Photo Credit: TN
On 'In Living Color Abroad' Black And Brown Expats Share Their Experiences
Are you a traveler of color thinking about taking the leap and moving overseas? Then, you’d definitely benefit from checking out In Living Color Abroad. On this podcast, Black and brown voices talk about their expat experiences, detailing the good, the bad and the ugly of relocating to a new country.
In Living Color Abroad was created by Angel Rodriguez. Rodriguez was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY to parents who immigrated from the Dominican Republic. He’s been traveling for as long as he can remember, spending every summer in DR with family as a boy.
Becoming an expat
After earning a degree in music from CUNY, he landed a teaching job, which allowed him to spend summers and winter breaks traveling. In 2019, he flew to San Francisco to attend a job fair for international educators that would change his life.
“I flew out there really on a whim without expecting much,” Rodriguez said. “I told myself that I was going to feel it out. When I got to the fair, I was shocked to see that 99 percent of the candidates were white. I really felt like a fish out of water. But, I didn’t let that deter my confidence or my goals of at least testing the waters of moving abroad.”
To his surprise, Rodriguez ended up with multiple offers from various countries and regions around the world. He decided on Costa Rica because he is fluent in Spanish and had visited the country before. The beautiful weather and close proximity to the U.S. were other factors that attracted him.
“I don’t regret it one bit, and it was the best decision I made,” he said. “My experience in Costa Rica has been mainly positive, but as with anything in life, there are ups and downs. Costa Rica is an absolutely beautiful country. There is a reason millions of tourists flock here every year. I have never appreciated nature more than I do now. The only negative I would say is that the social scene here really isn’t my style. But, I am at peace here, I enjoy my job, and I live a life that I couldn’t have imagined four years ago.”
The inspiration behind the vision
His spur-of-the-moment decision to attend the job fair paid off. However, the fair did more than just help Rodriguez find a new job and a new country to call home. It also served as a source of inspiration that would eventually contribute to the idea of starting his podcast. Noticing the lack of diversity at the fair, he asked himself why there was no one that looked like him. He eventually found a table of other Black and brown candidates, who he conversed with and still maintains contact with today.
“Once I got abroad, I knew that I wanted to document my journey, in particular as a person of color in the predominately white space,” he said. “I first thought of either vlogging or blogging. Then, I was brainstorming my ideas with my friend, Ikuma, and she basically said “Why not do a podcast where you interview other people of color that are living abroad?” The rest is history, as they say. Ikuma was my first guest (Germany, Episode 1). So, all the credit goes to Ikuma for getting my podcast started.”
Creating a space for minority voices
With In Living Color Abroad, Rodriguez is fulfilling the need for podcasts centering BIPOC experiences overseas. He recognizes and gives credit to others who share this space and are dedicated to documenting minority expat stories, such as Xpat Chats, Blaxit Global, Melanin & Miles and others.
“Like those podcasts, I like to think that my podcast is needed because I hear too often [that] there is not enough of this content out there by fans of my podcast,” he said. “That’s a nice thing to hear because it means people find value in what my guests and I bring to every episode, but I also want it to be the norm.”
“While I was conducting research on the experiences of expat teachers of color in international schools for a master’s degree in international education, I barely found any existing literature on the subject,” he continued. “There are many voices out there that have yet to be written about in academia and heard in the media space. It is, therefore, my hope that my podcast is that space where people feel seen and heard.”
Having interviewed many Black expats, Rodriguez says the majority have generally spoken positively about their new homes abroad.
The Black expat experience
“Some that stick out to me in terms of glowing reviews from Black expats are: Panama (Episode 87), Fiji (Episode 64), Belgium (Episode 46), Ireland (Episode 45), and Abu Dhabi, UAE (Episode 9.) I’m sure I’m missing so many more, but I strongly suggest people check those out,” he said.
You can listen to In Living Color Abroad anywhere podcasts are available, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and more.
Related: Global Take: The Travel Podcast On Black Professionals In International Affairs