Melbourne natives are “coffee snobs”, says Maya Joshi, pictured drinking her favourite brand Häerzensheemecht
Photo: Mike Zenari
Juggling a career and family life, and learning Luxembourgish, has given Australian Maya Joshi a solid insight into her adopted home.
Talking to Australian lawyer Maya Joshi about her career in Luxembourg, and it’s reassuring how often she mentions family. “I came back for a couple of reasons, but for me one of the main reasons is it’s a really good place for a family,” the mother of two explained.
After starting her career in Australia, the Melbourne native worked in Frankfurt and London before her employer expanded its activities in Luxembourg, conveniently close to where her fiancé was living and working. “I enquired if there was a legal job and the next thing I knew, I was on a plane,” she recalled of the trip in 2010. It took a brief stint in Zurich to really convince her that Luxembourg was the right fit. Now, with two children, she wouldn’t swap it for anywhere else. “I can’t imagine what it would be like living in London with two kids. It’s like going to the other side of the mirror in ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass’.”
Joshi speaks German fluently, thanks in part to her German husband, and is learning Luxembourgish. “My French is enough to order pizza and tell someone how I like my steak cooked,” she joked. Today, she is able to use her Luxembourgish to communicate with the teachers at the local school her children attend and, recently during the lockdown, to follow government press conferences. “You come here and realise that two languages are not that special. If you really want to interact in a multilingual way, your expectations aren’t ‘I’m amazing, I can order pizza!’”
Working with an international team, Joshi uses mainly English in the office, an environment where two things surprised her: the multicultural workforce and its young average age. “I went from being one of the youngest people in the Zurich office, when I was in my thirties, to being one of the oldest people in this office, where I’m in my early forties.” This dynamic forces employers to be adaptable and one of the many things she appreciated about her job is the flexible hours. Even before lockdown, Joshi worked a few hours from home in the morning to avoid getting stuck in rush-hour traffic. Outside of the office, Joshi was instrumental in setting up the Australia and New Zealand Chamber of Commerce Luxembourg.
“It’s been an insight into how it’s worth your time to get to know people here to learn about the different organisations and networks.” This, she said, has helped her to follow more closely the political situation in Luxembourg. “Don’t underestimate the importance of understanding your environment.”
While being well integrated, Joshi keeps in touch with her Aussie roots--she is a committee member of the Australia-New Zealand social club. And she volunteers for the Australia-New Zealand stand of the Bazar International, a fundraising event hosted each winter celebrating Luxembourg’s international demography and supporting worthy causes. Plus, Joshi remains an avid fan of Aussie rules football and cricket and was delighted to find a cricket club in Luxembourg.
This article was originally published in the 2020-2021 Delano Expat Guide