Resilience: the emigrant’s superpower

Episode Description

When we choose to move to a new country, we allow ourselves to encounter various circumstances in correlation with change. 

In this episode with Jamie, she imparts her knowledge of the systematic function of our brain and how it deals with us going through a dramatic life transition, such as emigrating.

Jamie is the author of the book, The Role of Resiliency in a Global Lifestyle.

She describes resiliency as a character trait that allows an individual to overcome challenges and rise from adversities.

As you start living in a new country, you experience a series of adjustment cycles that might feel uncomfortable and challenging. You might hate this ‘adjustment phase,’ but as Jamie shared, it is a normal response given off by our brain, and everyone who’s starting anew goes through it. Experiencing pain or discomfort is the best way to build resilience, and Jamie shares more about this topic in her book.

Jamie is also the person behind Cultural Mixology, a coaching platform for individuals who want to build a new life abroad.

With Jamie’s knowledge and experiences of traveling and living in different countries, she sure has a lot to impart to numerous people aspiring to live their life in a new country.

Things we mentioned in the episode

About Jamie

Jamie is American, born and raised in New York. She learned French as a child from her mum, and then she pursued languages and cultures throughout her study and career. Jamie worked and studied in France, finished a master’s program in South Africa, and traveled to more than 30 countries. She’s fluent in English, Spanish, and French, with a working knowledge of Portuguese and basic Arabic.

In 2008 Jamie founded Cultural Mixology, where she uses new and innovative ways to help people manage the complexity, uncertainty, and personal challenges presented by living or working in an international environment.

She worked with individuals and teams from the NYC Emergency Management, NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, U.S. Department of State, and IBM. Jamie has also spoken at numerous conferences and authored or co-authored more than 20 articles.

In her spare time, Jamie volunteers as a Chairperson for Georgetown University’s Alumni Admissions Program in NYC, overseeing ~100 alumni interviewers and serving on the Board of Advisors. As an active runner, she has written about her experience in Like The Wind and Inside Fitness magazines, and she ran her first half marathon during the pandemic.

Get in touch with Jamie

Website - Twitter - LinkedIn - Instagram

Tips and key takeaways


Episode Transcript

Jamie 0:01

This year in 2020, we've all had to manage uncertainty. But you know, ask yourself, How did I manage that uncertainty? What did I do? What did I do to get through it? And then how can you apply those same principles or ideas to something like being an expat, for example?

Daniel 0:25

Hi, everyone, and welcome to episode number 24 of the Emigrant's Life Podcast, where we share stories of people left their country to chase a better life. I'm Daniel De Biasi and in this episode, my guest, Jamie and I are going to talk about resilience, one of the most essential skills you will need as an immigrant. For me, resilience is the superpower that we as immigrant build over time going through the challenges we face when moving abroad. Jamie is the founder of Cultural Mixology. She helps people who are going to move abroad through coaching and teach them the skills they need to have a better experience in a new country. She wrote a short ebook titled, The Role of Resiliency in a Global Lifestyle. I'm going to mention her book throughout the whole episode, I found it very interesting. And I recommend it to all the people who are planning to move abroad. You can find it on Amazon, it costs just $1. And it's packed with very useful information and exercises. You can also find the link on the show notes at And now without further ado, please enjoy my conversation with Jamie.

Hi Jamie.

Jamie 1:28

Hi, Daniel. How are you?

Daniel 1:30

Pretty good. Thanks. Pretty good. Thank you. Thank you for being on the show.

Jamie 1:33

Thank you so much for having me. I'm excited to be here.

Daniel 1:36

Yeah, I'm excited as well. I think this is gonna be it's gonna be great. Do you want to maybe introduce yourself to the listeners. A little bit of your background and what Cultural Mixology is.

Jamie 1:46

Sure absolutely. Well, I'm talking to you from New York City today. So I'm an American, born and raised in New York, I learned French as a child from my mom and kind of went on to pursue languages and cultures and business throughout my studies and my career. So I have some experiences living abroad. And for the past 12 years, I've been running Cultural Mixology, which helps expats and global teams leverage the power of cultural differences so they can thrive in in multicultural environments.

Daniel 2:22

Because even you yourself, you you live like in multiple countries.

