The Expatica team is comprised of people from all over the world, many of who are expats themselves. We understand your questions, your trials and tribulations, and all the challenges which come with growing new roots. But further than that, we share the goals to help bridge communities, foster open-mindedness, and devise sustainable ways of living locally while thinking globally.
Founder: Mark Welling
Mark has a long history as an entrepreneur. He founded Expatica in the early days of the internet as a platform to help expats feel at home in their new countries. Many things have changed since the start of Expatica; not only Expatica itself but the internet – and the entire world. His strong belief is that the world can evolve for the better when enough people take up the challenge to become positive change-makers. It is his mission to convince people that we, together, can create a better world for all.
Jedi Master: Hans Groen
After working with Expatica from 2008 to 2011, Hans rejoined the company after the summer of 2014. The co-director along with Mark, he also manages sales and ensures we’re stocked up on cookies. Hans is at the core of Expatica’s philosophy that the high quality of our content serves our audience and partners alike. He fosters a unique collaboration between sales and editorial to bring great added value and traffic to our partners without ever sacrificing the objectivity of the advice we provide. Hans is a big fan of sports, the environment, his family, and organizing brewery tours.
Editor in Chief: Marie-Charlotte Pezé
Marie has lived in many countries (France, the US, Australia) before settling in the Netherlands, and tried a few careers on for size – from filmmaking to finance – before finding her calling in journalism. She found the perfect home at Expatica, after working with Iamsterdam and publications such as Time Out, Télérama, and Le Figaro. Her greatest passion is people: those she loves, those she’s yet to meet, and those she hopes to help navigate this complicated world, even from a distance.
Managing Editor: Sophie Pettit
Born and raised in the UK, Sophie is an adventurous editor and journalist with a serious case of wanderlust. Before moving to the Netherlands, she spent eight years living in Hong Kong, heading up one of the city’s biggest lifestyle websites and exploring Southeast Asia at any given chance. Over the past decade, she has written for numerous lifestyle and travel publications including Time Out, Culture Trip, Localiiz, and Discovery. She now enjoys creating inspiring content to help Expatica readers live the expat life to the fullest.
Managing Editor: Magdalena Laas
Born to a language teacher and an airline pilot, Magdalena was destined to love languages, cultures, and travel. Before moving to the Netherlands, she grew up in South Africa but emigrated to Aotearoa (New Zealand) and lived in the UK. Her Dutch goal is to cycle while texting (apparently illegal!) and holding an umbrella. She relinquished childhood dreams of becoming a pilot to study psychology, political science, and English. After a stint as a counselor, being a creative soul, she directed and produced television documentaries. In the Netherlands, she returned to writing and photography. Magdalena gets the transient lifestyle and wants to ease the transition between countries for others.
Deputy Editor: Adam Nowek
Originally from Vancouver, Adam is an editor with interests ranging from urban design and digital nomads to disaster relief and modern conflict. Based in Amsterdam, he has plied his editorial trade with offices both big and small, including the United Nations, Pop-Up City, and Booking.com. After lengthy sojourns in Brussels and Hong Kong, Adam is always on the lookout for a city with cozy coworking spaces, edgy architecture, and, of course, local craft beer.
Senior Editor: Christian Lapper
Christian is well-versed in expanding his comfort zone, having lived in four countries – the UK, the US, South Korea, and Spain – before moving to the Netherlands. With a background in digital marketing, he wants to make the expat dream an accessible reality for people all over the world. When he’s not searching the Netherlands for the best Korean food, he’s busy perfecting the art of writing his own bio. Critics say he still has some way to go.
Senior Editor: Marvin Meintjies
In his 25 years as a journalist, Marvin has gone from cub reporter to news editor, title editor to foreign correspondent. He covered a variety of beats and traveled many places to bear witness in copy and pictures. He now enjoys cheering on his colleagues at the coal face of hard news and humanitarian journalism. From a distance, in comfort, and with a cold beer in hand. He considers himself lucky to have lived and worked in his native South Africa, London, Abu Dhabi, Berlin, and Amsterdam.
