Riding the Rollercoaster of Expat Life: 5 Tricks to Know
The idea of living abroad may seem exciting for many, but it is essential to remember that it comes with some challenges. There are many reasons why people decide to move overseas; for instance, they may be unhappy with career opportunities in their country or simply feel an indescribable need to change the scenery and have a fresh start somewhere else.
Becoming an expat is indeed a big adventure, but it’s also a two-faced friend: while it provides new experiences and opportunities, the unfamiliarity of everything can feel daunting. You have to deal with the culture shock, adapt to different work practices, and a new way of life. It’s a journey filled with highs and lows – and you should embrace it! If you’ve just moved abroad and have difficulty adjusting, we hope our tips below will help you thrive in your new life.
Embrace your new home
When moving to another country, you will quickly notice that things are done differently or may not be as good as they were in your home country. However, if you dwell on the negative, you will have a hard time adjusting. So, try to be positive and enthusiastic about things.
Get curious and stay open-minded, and you’ll likely discover some incredible opportunities that will help you grow and change your mindset and beliefs, offering you a new perspective on life and the world.
Understand culture shock
All expats experience culture shock when moving to a different country. Even if you speak the same language as locals, chances are, you will find aspects that are very different from your native country. However, even if things feel unfamiliar, it doesn’t mean they can’t be enjoyable. Accepting culture shock as part of the process is essential, so take the time to learn more about it.
Once you do your research, you will find out that culture shock has four stages: joy, resistance, transformation, and integration. Every expat has been through the exact same stages, and it’s normal to experience all the different feelings. Let them be there and acknowledge that you are going through a major shift in your life – ultimately, you will succeed in adjusting to your expat life and balance the culture of your new home to the one of your native country.
Connect with people in the community
In the initial stages of moving abroad, there will be periods where you feel incredibly lonely – especially during holidays. That’s completely normal; after all, you’ve left behind all your loved ones, and now you’re on your own. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t build new relationships! Regardless of the country you moved in, it’s impossible not to find people with similar passions, interests and lifestyles.
Join groups based on your interests, such as a book club, a photography group, a crafting club, a yoga group, and so on. Even if you feel anxious, you still give a shot to some group and see what kind of experiences they will bring. Who knows? You may have the chance to meet lifelong friends by joining such groups!
Learn the local language
The language barrier is a significant challenge for most expats when moving to a different country. And that’s understandable – after all, life can be tough when you can’t communicate properly with those around you. Just imagine facing a problem and not being able to make yourself understood – ugh, that would be so unpleasant and distressing.
To avoid this, you should learn the local language – while Duolingo can help you get started with the basics, we recommend taking a class. Having a qualified teacher by your side will help you develop your conversational skills effectively, making it easier to adapt.
Stay in touch with loved ones
Losing touch with friends and family is an inevitable yet challenging part of moving abroad. In such a fast-paced world, where everyone is always busy with their job and other responsibilities, maintaining friendships can be difficult, especially if they are long-distance. Here’s the thing: your relationships with friends and family don’t have to suffer only because you’re now in a different country. Luckily, modern technology now makes it possible to stay connected with the ones you love through WhatsApp, Skype, and other platforms. As long as you and the other party put in the effort and time required to maintain your relationship, time and distance will not break your bond. Besides, you can always plan a visit home whenever possible.
If you travel to your family in the Netherlands, looking for a Car Rental Schiphol is a good idea to avoid the high costs of taxis or the frustration of relying on public transportation. Besides, renting a car is convenient and will save you time, as you can drive it off right after getting to the airport. If you’re looking for a hassle-free travelling experience, renting a vehicle is the best decision – it’s not only cost-effective but also straightforward. So, don’t hesitate to use a service like BB&L car rental, which is fast and doesn’t require prepayment when booking.
Look after your mental health
Although starting a new life in a different country may seem exciting initially, it can also be incredibly stressful. Hence, taking care of your mental health and indulging in self-care is vital to ensure you will navigate the process without feeling completely overwhelmed. Don’t wait until things get out of control – instead, make self-care a priority, as it is preventative medicine for your mind.
There are different ways to look after yourself and maintain your wellbeing, such as journaling, meditating, spending time in nature, or exercising. Everyone is different, so you must find what works best for you.
Wrapping it all up
Living as an expat is challenging and rewarding at the same time. While it’s true that this experience will give you significant value, it will be hard to settle down at first, and you shouldn’t rush the process. Remember to enjoy the journey instead of forcing yourself to adjust faster.
And don’t forget: even if you get really fluent, make huge progress in your career, or marry a local, you’ll still be an expat – always. But there’s nothing wrong with it – it’s what makes you unique, so take pride in your origins! You were brave enough to defy the unknown, and that in itself is a huge accomplishment!
What does it feel like for you to live as an expat? Do you find it as exciting and challenging as we do?