Howdy! I'm Icy.

Manila, Philippines

Hola! I'm Luana.

Sao Paulo, Brazil


How CLA was born

Creative Living Abroad was born in January 2017 as Icy toyed with the idea of launching a blog. She thought that she had been the recipient of many a scholarships and had been asked far too many times how she did it, so why not talk about that? She then launched CLA in February 2017 with a goal to help people consider a life abroad and make it happen through study abroad scholarships.

In May 2017, Icy and Luana agreed to partner up over Indian food. Turns out, Luana was getting the same questions from her circle, so why not collaborate on this venture? Two heads are always better than one.

Our Story

We're Icy and Luana, classmates turned buddies turned housemates turned Ph.D. colleagues turned bloggers! Whew!

We're currently based in Bilbao, a vibrant city with a small town vibe in the Basque Country in northern Spain. Our life abroad started when we got into the same master's program on a full Erasmus Mundus scholarship in 2013. Icy was working as an occupational therapist and Luana in a corporate setting.


We packed our bags and set off to Europe, armed only with a scholarship and wishful thinking. 

Luana had the thirst for travel and novelty but had to balance that out with her mom duties to a then round-faced jet-setting 10-month-old infant Sophie. Icy was eager to make a career change but didn't know where and how to start.

Challenges notwithstanding, we both took the decision to uproot ourselves and move abroad.

After a year of completing part of our coursework separately (Luana in Copenhagen and Icy in London), we both moved to Bilbao to do our third semester and write our dissertations. We settled in nicely in this wonderful city, fell in love with the simple life here, and longed to stay. 

Thankfully, we were able to do so through the doctorate route and are now proud holders of the ever elusive Spanish work permit and residency. What's more, we get to travel extensively in Europe, upgrade our qualifications, build a career, and stay in an amazing city we've grown to love.

We hope this blog can inspire you to dream of your next big Europe adventure whatever your circumstances may be. Whether you're a parent, a career changer, or just someone itching to go out there and challenge yourself by living abroad, we'll show you some tried-and-tested strategies on how to make the big move through the study route and to live a creative and rewarding life away from home. 

Thanks for dropping by and hope you stay a while!