Editor: Sarah Fairman
After growing up in a small village in Derbyshire, England, Sarah was ready to explore the wider world. Her love of languages and other cultures has taken her to Russia, Canada, and Uzbekistan. Eventually, she moved to the Netherlands to study and forgot to leave. Before joining Expatica, she worked as a freelance writer, contributing to publications such as The Calvert Journal and Sentimental Journal. She enjoys learning all there is to know about languages and exploring new cities with friends.
Affiliate Manager: Farhad Rizwan
His career in digital partnerships provided Farhad with plenty of opportunities to see the world, with many international clients and colleagues. Traveling and experiencing different cultures pushed him to seek experiences outside of the UK, and now he resides in the Netherlands. Having worked with start-ups and name-brands alike, he strongly believes in ethical marketing practices for readers and brand partnerships. Our emphasis on these partnerships rather than plain revenue was one of his main motivations for joining the Expatica team.
Sales & Editorial Assistant: Benjamin Ng
As a second-generation Chinese immigrant growing up in London UK, Ben has spent his whole life mixing cultures. Having settled in The Netherlands, he now has to contest with a third unique culture in his household. It is from this that Ben has fostered his strong beliefs in cooperation, compassion, and tolerance, despite his aloof demeanor. His work behind the scenes is the glue that keeps Expatica sane. His main pastime is trying to get enough rest when his kids allow him to, which is never.
Partnership Manager: Elio Dedomenici
Born and raised in northwestern Italy, Elio started traveling very young with his family. A nature buff, he also loves to travel from his couch thanks to old novels. His wish is to contribute to the shift towards sustainability and ethical trade. His variety of work experiences in marketing and sales in Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands enable him to understand different realities, from small to large companies. He feels like meeting people from all over the world makes him a better person every day.
Senior Writer/Editor: Gary Buswell
Based in London, Gary has been freelancing for Expatica since 2016. He’s had various past lives as a community worker, a record store owner, and even a brief stint as a postman before pursuing a career as a writer/editor. A versatile writer, he enjoys getting stuck into social and political topics and has written for The Fair Observer, Eurasian Review, Modern Diplomacy, and The London Metro among others. Gary is also involved in projects monitoring the UK media and he occasionally writes creatively, although mostly for his own amusement. His plans to launch a side career as a drag artist called Busty Substances has been put on hold thanks to the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.
Consulting Writer/Editor: Keith Fernandez
Can you be in several places at once? Keith certainly thinks so. The global nomad lives between Amersfoort, Dubai, and Mumbai. An entrepreneur and newsroom leader, he writes about everything from beauty to blockchain. His byline has appeared in Gulf News, The National, The Times of India, Wired, and Cosmopolitan. Away from the coalface, the former cookbook editor spends an inordinate amount of time dreaming up new gluten-free recipes—which he’ll put into a blog one of these days.
Writer/Editor: Megan Janicke
Megan is a writer, entrepreneur, and adventurer. She managed a television newsroom in Texas before taking off on a world bicycle trip in 2014. Her travels took her across several countries before she pedaled through the Netherlands, fell in love, and never went home. These days she’s a freelance writer, specializing in B2B content for tech and tourism companies. Megan really believes in the power of storytelling to change hearts and minds. That’s why she’s passionate about the written word – as well as bicycling and Tex-Mex food.
Writer: Gayatri Bhaumik
Always ready for her next adventure, Gayatri took her first flight at 10-days-old and hasn’t looked back since. After long stints in Bangkok, Melbourne, and London, she’s now based in Hong Kong. She contributes to publications across the globe, including The Loop HK, Destination Deluxe, Royal Bank of Scotland ContentLive, Luxe City Guides, Forbes Travel Guide, and Elite Traveler, and runs her own digital content agency, The Wordsmith’s Ink.