Jamie 2:25

Yeah. So I have experience studying and working and living in France, I also finished my master's program in South Africa, I spent a lot of extended time in Mexico for some personal reasons. And then a lot of work trips and travels throughout 30 plus other countries.

Daniel 2:45

So I guess you're experienced to be an expat that helps you to other people making the same decision on going on the same path.

Jamie 2:54

Absolutely. It helps to have experienced these things. And it helps to, you know, even when you're not on a long term assignment, just the value of being overseas for other purposes and feeling that that discomfort sometimes, that nervousness reminds you about what people go through when they make these transitions.

Daniel 3:16

Yeah, exactly. Because if you don't experience yourself in first person, it's hard to understand what people normally go through when they have to settle in a new country and a new culture.

Jamie 3:26


Daniel 3:27

So if we have time, maybe we can go back and ask you, I will ask you more about your company, because I'm really interested in. But in this episode, I'd like to talk to you about resilience. I mentioned it, I mentioned this topic before, multiple times before on this podcast, because I think resilience is the immigrant's superpower, you covered this very well, this topic very well on your ebook, the book you sent me, but for the people that are not familiar with the terminology, and they're not super familiar with, with this word, what is resiliency or resilience?

Jamie 4:00

Well, I love that you described it as the expat superpower and maybe in the second edition of the book, I'm gonna have to go back and include that in and credit you for that because it really is. What I think resilience is it's it's a certain strength or ability that allows us to bounce back from adversity or stressful situations, so to to move through these types of situations and events in our life without necessarily having to go around them.

Daniel 4:31

Which is kind of the norm having this obstacle. I mean, every people in their life has obstacles, because life isn't always easy. But especially for people that are moving abroad, we have mostly more obstacles than the average, let's put it that way. But does resilience comes automatically just by going through life or we have to build mucle like like through exercise that repetition?

Jamie 4:56

I wish it came automatically from going through life better but unfortunately, that's that's not the way it works, I think it's really something that you have to focus on cultivating. So like I said, it's about this ability to bounce back. And as an expat, if you can't bounce back, then you would either likely return home to your home country, or you would probably get stuck in a really difficult place, because being an expat, and maybe we'll talk through the cycle later. But it's, you know, a series of ups and downs and events that you have to essentially bounce back from in order to keep a forward momentum and to keep moving, to keep moving forward. So, you know, in order to do that, you need a lot of, a lot of skills that that kind of form the recipe for resilience, right? So maybe some of these will resonate with you as an expat but being flexible, being curious, being self aware, the more that we practice skills like this, the more we can train our brain, which is like a muscle to practice resilience in the everyday stressful situations that we may come across,

Daniel 6:13

Do you think everybody's got the same level of resiliency, when they start or every individual is different?

Jamie 6:20

Every individual is different, right? Because by by default, we all have different personalities, some people's personalities may or may be more flexible and more curious. Naturally, some people may have been may have grown up in circumstances that forced that upon them, and they may have cultivated it and some people even end up as expats not necessarily by choice. Sometimes when I work with an executive, for example, that's been sent on an overseas assignment by a company and has a partner or spouse or other accompanying family members, those people may not be as excited about about going. They may be going because they feel it's a good opportunity. And they have to support the person who has that that job, but they're not necessarily on board in the same way as if they were choosing it for themselves.

Daniel 7:13

We covered this in another episode with Jana, when she was talking about her kids when she moved abroad with the kids. And it takes take some time for for other people to adjust more than the person who actually makes the decision. Because they don't have control, they maybe don't have the same kind of motivation to actually do it. And even even that makes more takes longer to accept the decision.

Jamie 7:37

Yeah, and I think one of the additional factors there is that, you know, often if you if you look at a family that's moving overseas, and you have the person who you know, I work with a lot of executives, so you have the executive who's being sent on an assignment. And then maybe you have a partner or spouse and children, the children automatically get into a routine and school. So that's really important. They get on that autopilot of you know, waking up going to school, coming home doing homework, the person who's been sent on the assignment has a routine of work, getting to the office getting getting settled. But it's often the other person, the partner, the spouse, or maybe even their other family members that have come along that really need to create a routine from scratch. And so we, we often underestimate how much we go through autopilot in our lives and how much that routine supports our ability to then focus on developing other aspects. So it can be really hard when you are the person that needs to start creating routine, whether that's enrolling in classes, getting a family settled, looking for work, whatever it is you choose to do with your time, but you need to do that from square one.

