As promised, I am asking to international travellers and people living and working in a foreign country to share their life stories with me to know why they decided to leave families and friends behind to explore new realities and meet new cultures!

Are you curious about how they managed to adapt and settle in their new countries? Then follow my expat interviews categorised by country! Are you an expat wanting to share your tips and experience with the rest of the world and be a source of inspiration? Then fill in the expat interview form: I would love to hearing from you!

Travelling—it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” Iba Battuta

Let’s meet Marian: a digital nomad living in Addis Abeba

Introduce yourself briefly. Tell us who you are!

Hello beautiful people. My name is Marian and I’m from Somalia living in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. I’m a social media management and virtual assistant, and I work remotely.

My passion is dancing. I dance the bachata and belly dance. And yes, I’m a food lover. Travelling is my second passion, and I’m so grateful for the job that allows me to travel while working.

My goal is to move to Tallinn, Estonia, and the reason is that Estonia provides DIGITAL NOMAD VISA that will help me to open my own online company. this is my goal that I am working on it.

Why did you move to your current country?

I love Mogadishu, and the reason why I left home is that after I discovered the remote work lifestyle and then the digital nomad life, I decided to move to a place not too far from home. I was scared about this first step, so I decided to go to Addis Ababa.

Ethiopia is a great place with great weather, food, and lifestyle. so I came to Addis Ababa and so far I’m enjoying it so much: it was the best thing I did so far.

What do you do for a living? How was the job hunting?

I’m a remote worker/ digital nomad. I work online and I was already working when I moved to Addis Ababa, so I was not looking for a job. But for anyone who is looking for a job in Addis Ababa, is not that difficult.

The country is rising economically and many foreigners companies and businesses are opening, and you always see new job opportunities coming up. You just need to be an open-minded and positive thinker.

How is the social life in your city, is it easy to make friends?

The social life in Addis is really amazing: bars, restaurants and cafes are great places to go out and meet new people. People in Ethiopia are super friendly and nice, it’s very easy to make friends. Even if sometimes face the barrier of language, people are always there for you anytime you need a friend.

Why should people move there? Why did you fall in love with this place?

I fell in love with local coffee! Ethiopia has the best coffee. and they have a special coffee ceremony which I love. The purpose is to bring people together and socialize.
Food is also another story: Ethiopian food is delicious and you will love it.

Definitely try the following local specialties: Doro Wat a delicious slow-cooked spicy meat chicken stew, Shiro a stew with chickpea flour eaten daily, and Jajabsa Injera, an Ethiopian flat bread made of teff flour (a local cereal) eaten at breakfast with honey and spices.

The local culture itself is a great thing: people are friendly and helpful. In Addis Ababa you will never feel bored, there is always something new to do or a new place to go.

What do you want to say to people looking to move there?

Take the time to enjoy, explore, make friends so that every weekend you have some activity to do!
If you don’t like coffee, try the Ethiopian coffee and you will change your mind!
Buy from the local shops and go to the local restaurants to taste local fresh food which is amazing.

To find an accommodation, there is a FB group called Expats in Addis Ababa Ethiopia”, and I posted an advertisement saying I was looking for a room and many people contacted me. I went to visit various places until found the perfect room in the perfect apartment. This group has been very helpful for me and I also met the majority of my friends thanks to it!

How is the health system? Is it a safe place to live in?

I am not aware of how the health system is as I never needed to go to see a doctor or to the hospital. As for safety, it depends on the area: I live in a safe area, but some other neighbourhoods are not safe even during the day especially for women.

How is the general cost of living, what is the average rent?

The general cost in Addis Ababa is ok, not cheap nor expensive. If you buy your fruits and vegetables from local shops it will be very cheap comparing to the supermarkets.
The public transport is not expensive: you can use the Ethiopian Uber that called Ride which is very easy to use and cheap.

Rents are very expensive though: I’m staying in a house in a nice neighbourhood and the room costs me $300 per month, but if you want a tiny apartment without flatmates it would cost around $400 – $1000 or more.

Tell us something you don’t like about where you live and the difficulties you came across when settling in

Unfortunately, the language barrier is the worst thing happened to me! If you don’t speak the local language, prices will double for you because you are a foreigner.

Tell me an unmissable thing to do in your city over a weekend

Local bars and restaurants are great to spend time with your friends; most places will host musicians and singers and the atmosphere is awesome! Going to local bars is the best way to spend time with friends during weekends.

Did you find Marian’s experience useful? Then check out the upcoming expat interviews in other cities!