Thursday 10th November 2011

Exploring life in your new country

Earlier on in the week, we published a tongue-in-cheek article that looked at the typical behaviors of expatriates. Expatriates the world over frequently get accused of one thing: failing to experience what life is really like in their host country. Far too many expatriates hide from the reality of life in their new country and spend the majority of their time with fellow expatriates in the local expat pub. If you are one of these people, why not set yourself a challenge and spend a few weeks really immersing yourself in your host country, who knows, you may prefer it! Here are 6 top tips for embracing life in a foreign country.

Live with a local

Of course, if you have a family in tow this won’t be possible, but if you’ve relocated on your own, why not consider flat sharing with a local. You will find plenty of advertisements from people seeking roommates in places like Craigslist and many of them may jump at the chance of sharing with a foreigner. Living with a native will ensure that you can really get to know the people that life in your host country and will form a better understanding of culture, food and relationships. This is an especially good idea if you are attempting to learn the local language.

Make an attempt to learn the language

If you are living in a country that has a different native language to your own then you should try and learn the language. You don’t necessarily have to set out to become fluent but learning a few words and phrases will really help you to become better immersed in your host country. In addition to this, locals always appreciate foreigners who at least try and converse with them in their own language, even if they do it badly.

Eat like a local

Ditch all the western bars and restaurants or those that you would typically use in your native country and hit the local eateries. Not only will this often be much cheaper than eating imported foods, it will also allow you to truly experience life in your host country.

Stay away from expatriate bars

If you move abroad to spend all your time with the type of people you would have spent time with at home, doing the types of things you would have done at home, then you really are missing the point. Try and extract yourself from the same bars and friends every now and again and mix with local people. Not only will this allow you to meet new friends, it will also broaden your outlook and will help you to better understand the country within which you’re living. Of course, you’re bound to want to hang out with people with whom you have a lot in common every now and again, just don’t limit your social time to these people.

Get lost

Close the guidebook and go out and experience your host country without bounds. Ask the locals which parts of the city they think are worth exploring and try new things that you would never have considered before. The guidebooks are a great start, but if you really want to get to no a place, you should get out on your own two feet and get lost every now and again.

Be open to invitations

You may get some invitations to places or events that make you nervous or don’t appeal to you. Every now and again bite the bullet, accept them and go with the flow. Its good to venture out of your comfort zone sometimes and, you never know, you may discover something that you really like to do but would never have considered before.


Have you got any tips for how expatriates can stop being expatriates and enjoy life in their host country as a local would? Leave a comment and share them with our community.


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