Writer: Danielle Richardson
Danielle is a UK-based journalist who’s worked in consumer journalism for the last eight years for a range of publications, covering entertainment, health, and finance. When she’s not beavering away at a laptop, she’s usually planning her next getaway, from driving the coasts of California and southeast Australia, to scaling the hills of Lisbon. A keen runner, she’s hoping to start using races abroad as an excuse for future holidays (or perhaps vice versa!)
Writer: Valentine Sergon
Valentine is a lifelong travel addict with a history of odd jobs, including teaching, travel guide, and a brief stint as a fruit gleaner. She loves all things of the written word and her writing spans everything from must-visit cities to university admissions to this funny thing called adulting. Offline, Valentine enjoys cooking, wintry strolls, and writing old-fashioned letters to friends all over the world.
Writer: Graham Turner
Graham is a UK-based journalist, having returned there two years ago to work as Digital Editor for lifestyle publication i-on Magazine in Edinburgh. This comes after living in Hong Kong for seven years, working as an Editor for Time Out across two stints. Since going freelance, his career highlights have included covering hard-hitting topics such as cat fashion parades and breathable mesh pants – yes, they’re worth the money.
Writer: Alicia Walker
Alicia Walker is Canadian but has been living outside of Canada for more than half her life in the UK, Hong Kong, and now Singapore. Although she hails from hardy stock, The Great White North may never let her back in as she now puts on a hoodie if the temperature drops below 28 degrees. She was the editor of a food magazine for a decade and various lifestyle magazines in Hong Kong and the UK previous to that. She now writes scripts for children’s television in Singapore and content on everything under the sun for Expatica.
Writer: Marianna Cerini
Marianna Cerini is a Rome-based freelance journalist covering travel, culture, and lifestyle. Her words have appeared in CNN Style, Conde Nast Traveler, WWD, and Al Jazeera English among others. Before settling back in the Eternal City, she lived in London, Beijing, Shanghai, and Hong Kong, and traveled extensively across Southeast Asia. She thinks running is one of the best ways to explore new places (especially at sunrise!) and is currently trying to master the art of Indian cooking.
Writer: Una Dimitrijevic
Una had already lived in three countries and learned three languages by the time she was nine. She has a hard time staying still but has now seemingly settled in Lille, France, for a near-record of five years. It helps that the city is just a hop and a skip away from Paris and London, two of her regular haunts. Una studied languages and European politics before working in the arts for a few years, but is now a freelance writer and translator, and loving her solitary workplace.
Writer: Sarah Harvey
Sarah is a British journalist who fled the drizzle in 2010 and has now lived in eight countries on four continents. She has a background in news journalism in London but found writing about paella and dolphins infinitely more enjoyable. Having previously worked as editor of a lifestyle magazine in France and news editor of a travel journal in the Maldives, she now writes freelance articles about various places she has lived in across Europe and Asia. Getting embedded in a country, discovering the culture, and learning from the locals is her passion.
Writer: Joana Taborda
Joana has had a thirst for traveling ever since her parents took her on her first flight abroad to London. Since then, she’s had a chance to visit several countries, but somehow she always returns home to Portugal. Working as a travel writer, she spends her time between the Portuguese capital Lisbon and the semi-tropical island of Madeira. She loves hopping on a train to little-known towns, drinking the local craft beer wherever she gets off, and writing about it all for the likes of Atlas Obscura, Fodor’s, Lonely Planet, and DK Eyewitness.
Writer: James Vick
James is a UK-based writer and editor with a background in news journalism. He returned to the UK in 2019 after spending six years in Russia and a year in Ireland. He has appeared on BBC television and radio several times, discussing topics as diverse as Russo-Turkish relations and fan violence at Euro 2016. Nowadays, he divides his time between writing about Russia and studying international relations in London.
Writer: Ulrike Lemmin-Woolfrey
Born and raised in Hamburg, Ulrike is a serial expat who has lived and worked in the UK, Qatar, the UAE, Oman, Australia, and most recently, Paris. She is a freelance travel and lifestyle writer with bylines in international publications such as BBC Travel, Nat Geo, The Independent, CNTraveler, The Guardian, The Telegraph, and many others. While in Australia, Ulrike wrote one expat guide on moving to Australia, and two travel guides on Sydney and the Great Barrier Reef, for Moon Travel books.