Daniel 8:55

Yeah, I mean, that's a good point, actually. Because, as you said, for kids, and for the person who has to move abroad and going back to work in another country, they have a routine so they're kind of like they have a busy life where they don't have much time to actually focus on what's going on. They're just going for the days without even thinking about what's really going on. But for people that they have to build this schedule, and it's not something set on stone for them, it's even harder because then you have to deal with the difference between the previous life to the new life and it's it takes even more resilience to get into the new culture, into the new with the new schedule or create a new schedule.

Jamie 9:35

Absolutely. And it's one of the intangible things that we we often miss without realizing when we move because you know, we often talk about things we miss that are that are tangible. We talk about missing our home or a favorite restaurant, certain foods, friends, family, but we don't think about missing this routine because it's normally just the underpinning of our life that allows us to do all the other things that we do normally, when we're in our home country say.

Daniel 10:06

Totally. And speaking of food, because you touched this kind of like a topic, maybe because I'm Italian, I, for me, I focus more on food when you were talking, but you discuss this in your adjustment cycles. And maybe it's time for now to do to start talking about these cycles because I think could be like a really beneficial for people that are planning to move abroad. Being aware that this cycle are kind of the natural path you have to go through from the time you move to a new country to the time you were settling down and you integrate with the culture and you create a new life. So what are these cycles?

Jamie 10:43

Yeah, so there are very well researched and studied patterns of adjustment that people move through. And, you know, I've seen it represented as a as a W curve, I've seen it represented as just a series of ups and downs. And so the one that I that I tend to favor and relate to and work with is the one that I'll describe to you. And you know, you can almost visualize it. Some people visualize it like a roller coaster, sometimes it's not so steep, it could just be small peaks and valleys. But usually, before we go overseas, we have a mix of emotions. So we're kind of above and below, right, almost imagine kind of a straight line that represents your life at home. And before you move, you have that excitement kind of above the line, this is an adventure, I'm looking forward to it. And then you have those feelings below the line where you're, you're nervous, you're you're anxious, you're not sure what awaits you, there's so much uncertainty. And you know, when you arrive, it's often the honeymoon period for people, because everything's new and exciting. So we're not necessarily thinking about the long term. But we're just, you know, maybe doing some sightseeing, trying some new foods or unpacking, or looking for a place to live or getting all our basic necessities settled in a way. But the first dip that we tend to encounter has to do with external things. So you know, maybe anything that would be easy at home becomes a monumental task. So maybe you try to find a store you're looking for. And instead of, you know, taking 20 minutes, you go the wrong direction and an hour and a half later, you still haven't gotten there. Or you go to the supermarket, and you look for a favorite ingredient or something that you need to cook with. And you just can't find it,

Daniel 12:32

That's exactly what I was talking about before about food, like where's my tomato sauce? Where's my favorite cheese?

Jamie 12:39

Exactly. Or even worse, you buy something that you think is one thing only to come home and realize it's another because you can't read the ingredients on it. So you may think that you're buying one thing and realize it's totally different. So those are a lot of you know, external things that every exat basically has to move through that part of the cycle. Because if you want to settle somewhere, you need to have your basic necessities settled. So once you come through that external shock of sorts, you come to a place that we might call a surface adjustment. And that's a place that sometimes people stop that you may stop in your adjustment there, perhaps you're not really interested in the deep dive learning about the culture, perhaps you will never learn the local language enough to truly integrate. So imagine that, you know, you're an English speaker who moves to rural China, it's going to become really hard to have that level of language ability to integrate on a deeper level. Or sometimes military families, they may be living on a base in a foreign country but not really immersed in the culture. So often people stop there, but then if they don't, they can continue on. In which case you'd go through the second dip, which is more the internal shock that's when we question ourselves this is when their resilience comes into play a lot because maybe we think, you know, I used to feel really funny in Italian and you know, in English, I don't know people don't find me as funny or I used to feel really efficient at work and time moves differently in this culture. So we have a lot of self doubt in this stage. That's where we really do need to cultivate that resilience to move through and eventually come to this point of integration.

