Linda Ezzeddine

Linda Ezzeddine in Skopelos, a Greek island

Home is a feeling and time has turns


Interview with Linda Ezzeddine, Investment and Immigration Consultant, Managing Partner at Athenian Portal

Linda, please share a bit about your background and who you are.

I was born in Senegal, grew up in Ivory Coast and later in Lebanon. I studied translation in Lebanon. I love exploring new places and cultures. I believe that my name shaped my modest, passionate, direct and strict personality.

My first two jobs were in Lebanon and included coordination with embassies, European universities, etc. I enjoyed that part very much.

This experience paved the way for a career in an international environment later on when I moved to Qatar. There, I worked for the Belgian embassy and then for the Dutch embassy as a Senior Consular Officer.

These jobs kick started my experience in immigration. After seven years in Qatar, my husband and I moved for a year to the Netherlands and then spent a year back in Lebanon.

One year ago, we moved to Athens, Greece. Through all these moves, we understood how difficult it is for a foreigner to find a home in a different country, to understand the system, and settle in.

This was the inspiration we needed, and my husband and I created Athenian Portal to help people do just that. Our marketing campaign was successfully launched last November. Today, we have clients from all over the world!

Linda Ezzeddine
Linda Ezzeddine and her husband Marwan in Ikaria, a Greek Island in the western Aegean Sea

Tell me about the Greece Golden Visa Program.
What are the hallmarks and advantages of this program?

Greece grants the Golden Visa to non-EU persons willing to invest in certain sectors of the economy. The Greece Golden Visa Program is ranked first for its competitive entry level, requiring only €250,000 of investment in real estate or business.

The real-estate could be residential, commercial or even land where agriculture, renewable energy, tourism activities and so on could be conducted.

Greece’s program offers five years residency for the first time then renewed for an indefinite period as long as the investment is maintained. Parents, spouse, children up to 21 years old, and in-laws can benefit from this scheme as well.

This program is very flexible with no requirements to live in the country. More information about this program can be found on our website.

What do you enjoy most when working with international clients?

I enjoy dealing with international clients because they tend to be open minded and adventurous. They are independent and willing to adapt to new cultures. The whole experience is exciting.

I have processed visa applications of people from different nationalities and backgrounds – politicians, businessmen, sport-players, tourists, students, artists and many more.

One day, a family consisting of the husband, the wife, a 5-year-old daughter and a 2-year-old son were travelling to the US. They had planned a one-day transit in Amsterdam and found out late that they needed a transit visa. The travel days were a bit close. In the worst-case scenario, they would have spent more than 24 hours in the airport. Their visas were issued a few hours before their trip.

After they returned, the kids came to the embassy to offer me a card they drew together to express their feelings. I was very happy to be “Spiderman” in their eyes!

Thank you to Spiderman
Thank you to Spiderman

What do you find challenging at times?

I find it challenging to say goodbye to people and friends after some years. What comforts me is that nowadays we can stay in touch via the social means of communication.

What has been your most important learnings from working internationally?

During my childhood, I wanted to be a journalist. I didn’t know why at that time. The image became clearer when I started my career from a translator to an immigration expert. I wanted to be heard and to have broader cross-cultural communication.

I believe international work experience gave me the chance to grow my skills exponentially. I have also learnt that enhancing my emotional intelligence is crucial to be in control of both patience and tolerance.

There is this German concept of Heimat, a word that can be translated to home. What is home to you?

For me home is here. I am quite comfortable on this planet. I like it! I think I will stay for a while.

Seriously, to me home is where I can feel stability, where I can build relations with people, and where I can collect good memories. I have experienced more than one »Heimat« in my life and I will carry these memories wherever I choose to be in the future.

To anyone who is struggling to find home, I tell them »Home is a feeling«.

What is constant in your life? Is there something that adds stability and continuity to your identity?

One big constant is a list of furniture from IKEA which we buy every time we move to a new country. We have bought the same coach three times. In different colours, of course! My husband believes he can assemble the “Nordli” bed frame with his eyes closed. It’s good that I know the parts because I usually have to fix it when he is done (laughs).

Since change has been a constant part of our life, my husband and I have been supportive to each other so that we can face together any challenge. He cares about my success and always motivates me to follow my ambition. This is the real constant in my life. …by the way, the coach is the “Kivik” three-seater!

Is there a personal advice you’d like to share for people who explore options in real estate investment?

To non-EU-investors for whom travel is part of their lives: the Greek Golden Visa program is an opportunity not to miss! The real estate investment is a safe option. No matter what the economic cycle is, people will always need a place to live and a place to work.

The Golden Visa Program may not be an option in the coming years. The US, Canada and the Caribbean implemented similar investment programs in the past. When their economy recovered, immigration to these countries became complicated and quasi impossible.

European policies for the coming years are focused on security, sustainable economy, health and safe environment. These are the most important components any citizen and resident will need. Carpe Diem!

Linda, thank you for sharing your thoughts and ideas on international lifestyle and opportunities in Greece – I wish you lots of success and all the best for the future!

To discover more about the real estate investment and the golden visa program, please surf through the Athenian Portal website.

To connect with Linda Ezzeddine personally, you can follow her on LinkedIn.

The title for this article is a reference to the Greek proverb
Έχει ο καιρός γυρίσματα, κι ο χρόνος εβδομάδες.
The proverb refers to the value of patience and can be translated as
»Time has turns, and the year has weeks.«

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