Wendela Elsen


I have been an expat partner for 20+ years and have been professionally active for most of that time in paid employment, in volunteering roles and in my own business. Finding these roles was hard and I felt desperate at times. There was little support and I felt left on my own. As I progressed through my career I started to realise that there were other expat partners with aspirations and frustrations similar to mine. That is when I decided to become an expat partner coach. 

My mission is to support expat partners in finding what gives them professional fulfilment. I am committed to this because I believe that no expat partner should need to give up their professional life or career because of their partner’s overseas assignment. 

I don’t accept that the success of one should require a sacrifice from the other. It doesn’t need to be either/or, it can be and/and.

Does that mean that I believe that the perfect job is always available for the expat partner in their new host country? No, probably not for everybody but with flexibility, creativity and perseverance I believe that every expat partner will be able to find something that will bring them professional fulfilment, whether or not in paid work.

Originally from the Netherlands, I have lived in Taiwan, Japan and the United Kingdom where I now still reside. In addition to having lived in different places, I have 25+ years of experience as an HR professional and have read thousands of cover letters and CVs. I have hired hundreds of people and have given career advice to many people along the way. I know how it works.


Read my blog about my life’s mission here.

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Education and training

I was trained by the Coaches Training Institute in 2007 and by the Coaching Revolution in 2020. I am certified by the International Coaching Federation (ICF). I have a level 3 certificate in Counselling. I have a Master’s degree in sociology from the University of Amsterdam.

OpenRabbit, why the name and logo

When my twin daughters were about four years old they came to our bedroom one lazy Sunday morning and offered to open the curtains. They were speaking in Dutch and instead of saying ‘curtains’ (gordijnen) they used the word ‘rabbits’ (konijnen). Just a few letters’ difference but not quite the same meaning, as I explained to my husband who does not speak Dutch. From then on we talked about ‘opening the rabbits’ when we opened our curtains. From this I took OpenRabbit as a memorable name for my work activities.

For my logo my Japanese mother-in-law, who was a very creative person, drew the picture of a rabbit opening curtains. I wanted to embed my experiences in Japan in the presentation of OpenRabbit and I decided to use the style of a Japanese seal (hanko). Every Japanese adult owns a hanko and it is used as a formal personal signature. Whenever I look at my logo I remember the very special life and work experiences that I gained during my time in Japan.