My Takeaways From "The Overseas Fabulous Pinay"

By Mommy Donna and Kib - July 28, 2020

I love reading "how-to" books. I know that these kinds of books would really guide me step-by-step on what to do. Yes, these books haven't failed me at all. They have really guided me that is why I also love writing about guides to my readers.

When a call for review for a "how-to" book was posted on Facebook months ago, I raised my hand. I like the main topic of the book which is "how to live and thrive abroad." Supposedly, there was a book launch last March, but due to the community quarantine the national government has imposed to prevent the spread of COVID-19, it was postponed. 

Last June, a copy of the book was sent to me. I got excited because I really wanted to read the book. I've been praying to the Lord if migration is for me and my son. I wanted to know where to begin and what to prepare.

"The Overseas Fabulous Pinay" is a book written by Donna Avellana-Kunzler, who is now currently residing in Switzerland with her Swiss husband. The book basically gives you an idea on what it is to live and work abroad as a Filipina. Donna has been living abroad for almost 20 years now. She started her living abroad experience when she worked in Singapore. She then moved to the United States, and later on, in the UK, and presently, in Switzerland. 

The book is easy to read. It is relatable since it also used some Filipino words and popular lingo. The writer wrote it like she was telling a story. The tips in the book are very practical and it reminds you of the things that you have to prepare once you have settled abroad and the things that you have to do in order to thrive and be successful as a Filipina living in a foreign country.

Kib and I had a chance to travel abroad, and yes, it is interesting to live in another country as a Filipino. We had our share of travel booboos (we got lost, we ordered the wrong food, etc.) and I got curious about how it is to live like a local especially during our stay in Japan last year. While reading the book, it made me more confident that I can live abroad because the writer was able to survive on her own away from her family.

Here are the major things that I have learned from the book:

Filipinas can shine in other countries. Yes, we have to be proud of ourselves that we are indeed world-class! We can outsmart outer nationalities and we can easily adapt to a new environment.

It pays to ask questions. The book has reminded us that it won't hurt us to ask questions when we don't know anything. Locals would understand that we are new in the country and they would be glad to assist us in your needs. It's an added point if we know some basic words in their language.

Preparation is the key. The book has reminded us that the first six months in a foreign country are the most crucial months in establishing our living conditions. We must be able to settle in our flat, able to secure a driver's license (if needed), know the neighborhood (the nearest grocery, the train routes and schedules, etc.), apply for a local bank account, and credit card (if needed), etc. 

Grow your network in other countries and learn from each others' cultures. Don't be afraid to be friends with people from other countries! While it is good to know fellow Filipino in a foreign country, it will also be healthy for our professional relations that you know people from other countries too. Who knows, these people might help us land a job in another country in the future!

Don't let homesickness rule you. Explore and make friends! Homesickness is the number one enemy of those who are working and living abroad. Do not make it a reason not to thrive abroad. These days, we can easily contact our family and friends in our home country but go out and explore the place we're living too! When officemates invite us to dinner, go out with them. Have a hobby or some sort of recreation to kill homesickness.

Share the Filipino culture with your foreigner-friends. Don't be afraid to also share our culture. Foreigners also like to learn from us. Cook local dishes for our new friends to try on. Tell stories about the famous tourist spots and festivals. If we have a chance to have a short vacation in the Philippines, bring a gift to our foreign friends when we go back.

Just like any other book, "The Overseas Fabulous Pinay" has some limitations. The book is not about:

How to apply for jobs abroad. The book didn't give any idea on how to land a job overseas. While the writer mentioned that the reason she was able to live abroad is because of a job opportunity, she didn't tell how she was able to know and apply for the job.

How to get a foreign husband or wife. This is not a book about dating, and that's clear. The writer is very clear that the reason why she worked abroad is to be successful in her career and not to look for a husband while working abroad. 

How to process migration papers. Honestly, this is what I'm looking after the book, but sadly, no information has been mentioned on how to start applying as an immigrant. Probably because her reason for entry is work and not migration that is why nothing was mentioned about it in the book.

"The Overseas Fabulous Pinay" is now available at major online bookstores like Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Amazon for Php750 (around $15). Since its launch in March 2020, the book has already garnered a GOLD AWARD given by Nonfiction Authors Association in June 2020. It's also a finalist in the Best Interior Design in the 2020 International Book Awards. Hooray for our fellow Filipina!

For those who are contemplating living abroad, I recommend that you read the book, you'll enjoy it too!

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. Check for announcements for book events and to get to know the author more through her blog. Be part of the #ovfabpinay Facebook community [] and follow @ovfabpinay on Instagram [] for more updates.

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