Writer: Carla Parks
A native Californian, Carla first came to Europe during a backpacking trip with college friends. She fell in love with travel and returned to London for a six-month stint that has turned into over 20 years. A former BBC staff writer, she now enjoys the flexibility of freelance writing and has several clients. She has learned to accept the inevitability of British winters by becoming acquainted with several pubs.
Writer: Adrian Taylor
Adrian is old, but that’s okay because he likes being gnarly and a little wiser than he used to be. Home was England, then Australia, then the Netherlands, and is currently England again after long periods of expat-ery. He’s been telling stories for 42 years as a journalist, media advisor, copywriter, and editor. Rarely pictured without a glass of something tasty in his hand, Adrian enjoys dual UK and Australian citizenship which means his cricket team always wins.
Look him up on LinkedIn
Writer: Deidre Olsen
Deidre Olsen is an award-nominated Canadian writer, editor, and journalist based in Berlin. Their reporting, essays, and op-eds have appeared in The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, Reader’s Digest Canada, Refinery29, The Cut, Them, Salon, Vice, Shondaland, Maclean’s Magazine, and Brooklyn Magazine. Deidre is writing their debut memoir, first feature film, and pursuing a master’s degree.
Writer: Nehal Hossam El-Din
Nehal believes that storytelling makes you live more than once. She is an Egyptian journalist, writer, and storyteller who lived in Egypt most of her life and has a deep thirst for storytelling. After moving to the Netherlands, Nehal tries to share stories and experiences from the Netherlands and the Middle East with other people. That’s how she helps others know more and see the world through her eyes. She writes articles as a freelancer as well as helps in documentary making. Nehal is also an artist who tries to put feelings and thoughts into a visual form.
Writer: Beatriz Negreiros
Once an Expatica reader and now a contributor, Beatriz began honing her passion for storytelling in her home country of Portugal, working as a reporter and radio host. In 2019, she decided to chase new stories by moving to Utrecht to pursue an MA in Applied Musicology. The stint was only meant to last a year, but she decided to stay in the Netherlands after falling in love with stroopwafels! Beatriz has since started a side career as a freelance writer, contributing to publications such as MAG Utrecht and The Holland Times, and organizations like Le Guess Who?. She lives in Rotterdam and is still learning how to speak Dutch and write about herself.
Writer: Annebet van Mameren
The founder of New2nl, Annebet is Dutch and married to an American. They are based in Amsterdam and have two sons who they are raising bilingually. She has a master’s degree in Organizational, Social, and Personality Psychology and research background in Intercultural Conflicts at Work. She has worked for multinational companies, lived and worked in Italy, and has a thorough understanding of the (educational) challenges faced by international families when moving to the Netherlands. She regularly shares her knowledge and experience through international magazines and websites and gives seminars and webinars to international companies, individual families, and at fairs.
Writer: Lori Zaino
Lori Zaino is a freelance journalist from the US with bylines in publications like CNN, The Points Guy, Culture Trip, MSN, NBC, and beyond. Although she writes about anything and everything, Spain is one of her favorite topics to scribe about — and she knows a thing or two about the country after living in Madrid for almost 15 years.
Writer: Ruth Vargas
Born and raised in the US, Ruth received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology at the age of 20 before taking a break from school. She’s traveled across the states and across the sea as well, exploring countries such as Italy and South Korea. She has used her talents to work as a tutor, Spanish translator, social media manager, and in the mental health field. Ruth occasionally freelances, ghostwriting, and provides virtual assistant services. In her free time, she loves writing, playing the piano, and creating artwork. Her biggest fan in the world is quite tiny, her two-year-old son, who is her most ardent supporter and source of motivation.