Daniel 14:32

That's why I found this very interesting. First of all, the part that you say on the first the initial shock when you said on your on your book that those kinds of obstacles like simple things like you know finding something in a supermarket can make you angry, it can even make you like judgmental against the new culture like, why these people putting the another tomato sauce in this isle where it should be on another isle. I had this probably the trying to find saffron, because in Italy it's usually at the counter, and I took me I don't know how many months trying to find saffron or even like yeast, for make pizza dough. Its completely different is completely different for me and so it was like, not judgmental but probably in a kind of way. It was like a kind of judgment of why things are the same way than my country? I always grew up this way, I thought that was the right way to do it. And then you go to a new country its different nd you kind of become judgmental. When I read your book, your ebook and going through this cycle, I kind of I laugh at myself, because I totally did that. I totally went through those stages of the internal shock and and then moving forwards to the surface adjustments when you said some people stay there, do you think like they stay in the in the surface adjustment or moving forward to actually integrate? Does it depend of your motivation to why you move to a new country?

Jamie 15:48

I think there are a lot of factors certainly motivation or lack thereof is is one of them. But you know, it's all relative, also. So the circumstances we're moving to or moving from could be perceived as more favorable or less favorable, they could be perceived as safer or more dangerous, right, with filled with more opportunity or less opportunity for us. So you know, I think that it is very relative in each circumstance. So we, we can say it's the same thing. I'm just gonna pick random countries here, I don't know, moving from Brazil to Japan as moving from Saudi Arabia to Canada, you know, they're all going to present their own set of challenges, which could impact how we feel about our desire to truly understand or or settle into a particular culture.

Daniel 16:47

Yeah, absolutely. For example, if somebody wants to move to Japan, because they're passionate about Japanese, manga, Japanese comic, that kind of things, they really want to go there, even though it's maybe they're coming from Europe, or from a western country where the language everything is different. So the culture shock, it's a big culture shock, because the willingness, and it's like a kind of their dream to live in this country, that I think they're more willing to overcome these obstacles, like learning a language, integrate with the culture, because that's their dream. But if somebody is sent to Japan, or another, another country where you have these cultural shock, but they're not willing to, or they don't have the same kind of motivation to why integrating the culture in the case can be even harder to overcome and overcome these waves or pass the surface adjustment and go into the integration part of the of the curve.

Jamie 17:39

Absolutely. And I've always said that people's attitude towards their move overseas is the biggest determining factor just in my in my opinion. Because, you know, often people ask, what's the most challenging country to move to? Or, you know, what, is it easier if you've done it four or five times already? And, you know, I think it's your attitude. I say this, you know, repeatedly, I've worked with expats that are on their fifth assignment, and they're so humble, and they tell me, Jamie, pretend like I'm a blank slate, I don't know anything I'm curious to learn. And then I've worked with people that are moving for the first time and think that they already know everything. And so it's really about your, your mindset. And that goes back to resilience. Right? How self aware are you? How curious, are you about things about the world about the country to which you're moving?

Daniel 18:36

And speaking of people that move to multiple country? Do you think these cycles stays the same? The question is, do you think the initial shock gets amplified when you lived in multiple countries? Because I can give you a little bit of my story and why I came up with this with this question is because I left Italy, because I didn't want to live in Italy. So when I moved to New Zealand, everything is okay, thre's obstacles, but I don't have any other choice. Because I didn't have the option. In my mind, I didn't have the option to move back to Italy, so it's okay. There's these obstacles, I have to go over because that's the only way to go. That's the only way to move forward if I didn't have any other choice. But now that I moved to Canada, on the second way where things are different, you can feel like a judgmental, you feel frustrated. You can not just compare the new country, in my case Canada with Italy, then you compare with New Zealand like and that's where you go on the surface adjustment, and you go into this fork as you describe a fork to integrate to this culture or maybe you have to move back to another country maybe have to move back to New Zealand, or Italy is just made it and we're just you find these with other people as well that maybe the country I picked, the last country that big there's no actually doesn't fit with my lifestyle. Maybe another country it is and so that's why I can't get integrated with the culture. Because I don't feel like this is the place I want to be.

