@cat1788 Thanks for sharing. I feel your pain. As I mentioned, being creative in what I define as "my field" has helped me find opportunities to use my transferable skills. It is tough to make that mental shift from "what you want to do" to "what you can do", but it can open things up. For your partner, for example, scientific writing or teaching biology (at an English-language school) might be worth considering. Good luck!
@smack I will keep that in mind when I launch my fantasy independent consulting firm.
@oiseau Thanks for the comment and for taking the initiative. Glad to answer your questions briefly. I work on economic policy issues. I did go to fancy school, which helped me get my foot in the door in this competitive field. To succeed you need skills, connections, and work ethic, which are built slowly in the classroom, at internships, and through schmoozing. (I hate schmoozing.) In practice, my work is closer to business consulting. I try to avoid the number crunching side of things -- I find it boring -- even though I do have the skills.
@bluteau Thanks for your comment. I knew I would need a visa to work in South Africa. That was, indeed, obvious. I did not anticipate just how hard that visa would be to get. Bad planning stemming from arrogance? Perhaps. We all make mistakes.