We kick off this month’s Hometown Series with a story of a life well lived in Cancún, featuring the vivacious Belgian polyglot Séverine Naessens.
“Getting the Most Out of Life in Cancún” begins in a suburb of Ghent, Belgium, where the 42-year-old graduated from Hogeschool Gent, the largest university in the Flanders part of Belgium. Her degree was in professional translation to help her pursue a career in business translation.
“When I was 15, I went to Málaga, Spain to study Spanish for the summer,” she said, “and I really fell in love with the language. So I did my university major in Spanish and English.”
In her last semester, she found an opportunity to use her Spanish language skills working for a manufacturing company in Mexico City, which she needed to fulfill her thesis requirement. While there, she spent a week in Cancún soaking up the sun, and that, as they say, was it.
“After I graduated I worked for about six months in Belgium to fund six months of living in Cancún,” she said. “I so fell in love with the place that I decided to come here without a job.”
It didn’t take her long to find gainful employment. Fluent in Spanish, English, Dutch and French, she soon landed a job with a water sports company selling its services to tourists. She worked at the company for about a year, squirreling away enough money to get certified as a Scuba diving instructor.
“I worked as a Scuba instructor for two years,” she said, “and it was the best job ever. I had so much fun. You get paid to do what you like best. I think everyone should have an experience like that.”
Although she loved her job, the physical demands of working six days a week and lugging around the heavy equipment took its toll. A few months later Séverine met the Belgian counsel for the Yucatán Peninsula, who offered her a job as an assistant.
“I started out helping him with a lot of administrative things,” she said, “ but I got bored. So, I started helping him out with his email marketing business and really got hooked on the digital stuff. We ended up becoming business partners a few years later. We were one of the pioneers developing websites and social media to promote Cancún and the Riviera Maya.”
About three years ago, she left the digital marketing firm to go into life coaching.
“I’ve been very lucky to be successful with it,” she said. “I’ve specialized in responsible communication because as a mom I started taking classes on how to make my personal relationship with my 9-year-old daughter, Inari, and my family better. So I started training and then got certified as a parent talk system teacher, which is a system of responsible communication set up by the Institute for Personal Power. I’ve been certified to teach that course and have extended that into life coaching, also.”
You’ll want to know more about Séverine and her life in Mexico’s most popular international resort city, our hometown of the month.