Thursday 16th February 2012

Expats need to know when it's time to go home

As we have discussed many times on this blog, there are countless reasons as to why everyone should try living abroad at least even once. Not only will it broaden your horizons, allow you to rediscover yourself and teach you more about the world, it will also improve your resume and improve your skill set. However, there does come a time in most expatriate’s lives when it is time to go home. Perhaps you no longer have positive days and continually question why you are remaining in your host country, or maybe you are slowly trying to extract yourself from the life you have been living in your host country without even knowing why. If you’re unsure as to whether you should continue life as an expat, here’s four signs that it may be time to go home.

1) You start to view all the locals in the same, negative light. Expatriates know all to well that there are often local behaviors or character traits that can be really annoying. Perhaps it is the local people’s tendency to spit on the floor, invade your personal space or push in front of queues. Whatever it is, these behaviors were always there and perhaps they always got on your nerves. However, if it has got to the point that you start to view all the people you meet in your host country negatively and you start to stereotype everyone then it’s time to get on that plane.

2) You have started to drink too much. Every expat knows an expat who is out drinking every night of the week and can’t seem to control their love of the high life. Is that you? Yes, life as an expatriate is generally full of social opportunities and plenty of parties, but if you are finding yourself wandering from one party to the next it may well be time for you to face the fact that the party is over. If you really can’t see yourself enjoying life in your host country without downing one or two drinks in the process, then it really is time to call it quits.

3) You are becoming a recluse. Did you start off living in the center of the city and have since moved further and further out? Do you find that you are no longer interested in the culture and environment on offer in your host city and prefer instead to stick to bars and restaurants that are filled with the type of people you would mix with at home and serve the foods that you would eat at home? Or have you stopped venturing out altogether? If you have lost all interest in your host country and are beginning to shut yourself off from what lies outside your front door, then it may be time to go home. If you are not prepared to explore and get involved with your host country, then you have to question why you are there in the first place. If the answer to this question is ‘money’ then fine, but do try and enjoy life in the process- you only get one shot at it after all.

4) Everything seems better in your home country. If you used to love your host country but are now finding it increasingly frustrating and are continually comparing it negatively with your home country, then it may be time to go back to where you came from. Behind this underlying tendency to find fault with everything in your host country lays the fact that you really are not happy there and you believe that you would be happier back home. If that is the case then the solution is simple, go home.

You may find it as difficult to make the decision to return home as it was to move overseas in the first place. However, sometimes it’s important to know when your time as an expatriate must come to an end, both for your sake and that of those around you.

Do you think there are any tell-tale signs that it’s time for expatriates to return home? Please leave a comment and share them with us.

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