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February 24, 2011

Braving New Worlds: Why Career Women Are Moving Abroad

We all know what it's like to slog through a recession. Meet five women who took action, pulling up stakes and moving to countries with rapidly developing economies.

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braving new worlds march 2011 article russia

Photo Credit: Anna Skladmann

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RUSSIA
Amie Ferris-Rotman, 31, journalist
Hometown: Columbus, Ohio

Why I wanted to live in Russia: I'm always looking for a front-row seat to exciting, news-making events. So when my company, Reuters, gave me the opportunity to transfer to Moscow three years ago, I jumped at the chance. Now I cover human rights and the North Caucasus--the patchwork of Muslim regions along Russia's south, including Chechnya and Dagestan, where an Islamist insurgency is raging.

Biggest surprise: I've become a vodka drinker. It's great when frozen and served alongside pickled garlic.

Crazy adventure: I once went to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine to report on a new lid for the reactor that exploded in 1986, as it was still spewing dangerous particles into the air. All around, the bushes and grass were a shocking color of bright green. Officials told me I would be protected from contamination if I drank a glass of sickly sweet red wine. At one point, in the nearby town of Pripyat, I heard a colossal bang from inside a building. My tour guide said it was probably a "radioactive wolf" wandering around, as the area was crawling with contaminated animals. Turns out, it was a drunken security guard--he stumbled out of the building, his pants down around his ankles.

Greatest challenge: It's hard to get officials in the male-oriented North Caucasus to take me seriously. The last time I was in Dagestan, the first deputy prime minister interrupted me during an interview, saying, "Why are you asking me these questions? Let's get trashed on cognac!" A few minutes later, his minions arrived with red roses for me, and he proposed marriage.

What I love about living here: On your birthday, everyone you know hands you a bouquet of flowers.

Biggest disappointment: Dating. Russian men can be major drinkers and womanizers. They also have an unfortunate fondness for long, pointed black shoes that make them look like elves.

What I miss about home: Mexican food, Target, and customer service. I once found a cockroach garnishing my pasta at a restaurant in Moscow. The staff did not apologize. I made the mistake of saying that in the States, the meal would be free. They said, "Well, go back there!"

How the experience has changed me: Living in a country with subzero temperatures can be trying, but at least the heating works.

How you can get here: Check out the job ads in the Moscow Times online or come with a global news service, such as Reuters, Dow Jones Newswires, or Bloomberg.


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