Writer: Naomi Kaye Honova
After spending the first couple of decades in the US, Naomi moved to Germany where she has now lived for many years, working as a freelance writer. She has studied literature, dance, and history and has a master’s in Social Work. Her work has been published in TimeOut, Lonely Planet, The Local, and TripSavvy. She has two young boys who keep her very busy, but in her (rare) spare time she loves a great book, live music, yoga, and, of course, hiking and traveling.
Writer: Kriti Toshniwal
Kriti is a gypsy at heart. Born in Ahmedabad, India, she has lived in six different Indian cities as well as Dubai, Utrecht, Amsterdam, and now Antwerp. She graduated with honors in both economics and communication. She also loves to try out new things; from crafting crossword puzzles and teaching intercultural communication to freelance writing and copyediting, mainly for the sustainability sector. When she’s not behind her laptop, she’s probably occupied with some creative endeavor, like pottery, gardening, or concocting interesting cocktails. What’s next? Who knows? But a trip to Japan is definitely on the cards!
Writer: Magalí Torres
Born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Magalí relocated to Den Haag, Netherlands looking to pursue her master’s education. She is a full-on pandemic graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Government and International Relations and long-lasting love of writing. Aside from freelancing for Expatica, she regularly writes and edits for Politólogos al Whisky. Although, for someone who writes so much, she has a secret passion for radio too (shhh, don’t let management know).
Look her up on LinkedIn
Writer: Alesa Gawlik
A lifelong Francophile from the very center of the US, Alesa moved to France in 2014 to make her lifelong dream a reality. Since arriving in the land of wine, bread, and châteaux, she’s lived in four different regions of her favorite country, working in web design and content management for a handful of cultural sites along the way. She now works as a freelance writer and content manager from her home in the beautiful city of Chartres.
Writer: Shanthy Milne
Shanthy is a writer and documentary producer with ten years’ experience making films for the BBC and Channel 4. Born in London to Sri Lankan/Malaysian parents, she feels most at home when in motion. Her itchy feet brought her to Amsterdam where she now lives. Recognizing freedom of movement as a privilege denied to many, Shanthy also works with Detention Action, a UK charity supporting people detained under immigration powers. Aside from Expatica, Shanthy has written for The Guardian, Riposte, Drift, and PostScript magazines. She also writes fiction and is a finalist on Penguin’s Write Now scheme.
Writer: Ana V. Martins
Ana started as an actress but converted into a cross-channel storyteller. She jumped from stage to content creation in blogging, video, and social media formats. Her blog Amsterdive centers around creative living in Amsterdam, her newsletter Ana Searches For Meaning is all about inner-growth, and her videos on YouTube are a pocket of adventure. Then, in her spare time, she is a copywriter. As a multi-passionate creative, she’s going for it all. Portuguese roots, Amsterdammer at heart.
Writer: Georgia Lewis
Georgia is a UK-based journalist, but she is originally from Australia. After working mostly on consumer magazines in Sydney for 10 years, Georgia spent five years in the UAE. Here, she mostly wrote about cars, travel, lifestyle, and entertainment. In 2011, she moved to London, where she has written about oil, gas, renewable energy, business, and technology with a special focus on the Middle East and African markets. She is now a freelancer and when she’s not writing, editing, or proofreading, she can often be found developing recipes for Munching Matilda, a food website developed with a fellow Australian expat in the UK.
Writer: Kelly Merks
Kelly is an American who is living in the Netherlands by way of Japan. Writing for Expatica is a natural extension of her other job which is working in communications for the Expatriate Archive Centre. Her writers’ heart beats for long-form journalism and clear-eyed travelogues. She’s an evangelist for bicycle commuting and enjoys learning about new places on foot – as well as through their beers.
Writer: Hira Desai
Born and raised in the UK, Hira discovered a passion for travel following a year in New York where she worked for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Upon her return to London, she traveled Europe while working for the U.S government before moving to Hong Kong where she wrote for several lifestyle and travel publications. Having returned to the Big Smoke once again, Hira now creates content for the Society of London Theatre alongside writing for Expatica. When she isn’t scoping out the latest restaurants and bar openings, you’ll find her baking cakes or dreaming about her next big adventure.
