide on How to Thrive Abroad.

Written by Donna Avellana-Kunzler, an overseas fabulous Pinay who has spent almost 20 years abroad with a successful career in finance, the book is a comprehensive guide on how to survive life abroad — from planning an overseas move to integrating in one’s host country.

Her many adventures and misadventures across the world — having lived across three continents, four countries and five cities — inspired her to write this guidebook with the hope of empowering her fellow Pinays to conquer the world like she did.

A native of Cavite, Donna has an accounting degree from De La Salle University and is a certified public accountant (CPA). She is currently taking a post-graduate degree in Strategy and Innovation in Said Business School, University of Oxford.

An Information Technology auditor/consultant for most of her career, she has worked for E&Y and Singapore Airlines in Singapore; and PwC in the Philippines, US, UK and Switzerland.

“Through my book, I want to inspire and uplift the image of Overseas Filipina Women (OFW) by being a role model and to prove that living abroad can be an enlightening and rewarding experience,” says Donna, who works for a Swiss global company.

Just like most OFWs, Donna had her bouts with homesickness, has made wrong financial decisions and had a hard time adjusting/integrating to her new environment. But amid all these, she remained confident, sophisticated, resilient, kind and, yes, responsible.

This easy-to-read and engaging handbook is packed with useful tips (on how to beat homesickness, what you need to prioritize within the first six months of arriving in your destination, etc.), light-hearted anecdotes and detailed guides to help Filipina women survive life overseas and “be fabulous while doing it.”

“Living abroad is not easy. It takes a lot of sparkle and grit not just to survive but to actually thrive abroad,” notes Donna.

However, with determination, the right mindset and a little help from Donna, the Overseas Filipina Women (OFW) can live a happy and fabulous life while being away from their loved ones.

Donna shares tips on how to beat homesickness:

• Accept that “home” has moved.  When you move abroad, you are starting a life of your own and this includes building your new home. It’s good to condition yourself that the place where you will be is home.

• Stay connected. With the latest technology, it’s so much easier to see what your family and friends have been up to lately compared to before.

• Make new friends. It’s the relationships back home that we miss most. So the best way to stop longing for home is to make new friends! You can find them first in your new workplace. Attend social events after office hours. Ask for a work buddy. Join your company’s sports clubs.

• Be a kaladkarin! Who has time to emote when you are having the time of your life? If you get any invitation to go out, accept it. Don’t stay home and mope!

• Don’t limit yourself to Filipinos. This is your chance to learn about other cultures and your chance to promote Filipino culture.

"It’s all right to feel homesick every now and then, but don’t let it get in the way of enjoying your life. Back in the home you left behind, the reality is that life goes on without you. You must also move on and give your new life a chance to blossom," added Donna.

* * *

The Overseas Fabulous Pinay: A Modern Filipina’s Guide on How to Thrive Abroad by Donna Avellana Künzler is available at major online book retailers Barnes & Noble, Kobo and Amazon for P750.



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