Author Sarah Turnbull describes the expatriate experience as follows:
"Such is the nature of an expatriate life. Stripped of romance, perhaps that’s what being an expat is all about: a sense of not wholly belonging. […] The insider-outsider dichotomy gives life a degree of tension. Not of a needling, negative variety but rather a keep-on-your-toes sort of tension that can plunge or peak with sudden rushes of love or anger. Learning to recognise and interpret cultural behaviour is a vital step forward for expats anywhere, but it doesn’t mean that you grow to appreciate all the differences."
The life-changing experiences of an expatriate assignment can be profound and only available through the incredible opportunity of living and working outside one's home country. Some have suggested that maybe you need to leave a place in order to really miss it. Through expat eyes we see the world with a whole new perspective, even in situations where the cultural differences don't appear to be as extreme (like going from the U.S. to Canada or the UK). The time away helps to shape who we are, and what we become.
This article shares seven things that only expats understand. Consider them:
- Immigration processes can be a nightmare
- Your diet changes
- Some routines can become big challenges
- You value things differently
- Healthcare is not to be taken for granted
- People back home may see you different (and vice-versa)
- At the end, it is all worth it
For more insights into expat life, try these:
Becoming an expat shapes your personality as it takes you through a journey of life struggles and challenges. Every expat goes through very particular circumstances, but there are certain things that almost all of them will have experienced.