Writer: Emily Burger
Emily is a patchwork of all the places she and her family have lived: South Africa, England, Egypt, Singapore, Canada, and now — the Netherlands. Her accent might be a little tricky to pin down, but in her heart, she will always be the girl who grew up in the Durban waves. Emily originally came to the Netherlands to study Art and Culture, before diving into a Master’s of Content and Media Strategy. She is a published novelist, freelance writer, and social media manager.
Writer: Emily Martin
Born and raised in Aotearoa, New Zealand, Emily was brought up on a diet of adventure and curiosity. After studying as a broadcast journalist and working as a TV documentary researcher, she moved to Cambodia, leading communications for a social enterprise circus. Now living in the UK, she has worked for an adventure tour operator and currently spends her days working in the community. A storyteller at heart, she enjoys helping expats navigate their way through the trickier parts of life by writing articles for Expatica, which give them room to create their own stories.
Writer: Cláudia Baltazar
Born in Lisbon, Cláudia has worked as a freelance UX Writer for a wide range of industries, creating simple yet effective copy for both mobile and desktop. Her enriching experiences in the UK, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Cuba lead her to discover a passion for exploring the unknown. She spends her free time writing, reading, cycling, tasting new cuisines, or indulging in video gaming. Her inquisitive mind and adventurous personality make a perfect cocktail to travel the world. Her next adventure? Route 66.
Writer: Rebecca Piercy
Growing up in South Korea and the UK, Rebecca developed an early interest in cultures and languages. After spending a year in Portugal, she went on a seven-month solo backpacking trip around Brazil, which remains one of her travel highlights. Currently based in the Netherlands, she is a freelance copywriter and loves working with brands to create inspiring and meaningful content. Apart from writing, she enjoys discovering new places and documenting her experiences through photography and design.
Writer: Soreh Milchtein
Soreh is an American who moved to the Netherlands for love. She grew up in a big Russian-Jewish family. Her passion for writing started from a young age when she would handwrite letters to her family and friends. Nowadays, Soreh owns her own company, Soreh Writes, and contemplates her life on her blog, Scribble a Dream. She enjoys cycling through the countryside, traveling, and spending time with her loved ones during her free time. Her dream is to make financial literacy accessible to everyone.
Writer: Deidre Donnelly
Currently based in Vietnam, Deidre was born in Zimbabwe and raised in South Africa, where she lived in four of the country’s major cities. Other than stints as an academic bookseller in London and an EFL teacher in rural Thailand, Deidre has been an editor and writer for nearly 20 years. Notably, she worked her way up from copy editor to senior features writer/books editor at O, The Oprah Magazine Magazine (South Africa). She was also a regular contributor to ShortList Dubai magazine, focusing on food writing. These days, Deidre runs a book club and writing group for the expat community she lives among, teaches part-time, and writes for a variety of clients.
Look her up on LinkedIn
Writer: Lucie Grace
Lucie is a British freelance writer, who lives and works nomadically between Asia and Europe. She grew up in Malta before living in London for 20 years and worked in universities in the UK’s capital before going freelance. As well as the UK and Malta, she has lived in Croatia, India, Italy, and Thailand and has bylines in Business Insider, Fodor’s, The Independent, The Telegraph, and The Times. She is a big art gallery fan and has a particular interest in spa and bathing culture around the world.
Writer: Tracy Melass
Tracy is a senior account director at a busy PR and corporate comms agency in central Amsterdam. She works on anything from annual reports to newsletters, intranet/internet articles, and a range of other communications formats, in FMCG, big tech, banking, and energy. Before this, Tracy was a content marketing strategist, writer, consumer magazine editor-in-chief, and news journalist in her native South Africa and the UK. When not busy with her day job, the travel-mad Capetonian is plotting her next getaway and ticking off as many cities and countries around the world as she can.