Expat Stories – Gry Kristiansen
January 2021   EXPAT STORIES

Expat Stories – Gry Kristiansen

Gry Kristiansen is a Cigna Global customer and she moved to New York City in 2019.
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This is her expat story.

Gry Kristiansen

Tell us about your expat move and how you became a Cigna customer?

I work for the United Nations and I have been abroad for over 30 years, living all over the world.

I became a Cigna customer because I wanted to be covered in case of accidents or emergencies.

Especially this year given the COVID-19 pandemic, I think it is very important to be covered.

I moved to New York City last year. New York City is a rebel without a cause and it’s a bit like living with a teenager. It is at times ridiculous, but it is also beautiful. 

It is very different living here compared to being a tourist put it that way. People work long hours and always go the extra mile here. It is very different to life in Europe too.

What have been some of the biggest challenges over the last year?

The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly been one.

How much do you enjoy being an expat?

Being an expat has been my whole life for so long, over 30 years now. So if I didn’t see the benefit of it, I wouldn’t have continued being one. I think being an expat is extremely rewarding. You are constantly learning all the time.

Being an expat also allows you to see things from different perspectives and also helps mature you. I think it is a very good thing.

What sort of advice would you give to anyone considering an expat move?

I would say that it is good to do a lot of research in advance. Try and get as much help as possible when you arrive in a new place. Don’t try and figure everything out on your own.

So you must research, you must check with embassies, check with your new employer. Really try and find out everything you can. Also try to remember that you are a new born in a new country.

Would you recommend the expat move?

I would recommend it and I think everybody should go abroad if they have the right spirit. It takes a lot of courage to become an expat. I think it is a lot easier to do it when you are younger.

It is maybe a bit more risky if you are older and have a family, as you will have more people than just yourself to satisfy. I think it is very enriching to have an understanding wider than your own culture.

Finally, how would you describe your expat journey in 10 words or less?

A gift beyond what I could have wished for.

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