April 28, 2023

Navigating Expat Life: Top Tips

Moving to a new place as an ex-pat can be incredibly exciting, but it usually comes with challenges, no matter where you go. However, learning how to overcome these can help you embrace and fully enjoy your new life overseas.

Deciding to move abroad is a huge decision that involves stepping out of your comfort zone and immersing yourself in an entirely new environment with different cultures, climates, and customs. It is normal to encounter ex-pat problems during the initial adjustment period with so many big changes simultaneously. It could be things like not knowing how to register with a doctor or where to do a UK passport renewal from Australia. It could be that you were not prepared for the heat or the change in pace.

However, being an ex-pat can bring many rewards once you get over the initial culture shocks and have dealt with these challenges. To help you have a smooth transition and better prepare for the adventure waiting for you, we have compiled a list of some challenges you may face and how to manage them.

Top Tips on how to navigate expat life Man with his back to the camera holding a brown bag looking down the path

Learning a language

Obviously, if you move to somewhere where English is widely spoken, it is not a problem. However, if it is a completely different language, it can be tough. Learning the local language is key to reducing frustration and integrating yourself fully into the culture. Look at taking structured language classes with a qualified language teacher to develop your conversational skills and make new friends. You could also explore popular language apps such as Duolingo and complete the tasks as and when it is convenient. 

Understanding the culture and customs

Experiencing culture shock to some extent is an inevitable result of living somewhere you are not familiar with. It can be difficult to understand local humour, adjust to new ways of working, or even learn the etiquette of shopping in the supermarket. This can lead to feelings of frustration, homesickness, and sometimes even regret. However, it is important to remember that these negative emotions are common in the initial stages of adapting to a new culture, and they are all part of the process of adjusting to your new environment. 

A new pace of life

Another challenge that many expats face is adapting to the new pace of life. If you move from a big, bustling city in Asia that never sleeps to a quiet town in Europe that grinds to a halt at 5 p.m, getting used to a slower pace can be frustrating. Conversely, moving from a relaxed environment to a busy one can be daunting. Time, patience, and plenty of research can prove to be incredibly useful.

Not being with family and friends

One of the biggest challenges of moving overseas is not being close to your family and friends. When our days are filled with work, social commitments, family responsibilities, and all of the other obligations we have, it can be difficult to maintain friendships. Even with the best intentions, things don’t always work out. 

Both parties need to put in the time and effort, and this is where technology can really help. Schedule a weekly video call, keep in touch on WhatsApp, or even just share funny videos to show they are still in your thoughts.

Thanks for reading xxx

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About

Hi and welcome to The Willow Tree. I’m Michelle, also known as Shel and I am a mama to three beautiful crazy kids – I have two handsome boys and a wild and wonderful girl.

I really wanted a concrete place to share my love for travel, in particular Disney and offer my readers a chance to gain some knowledge around what we love to do as a family of 5.

I share our family adventures which include days out, travel advice and tips, holiday reviews, restaurant visits and of course, our love for Disney, including Disneyland Paris and Walt Disney World.

Life is about creating memories, and here we are sharing them with you

xoxo

 

 

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