Jamie 20:00

Well, I don't think you're weird at all. And I do think that, you know, every, every experience overseas is different. And the cycle is the same, what I would say makes a difference is perhaps the speed at which we're able to move through it. Hopefully, when we do something repeatedly, anything repeatedly in life, we get better at it. I mean, that that's the hope that's the goal. And so we get better at the experience of having to adjust. So maybe when you move to Canada, now, you have more self awareness, you realize that you're feeling judgmental in the supermarket, like you can pinpoint it when you can't find the pasta sauce, or the saffron or the yeast in the aisle that it's supposed to be in your mind. So, you know, you can almost have a pause, like, Okay, I know this, you know, I've been through this, this is frustrating, and being judgmental, but you can actually label it for yourself. Whereas sometimes the first time we go through it, we can even label it. We don't even know what's going on, we just know that we're feeling this tremendous sense of frustration about something. So I would say that, yes, the cycle is the same. But maybe we hopefully we gain skills that that allow us to move through it faster. Or to make a judgement, there's no judgment call. There's no saying that every just because we identify as an expat that every culture we move to is going to be a positive experience. We're humans, we have preferences. And I think the point is we can prefer we can say, you know, I preferred living in New Zealand, without making a judgement and saying Canada's a terrible place, which it's not, right? So,

Daniel 21:54

Yeah, no, absolutely. I agree. That's why I think knowing the cycles and be familiar with the cycles, can help you when you're moving abroad. Because some people can think of, Oh, I don't like this place, I feel judgmental. I'm even like going through learning a language and the frustration of learning a language and you feel like, you don't feel like you've settling in. And knowing that this is like a normal path forward that everybody goes through, makes you aware that maybe it's not that you're not good enough, it's not that you're can't overcome these obstacles, or maybe why there's so many obstacles in my way, and it should be easier. So knowing that these obstacles are normal, this way of feeling about these obstacles and the way you start feeling like a ups and downs when you settling down, knowing that before ends, for people that are trying to move abroad, I think that could be very helpful, because it's not like, oh, things are working out here, it's probably better if I go back back to my country or whatever. It's just normal, you have to go through it. And just on the other hand, you can see the outcome.

Jamie 23:01

Absolutely, it always helps, it's part of the preparation to, to know what's coming. And for any listeners who are getting ready to head overseas for the first time, I would, you know, encourage them to think of this process, but apply it to a change they've already had. So maybe when they started a new job, or maybe when they moved somewhere else domestically, because we do follow the same patterns, we could be excited to start a new job and nervous and then when we first get there, you know, we're getting settled, and then we realize we can't find where the coffee is. And you know, then we have to adjust to the corporate culture, or the organizational culture. So, for any change, people have experienced, they could think about this cycle and think about how they handled that. And, you know, then apply that to their upcoming move.

Daniel 23:55

One other thing I read on your book, I found it really interesting that there's a survey that people do living abroad for five years or longer, actually more satisfied than the people in the honeymoon phase, which is the phase at the beginning when everything is great, because you move abroad, you feel like on holiday, people that actually live in there for longer, I feel more satisfied than those people, which is fascinating.

Jamie 24:18

Yeah, well, it's it's a different feeling, right? I mean, it's the difference between being on being on vacation and then being somewhere long term, they can both have their positives and their excitement. But certainly, there's a lot more certainty once we're settled in a place and that may increase our levels of happiness.

Daniel 24:40

You say that, or the study says it takes about nine to 12 months at least, to reach their level of integration.

Jamie 24:49

Yes. So you know, I would take that figure as a as a good framework. You know, I think again, it depends. Have you been to this country or culture before, do you speak the language at all? You know, like, what's your exposure level? Then? How do you feel about it? But, you know, we we don't know what we don't know, when we move overseas. So no matter how much we think we know, we don't know what we don't know. And so we do need to allow ourselves a period of time to go through all of the different seasons, if you will, of an expat experience. And I think that, you know, giving yourself at least a year to reach some feelings of integration is a very reasonable timeframe. The reality is that, in my opinion, a lifetime is really not enough to know everything about a culture that's not your own. So there will be a lot of cycling between, you know, the last few phases between the the internal adjustments that you may choose to make, and the integration.

