Expats are people who reside in a country other than their native country. This term commonly refers to professionals and skilled workers who take positions outside their home country independently, or those who are sent abroad by their employers. So, if you want to become an expat for whatever reason, be sure to keep on reading and learn about five things you need to know about it. Check them out!
Communication will be difficult – even in an English-speaking country
Moving to a foreign country can be extremely stressful, intimidating, and nerve-racking, but you know what? The truth is that communication is highly likely to be difficult – even if you do speak the language. This is simply because strong accents, localized expressions, and different customs can be quite confusing – especially if you’re away from home for the first time. For example, even though the same language is spoken in the US and in Scotland, as well as in the UK and in Jamaica, chances are that an American won’t understand a word of what a Scot is saying. The same goes for a Brit in Jamaica, so don’t expect it to be easy just because you speak the language.
Everything will probably take much longer than you expect
Even though being an expat in a foreign country doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll have a hard time adjusting, we must say that everything will probably take much longer than you expect. Even the most basic things such as getting an address and a phone contract can be extremely challenging, as you won’t be allowed to get a phone contract if you don’t have an address, and vice versa. Besides that, your new job prospects might not be ideal in the new country, so make sure to think thoroughly before you make a final decision. This means that no matter how much you hate your current job, no one can guarantee that you won’t end up in the same environment when you move abroad. Of course, you’ll probably regain your standard of living, but it can take a lot of time, nerves, and patience.
You’re likely to lose some good friends from back home
We’re really sorry to say this, but you should know that sometimes an ocean or an entire continent is simply too large an obstacle. This basically means that you’re likely to lose some good friends from back home once you move to another country. Yes, we know that you think that this is absolutely impossible, as you’ve known each other for more than a decade and gone through a bunch of life situations, both good and bad, but trust us when we say that this indeed happens. All you need to do is to accept the fact that some friendships will wither, but you know what? You mustn’t let that stop you from making new friends. There are hundreds of location-based expat groups of LinkedIn and Facebook, so join them and look for new friends to hang out with in a foreign country.
Finding a new job can be a struggle – but not necessarily
As mentioned above, adjusting to your new life in a foreign country can be extremely challenging – even if you speak the language. Of course, being familiar with the language which is spoken in your new country is a huge advantage, especially when looking for a job, but you don’t have to worry at all because there are ways to learn the language and get the job you want. For example, if you moved to Hong Kong and you want to be an English teacher, you must know that a TEFL certificate is required, together with a degree of any discipline from an accredited university. However, you don’t have to be desperate even if you don’t have this certificate, as you can get it at Monkey Tree in Hong Kong. Just check out their courses, see what they have to offer, and you won’t make a mistake.
You may never be accepted
No matter how much you love your new life in a foreign country or how long you’re already there, the truth is that you may never be accepted as one of them. Of course, we aren’t saying that the locals or people you’re working with will hate you or look down on you –don’t worry about that as the majority of people are open-minded and glad to let new people in their lives. On the other hand, you may feel rejected in different areas of life. For example, if you move to China or Korea, the waitress in a restaurant will instantly assume that you don’t know how to use chopsticks, which is why she’ll bring you a fork instead. Some people even weren’t allowed to try on clothes in stores because they may stretch them, which is extremely ridiculous, right? It’s important to say that it’s mostly the case with the elder generations, who can’t accept foreigners and therefore can be hostile towards them.
As you can tell, becoming an expat definitely isn’t the easiest thing in the world, which is why you should bear our tips and guidelines in mind no matter what. Of course, there are no universal rules that apply to everyone, so be patient, open-minded, and persistent and live your life as an expat in accordance with current circumstances!
About the Author
Peter is a lifestyle writer and a recent newly wed living in Brisbane, Australia. After graduating from Australian Institute of Creative Design, he worked as a fashion stylist and also as a freelance writer for few local magazines in Brisbane. Besides writing, he loves shopping, cooking exotic meals and traveling around tropical destinations with his hubby Josh. His future plans are in creating his personal lifestyle blog about everyday life-saving tips. Follow Peter on Facebook and Twitter.
To read more of Peter’s writing, you may visit Voice Boks
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