Along with working as coach for global nomads living around the world, I also post an Interview Series on this website where I share the stories of global nomads who have moved abroad, are traveling the globe, or are transitioning to life back at home.

Today’s interview features a global citizen from Mexico who is studying a PhD in neuroscience in Madrid at the world renowned ¨Instituto Cajal.¨ Read on to see how he keeps a positive attitude while living abroad and pursuing his doctorate. 

Hi Ruben! Can you tell us a little about yourself?

I’m from a beautiful city in Northwestern Mexico called Culiacán. It´s a city with a lot of Mexican folklore and it inspired the famous book ¨La Reina del Sur,¨written by Arturo Perez Reverte.

At the moment, I´m living in Madrid Spain working on my PhD in neuroscience research. In my free time I love to dance salsa and swing. I also love to cook and to invite friends to my house.

My passion is neuroscience, I could spend my whole day just watching neurons.

What motivated you to move abroad?

I applied for (and received!) a fellowship in Mexico city which has a grant to work on neuroscience in one of the best neuroscience institutes in the world, which is “The Cajal institute” here in Spain.

Where all have you lived abroad? What place was your favorite and why?

I have lived in many cities in Mexico, some of them at least 3000 km apart, which means a lot of cultural differences– Veracruz, Sinaloa, Sonora, Mexico City and now I’m in Madrid.

I’ve become really fond of Madrid, but I still really love my hometown of Culiacan. Both cities have a lot of nightlife and lovely people. Right now Mexico is not the safest place to be, which could be a good reason to prefer Madrid.

What’s the most difficult part about living abroad? What’s the best part?

To stay focused on the goal you have in mind and stay disciplined. The best part is it allows you to both work hard and party hard.

What have you learned from living abroad? 

It is better to be poor with friends than rich without friends

What is your secret to keeping a positive attitude while living abroad?

Enjoy the present moment that you are living.

What’s the best place you’ve ever traveled to?

Moscow! It’s a great city and a very different one.

Do you have a bucket list? Would you share with us a couple of things on that list?

Of course!!!! I would like to learn how to fly a helicopter, and arrive to the hospital being both the pilot and the doctor.

Do you watch TED Talks? What’s your favorite one?

Yes, Is There Scientific Proof We Can Heal Ourselves?

What advice do you have for people who are considering moving abroad, but are feeling doubtful? 

Don’t be afraid and do it!


Thanks so much Ruben for being part of the Intentional Expat Interview Series!


I moved from Seattle (USA) to Madrid, Spain in 2009 in order to work as an English teacher for a year. I soon discovered that when you accept the invitation to become a global nomad, life may take you in unexpected directions! This one year abroad turned into ten, and during that time I earned my master’s degree and PhD in Clinical & Health Psychology, lived in both Spain and the Netherlands, became fluent in Spanish, transitioned from an accidental to an intentional expat, and met my future husband, a fellow global nomad. I recently relocated back to Seattle and provide online coaching for global nomads, If you’re a global nomad yourself and want to be featured in a future interview, please get in touch!

Are you interested in working with me? You can learn more about my 1:1 coaching services HERE.

Or schedule your discovery call to meet me and decide if it would be a good fit to work together. Schedule HERE.