Daniel 26:01

Absolutely. And I can definitely relate to that. Because usually, I noticed it takes around a year roughly to figure out if you want to stay in the country or not. But even that, that depends on how much you push yourself to integrate, how willing you are to find new friends, meet new people and try new things. Because if you live in your own apartment, you don't go outside and explore the city, you don't see the beauty of the city or the new place, or you don't speak with people, you don't meet new people, local people, it's harder to integrate, you don't really feel integrated until you have some sort of like a people around you and some familiarity with, with the place you moved in.

Jamie 26:43

And what you're describing is really again, in line with resilience, because resilience is about moving through a tough situation instead of moving around it. And so yes, we can all move somewhere else, and then choose to not immerse ourselves, and, and just get our basic necessities set, but not actually put ourselves in that uncomfortable position. But resilience is about being uncomfortable. So going out, making new friends, trying new places, testing our language skills, and then being able to get through the stressful situation by by trying by, you know, by continuing to pursue and not not avoiding not moving around something.

Daniel 27:31

And do you have any recommendation or advice for people to I don't know, build resilience? For example, how do I know or how do I build my own resilience?

Jamie 27:42

So you know, I think resilience is a lot of a lot of skills that we may have used, we may be using already. And then the question is, how can I use this in my new environment? So I would encourage people to think about when was a time in your life when you showed flexibility? When was a time in your life when you showed courage? When was a time when you, you know used your intuition? Or you asked for help before the sex pad experience? And look at those times? And what did they feel like? And how did you do it? And how can you use those skills in this new situation? Now, we all have these skills. And if we think back, we've done it, we're just maybe not as aware of it, because they've come more naturally to us and another situation. But these are all skills that we want to be reusing now to build resilience in the new culture.

Daniel 28:40

Are you familiar with stoicism?

Jamie 28:42

I'm not I'm certainly not an expert in it. But I'm familiar with the basic principles of it.

Daniel 28:48

Yeah, no, same. I'm not I'm not an expert either. But when I was reading your ebook, and we're talking about resilience and how to overcome resilience, that's one of the things that came to my mind like the basic of stoicism. So when something happens to you, you don't focus on the things you cannot control, but you focusing on what you can control. So for example, it's raining outside that you were planning to go for a run, for example, you're not focusing, oh my god, it's raining. I don't want to go outside. You actually focusing on Okay, it's raining outside, but I want to go, I want to go running anyway. Okay, maybe I put a rain jacket on. Maybe I could change different clothes or that kind of things. That's a stupid example like a super basic example. But the basic of stoicism is focusing on what you can control against what you can't control.

Jamie 29:37

Yeah. And I think that from my understanding, you know, stoicism is a little bit, it's almost more an approach to life. And I see resilience a little bit more as a skill to cultivate. And I think also, a big part of resiliency is this idea of bouncing back kind of going through something that doesn't go well and then bouncing back. So the stoicism part in your example is okay, it's raining, it's miserable outside, how will I approach this, I'm gonna put on my rain jacket, and I'm gonna run anyway, the resilience part of running is I went out to run and I had a really bad run, I didn't hit my, you know, my splits and I didn't make the PR. But how can I do this better next time? So I see it a little bit like a little bit more movement in resilience. And I don't know, this is just like my own thoughts about it but little bit more of that like a ball bouncing back, and the stoicism a little bit more like the way you travel down a path.

Daniel 30:47

Okay, yeah, no, no, you, you're right, you're right. I used the example of stoicism for people that, for me it's a kind of like a way to start like sometimes it's harder to think, okay, it went bad, probably I'm not good at it, that kind of thing so you kind of have to be mindset, maybe using stoicism as a tool to become more resilient.

Jamie 31:07

I think they're absolutely very closely related. There's there's definitely connections that like you said there and then that stoicism is is about, you know this this self control, like how we kind of control maybe even our emotions when we encounter the adversity. Whereas I would say resilience is about allowing ourselves to experience all of these emotions, like that's okay. And then how, how do we move forward from them. So there are definitely a lot of interesting connections. And I'd love to read, read more about it. Again, maybe the second edition of the book, you might have to co author it with me.

