About - ExpatJoy

ExpatJoy - Passionate Global Living with Sandra Bissell


My name is Sandra Bissell.

I have been blessed with the opportunity to live as an expatriate for more than 2 decades.

Some of my passions are people, my family, good conversations, traveling, ethnic food, dancing and Capoeira, an Afro-Brazilian-Martial-Art-Dance.

Originally from the countryside of São Paulo state, in Brazil, I have enjoyed life in Kanagawa and Aichi prefectures, in Japan, Boston, San Diego and Stamford cities, in the United States,  São Paulo, Brazil,  as an expatriate in my own country,  Zurich – Switzerland, Marseille – France and most recently living in the suburbs of Washington D.C., in the United States.

As you may guess, I feel the most comfortable within the international community.

But, this hasn’t always been true!

As a Japanese-Italian-Brazilian, with some Portuguese blood, one might expect that navigating through the world should have been easy.

That was not the case.

I started this global life as a non-skilled immigrant, working in a factory in Japan as I learned Japanese and English, and in retrospect, international living skills.

I had decided to live in Japan for a few years to save money for college and learn languages.

Due to my maternal Japanese grandparents, I was able to legally work in Japan, and found a job even before I left São Paulo. My new employers paid for my trip expenses, therefore guaranteeing that I would stay with them for a while. This arrangement benefited both parties, as I couldn’t have paid for the trip myself.

My new company, Fuji Products, picked me up at the airport, provided dormitory facilities and transportation to and from work – a perfect way to arrive at a new place when alone and unable to speak the local language.

Initially, I struggled with my pride to have to work in a low-level job. In my native culture, it was easy for me to secure more qualified positions, and having to work with my hands on the factory floors really hit me hard.

This is where the joy comes in. Life always provides the necessary answers if one keeps on searching.  And with the search comes a certain knowledge that when shared, multiplies.

The skills I learned during those initial hard days in Japan kept on serving me, as I moved from one continent to the other.

ExpatJoy Blog is a venue to share the knowledge I gained over the years with an ever-growing expatriate community.

My personal mission is to inspire you and me to live a passionate global life.

I will do this by sharing tested skills used by successful expatriates, pass along research being done on topics such as cultural shock, cultural adaptation, third culture kids and adults, transitional coaching skills, repatriation, among others.

As an avid life student, I have noticed, and I’m sure you have as well, that in any situation there are people who succeed – people who find joy.

I invite you to take this journey with me, and find out what makes an ExpatJoy person.

Thanks for joining me!

Sandra earned a Bachelor of Science in Communications from Emerson College (Boston – USA)  along with post-graduate studies in Teaching English to Speakers of other Languages at the University of California (UCSD). She is an iPEC (The Institute of Professional Excellence in Coaching) Certified Professional Coach and an Energy Leadership Index Master Practitioner ™ .

Hugs, Sandra


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