Here at Expat Info Desk we love living overseas and the majority of our expat guide writers have had the most amazing time sampling life away from their home country. However, expat life isn’t for everyone and while the majority of people who do benefit from a spell overseas do really enjoy the experience, there are some people who do not quite find that their dreams come true.
Here are some reasons why life abroad may not work out for some of our expatriate friends.
1) They move to try and escape their problems
Just been dumped by the love of your life? Found out your wife is having an affair? Lost the job you’ve dedicated your entire career to? If so, think long and hard before trying to ‘escape’ overseas. The most successful expatriate assignments are those that involve the individual moving to a place, as opposed to trying to run away from one. If you have problems at home they won’t instantly disappear because you are living in a different place. In addition to this, if there are some elements of your personality that you are uncomfortable with, e.g. you find it difficult to make friends or are unconfident, don’t assume that you will immediately undergo a personality transplant just because you are in a different place. Yes, giving yourself a new start can help you to learn more about yourself and gain fresh perspectives on life but it won’t automatically mean that you will become a new person overnight.
2) They think life abroad is one big vacation
Living somewhere and visiting somewhere on holiday are two completely different things. Yes, living overseas can offer expatriates a higher standard of living and a chance to live in a hotter, safer, friendlier country but many of the things that get you down in your day-to-day life won’t just disappear because you relocate. You will still have to go to work, you will still have household chores and, no matter where in the world you are, there will be elements of daily life that irritate you; they may be different issues than those you have at home but they will be issues nonetheless. Don’t think you’re heading off into the utopian sunset when you relocate, be prepared to face challenges and be ready to deal with them.
3) They can’t deal with change
If you are the type of person that likes to know exactly where everything is, thrive on familiarity and need conveniences then life overseas may not be for you. When you move to a foreign country you will have to learn to quickly embrace change and accept that some of the everyday products, conveniences and services that you loved so much at home will not be available to you. Expatriates who are unable to deal with this will find that they just won’t survive for a long period of time.
4) They experience separation difficulties
If you are exceptionally close to your family or certain friends then you do have to be realistic when you assess your chances of living your daily life apart from them for a long period of time. How will you feel if someone you are close to falls ill and you can’t be there quickly and easily? Do you really think that you will be able to deal with this? Many expatriates enjoy a little space away from their families but many others fall apart the minute something goes wrong and they can’t be with the ones they love. Be realistic about what you can, and cannot, cope with.
5) They lose their patience
Depending upon where in the world you relocate to, there may be one thing that you will need in abundance: patience. Levels of bureaucracy can vary from country to country but wherever you move to you will find that you have a mountain of paperwork to complete and endless hoops to jump through in order to transition. All of this can be extremely frustrating and will test the patience of even the most laid-back individuals. If you get stressed easily then you may find that all of this can quickly become too much to bear.
Get yourself off to the right start by fully researching the city within which you plan to relocate. Our expatriate destination guides contain everything you need to know about major cities throughout the world and can help you to navigate the difficult process of settling in to a new life overseas.