Daniel 31:45

Okay, I don't know if my English is that good to write a book, but I'll do my best to help you out. And go speaking of books on your ebook, we also cover the part where you talking about the brain, how our brain works. I know it's a lot to digest, maybe it's a lot to cover in one episode, the podcast, but can you maybe reassume like I don't know, in a few words, or in a few sentences,

Jamie 32:10

I can talk about a little bit about the relationship with the with the with the brain and or is and resilience, you know, try to give you the nutshell version. But you know, if we think of our brain with three main parts, the the oldest part is the reptilian part, that's our fight or flight instinct. So, you know, million years ago, that was when we were being attacked by a tiger. Now it's anything new or different that that threatens us. So you know, it could just be being in the being in the supermarket and seeing something different. And having that real moment of annoyance and frustration. The limbic part of our brain is the part that processes more emotions, memories, hold our values. So this is where we get judgmental about things, something's right or wrong, something's good or bad. And then the neocortex and more specifically, the prefrontal cortex of our brain is it's like our center of learning. And so the idea is to access that part of our brain as much as possible. That's where we're able to build trust with people. That's where we're able to consciously learn new habits, and new skills. So, you know, we're constantly fluctuating throughout these different parts of our brain all day long. nobody uses the the neocortex or the prefrontal cortex 100% of the time, but the more we can get aware, or be aware of, you know, which part of our brain is being activated in a certain moment, then we generate that self awareness, and we have a better capacity to switch and use our higher brain when necessary.

Daniel 33:54

Yeah. And also on your E book, you can kind of have some exercise a question, you ask yourself, to figure out what part of the brain you're using and how to use those parts of the brains, right?

Jamie 34:06

Absolutely. So there are, you know, our body there's, I actually just read a wonderful book called, Your Body is Your Brain, by Amanda Blake, and, you know, our brain, our body is sending signals to our brain before we realize it all the time. So, you know, in your example, I'm going to go back to you in the supermarket looking for the pastas, the house or the saffron. Right? And, you know, you know, I would think about when we what's going on in your body, right? How did you feel, what, what physical cues, what emotional cues, what mental cues were going through your mind, and for each part of our brain, they would they would look a little different. So maybe in the, the reptilian part of our brain when we're we're really stressed out or our shoulders are tight or our stomach, you know, our gut gets in knots, and then maybe in the limbic part of our brain where, you know, we're just little tense, we're not, we're not feeling those butterflies in the stomach, but we're not, we're not relaxed. And then maybe we notice when we're using our higher brain, that, you know, our body is very relaxed. We're taking deep breaths. So we don't feel that tension. So on every level of the physical level, the emotional level and the thinking level, our body is sending our brain these messages all the time. It's just that self awareness of getting in touch with them.

Daniel 35:30

Yeah, that's very interesting. Is there anything else that you want to add that we didn't go over that you think it's gonna be interesting for the listeners?

Jamie 35:39

I guess the last thing I would add is just that everybody's capable of doing this. And it's not just me saying it, brain science as it. So this idea of neuroplasticity, which means that even as adults, we can create new wires in our brain. It's really powerful. Before the 1970s, people thought, once you're an adult, your brain is formed. And it's going to be really hard to or impossible to create new wiring. And we know now that that's not the case. It's one of those things in life that is simple, not easy. So you know, it's a simple fact that we can create new wiring, we can become more resilient, we can learn the skills that we need to make us successful overseas. But it's not easy. It takes a lot of practice, it takes a lot of conscious work takes a lot of paying attention to ourselves to the things around us. But I guess I'd want to leave listeners with the message that it is, it is absolutely a possibility supported by science.

Daniel 36:44

Yeah, it's hard to listen for, in my opinion, it's hard to know when this thing's are happening. It just, you can just see yourself down the path looking backwards, and you can see how far you gone. And that's the thing about resilience, it don't see it on everyday life. But maybe you see like in the big things that something happened in your life. And you see how you react to the situation and how you bounce back, as you said, like, Oh, I'm actually I am resilience more than I've never thought. For me, the things came, I don't know if it was natural, just going through like the same things in life, the same obstacle, just go with overcoming obstacles, you can get more resilience automatically. I don't know exactly how I got to where I where I got, but I can definitely see myself different from the person I was seven years ago before I left Italy. And then definitely make me more resilience that's going back to the immigrants superpower. That's the thing, what differentiates us from people born in the same country. And resilience, especially in 2020 are like in the period, like, like now with COVID. And the economy, we don't know what's going on. And I think people with more resilience are, are more willing to do the things that other people are not willing to do. For example, if you lose your job, if you're an immigrant, I mean, let's put it in a situation where if you lose your job, you don't have to leave the country because most immigrants do. But let's say you're a permanent residence. And if you lose your job, and you are an immigrant, most likely you will do whatever it takes to pay the bills, you can go and clean the walkway, they can, I don't know, take take up the garbage or whatever, because you know, you've been through it and you you're willing to do that kind of things, also, that people born in the country probably are not willing to do because they are I can see for myself, it wasn't easy, I wouldn't do the jobs that done when I was overseas. That's the things that could big part of the resilience of why resilience is important now more than ever,

