Getting used to a new country as an expat professional arrival

Getting used to a new country as an expat professional arrival

Getting used to a new country as an expat professional arrival

After the excitement of moving overseas and becoming an expat, most new arrivals begin to miss certain reliable aspects of their old life.

Dependent on the culture of the destination country, almost all expats will feel the pangs of separation from experiences which were the norm for most of their lives to date. Perhaps the first to cause a stab of sadness is a lack of close friends, even although most realise cultural differences will alter the nature of friendship in a new land. Women are especially liable for this, but establishing your self in an area with a strong expat presence should help.

If you’ve emigrated alone and are hoping to find love along the way, it helps to realise the man or woman of your dreams is just that – a dream. Relationships formed soon after arrival in a new country rarely last, as the ‘significant other’ may well have many different reasons for linking up with an expat. Another point to remember is that a new career may be difficult to start due to cultural differences or your own inability to make change a reality.

One important issue is language – especially in Asian countries where the culture is inextricably tied up with the language. If you’re moving to find work, a basic knowledge of the local lingo is essential, and if your move is intended to be permanent, taking the language seriously enough to become reasonably fluent is essential. Another essential involves getting used to your new area before committing to a property, as dream homes can easily turn into nightmares almost overnight. Even if it doesn’t feel right not having your own home, rushing into a purchase the minute you arrive can cause regrets at a later date.

Another important consideration is the cost of living, a reality which won’t dawn until you’ve actually arrived. Online comparisons can be useful but can’t cover every lifestyle, leaving new arrivals to either worry how to get by or spend like sailors. For many, living like a local works well, but for others it’s just too different to be appreciated. Getting stuck in your original place of arrival, even although you’ve outgrown it as an expat is another issue, with careful consideration about your next move the only way out.

Persuading your friends and family to visit may sound great, but can often be the wrong move, especially if the invite goes out shortly after your arrival in a strange land. Leaving the invites until you’re truly settled is a better idea for most new expats. Getting used to the local cuisine can be an enjoyable experience or the exact opposite, dependent on your personal dietary preferences. Missing your home country favourites is one thing, but facing up to strange ingredients outside Europe and especially in Asia is another!

One aspect of expatriation hated by absolutely everyone is bureaucracy, wherever in the world it’s found. Rules and regulations in a strange language, a lack of understanding of even simple requests and coping with visa requirements on the run are every expat’s worst experiences unless they’re on reassignment and the company is taking care of the entire mess. Advice on local forums is a good way to deal with this, and many countries nowadays come equipped with visa agents and other helpful businesses which can unravel the knots caused by overactive bureaucrats.

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