Living abroad can be one of the most rewarding and thrilling experiences life could ever offer you. It’s a BIG decision to pack up and move to a foreign country. It can be both nerve-wrecking and exciting all at the same time and your adrenaline is always pumping, never knowing what new thing you will encounter today. You will constantly compare and contrast your home to your new home. You will surely find things you love and despise with a passion about your new home and some days will test your strength to keep going or tempt you to run back to your old familiar pillow in your old familiar town.
The term “Expat” sounds so exotic and enticing, it makes you want to run away to somewhere new and discover a new culture. It’s not nearly as hideous as the word “Immigrant”, even though that’s practically what I am without all the official documents. I’ve moved abroad and made a new country my home, but not permanently. Now that I have lived and worked abroad, I can honestly say I think EVERYONE should do it at least once in their lives! It’s like the adrenaline pumping through your veins when you’re about to embark on a dangerous but blood-pumping extreme sport, but in the end it will reward you with the biggest “Hell YES! I just did that!” smile on your face!
Here’s what I’ve learned about being an Expat (in Germany, Europe!)
You will not be the only English speaker! You will meet other tourists and expats along the way! We’re all over the place!
You will always carry a piece of home with you! Home is where the heart is, after all!
You will make Expat friends who all have fascinating stories as to why they’re here or there.
Eventually, Expat friends will move on, but that doesn’t mean goodbye! It just means now you have a new friend to visit somewhere new!
You will have good days that will reinforce your awesome decision to move abroad!
You will also have bad days when you miss your family, friends and the familiar.
Your family and friends will have somewhere to stay for free should they ever come for a visit!
You will become a professional tour guide when friends and family come for a visit!
You will learn that absence really does make the heart grow fonder!
The language might be hard and intimidating at first, but before you know it, you’ll sound like a local!
Your clothing styles will change to fit in and look like you belong instead of a tourist look!
You will have days where you have to defend yourself from other locals who just assume you are a tourist.
You will know all the best hang outs, restaurants and view points in your town and other cities you visit!
Eventually, castles, churches & cathedrals all start to look the same. I know its sad, but its true. But, that doesn’t stop me from still going out on a day trip!
Day trips will be a life saver when your bored! Just get in the car or hop on the train and just GO!!!
Your life will be consumed about going on your next trip, constantly planning to go somewhere new!
You will try to constantly stay busy with work, travel, friends, events, festivals and more just so that that lonesome feeling of homesickness doesn’t creep up on you.
You will love sharing and posting your pictures or writing a blog about your trip so your friends and family can keep up with you
Postcards and stickers are great mementos when other souvenirs are too big or expensive.
You will become a pro at using all forms of public transportation and have the schedules memorized!
You will certainly be stared at by the locals who are either fascinated that you are speaking English or your style is so strange its cause for staring.
You will definitely run into more smokers everywhere. Although it is banned to smoke indoors, it will feel like they are everywhere! Especially directly in front of doors.
You will talk to random strangers when you hear them speaking English! Then, before you know it, you’ll be showing them around town!
There are all sorts of online blogs, Facebook groups and more for expats living abroad for support and comfort
People will constantly ask you WHY are you here!? In my case, everyone just thinks I’m crazy that I left warm & sunny California to move to cold and rainy Germany!
You will learn so much history and it will all come to life when you are traveling!
You have no set date of returning home. You’re just going with the flow!
You might consider moving to another country because you can’t handle routine
People will think your accent is cool, in English or when trying to speak the local language!
There will be days when you just don’t understand why the locals do what they do and you can’t understand how the way you know to do something isn’t more commonly done!
That stigma of waiting until 5pm for a beer will end. All day is beer time! 🙂 Ok, maybe I’m exaggerating but it is ok to have a beer before noon!
Your palate will change to include more foreign cuisines such as Thai, Japanese, Indian, Greek, Hungarian and more!
You will constantly try to stay in contact with friends and family as much as possible, but sometimes its just so hard with the time difference
You will learn to look at your home country with a different point of view
What have you learned about being an Expat?
Be sure to check out other Expat posts!