Jamie 38:46

Absolutely. And, you know, what you're describing I, you know, I could sum up in you know, adapting quickly, right? So the ability to adapt quickly is a big component of resilience. And you know, whether it's in the examples you gave, you know, somebody losing their job and needing to take up another job to be able to survive, or whether it's what we've all been through this year and 2020 we've all had to manage uncertainty whether it's something related to a big loss could be a you know, a friend or family member being sick could be just the uncertainty of waiting for a covid test result could be the uncertainty of your your job. But you know, ask yourself how did I manage that uncertainty? What did I do? What did I do to get through it? And then how can you apply those same principles or ideas to something like being an expat for example,

Daniel 39:46

I like how you sum up with with much better we're like, are you react to the situation quickly? That makes more sensitive water probably the my longer description, but I like it. Um, can you tell me a little bit more about Cultural Mixology, and what you do to people moving to a new country? What kind of work you do with them?

Jamie 40:07

Yeah, well, you know, just in a, you know, in a couple of sentences, what I do through Cultural Mixology is basically help people cultivate all of these skills. So training sessions, so if people are moving to another country doing a no one day training, living and working, and Canada or New Zealand, or Brazil, whatever it may be, and then coaching programs, which really is about the behavior change, you know, that we've been talking about today. So the training raises your awareness, before you head out overseas, certainly there are things that you'd like to know about what you're about to encounter, and then, you know, add more knowledge. But coaching is really how do I develop those skills. So maybe if I'm moving to Japan, I, I learned in a training that the communication or feedback style is more indirect. And that's great to know. But how do I do that? And that's a longer term behavioral change. So when I work with people through coaching, it's really, you know, what skills do I need to be successful in this country in this new job in this new situation, and how over a period of usually three or six months, and I really cultivate those as part of my identity. So you know, if anybody is interested in learning more, it's cultural mixology calm as the website and you can also find it on Instagram at cultural.mixology.

Daniel 41:41

Perfect, I will put everything, all the links, and then in the show notes. One last question. In your experience, talking and coaching experts, what do you think is the biggest challenge that you have to face?

Jamie 41:54

That's a great question. Probably themselves. You know, it's really about your own your own attitude, the the meanings you attach to the thoughts that go through your, your mind, right. So, you know, when you think about moving to another country, and all you have all these, these ideas about it, it's really, how do you internalize those, you know, what's the story that you tell yourself about the change that you're about to embark on? I mean, of course, there are lots of challenges, I mean, language and, and housing, and schooling and all of those things on the surface. But all of those can be all of those can be managed, in more practical ways. It's really the internal thing. That I think is the challenge, really, for all of us, whether we're moving or not, but particularly when we're moving because that really does challenge your sense of self and push you to to grow,

Daniel 43:03

It goes back to be more resilient.

Jamie 43:05


Daniel 43:07

Awesome. Thank you very much, Jamie for taking the time to to talk about more about resilient, which is I think it's a it's a great topic. I think it's it's very important for people that are planning to move abroad or for people that are already abroad and they are overcoming, and they're going through all these normal obstacles that everybody go through when they're moving abroad. So thank you so much for sharing your knowledge.

Jamie 43:28

It's been my pleasure, Daniel, thank you so much for having me here today.

Daniel 43:33

It was my pleasure. Awesome. Thank you so much.

Jamie 43:35

Take care. Ciao!

Daniel 43:36

Ciao. Thank you so much for tuning in this week. You can subscribe wherever you listen to your podcast. You can find the show notes with everything we discussed in this episode at If you'd like to support the show, you can share this episode and you can leave us a review on Apple podcast and Podchaser. If you want to share your story on this podcast, you can visit Thanks again for listening. Talk to you in the next one. Ciao!