studying abroad

Meet The Expats

The expat community around the world is vast and diverse. This week we thought it would be interesting to meet some of the individuals who constitute the expat community and find out where they live and what things they like and dislike about their host country.

It certainly makes for interesting reading.

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1. The Costs Of Living Are LOW In Berlin!

Living in Berlin, Germany, I’m continually pleased to discover that the costs of living are so inexpensive here. What I pay for in rent each month is only a small fraction of what I’d previously paid for rent in San Francisco or in Manhattan. What I sorely miss here is a big English language bookstore, where I can browse thousands of books and magazines, all of which are in my own language. But I compensate for this by just ordering books from Amazon. Not only books: one of the best tips I have for ex-pats living abroad is to order DVDs – they almost always have an English tone option!

Thanks to Tom Churm of Online Clock

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2. When Friends Become Family…

I live in Jerusalem. I love the fact that Israelis are warm, open, and friendly. The expat community is made up of people from many different countries so you literally meet people from all over the world.

What I dislike about living here is that it is very far from my family. It’s a long flight and I realize that when we have kids, I won’t be able to just pop over to their grandparents’ place for a visit. How we deal with this is that our friends become our family here. It’s not exactly the same, but we depend on each other in the same way.

Thanks to Marna Becker of Israel Maven Tours

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3. Dakar – A Mix Of Poverty And Modernity

What I like most about living here: The people are friendly, the weather can get a bit hot but is generally sunny and enjoyable, and the expatriate community is wonderful. There are always plenty of new people to befriend.

What I dislike the most: Dakar is modern by Africa standards but still more than a bit dirty. There are piles of trash alongside the streets and the beaches can be pretty run-down. There isn’t much I can do about these factors, other than avoid them when possible, but I think the best coping strategy is to plaster a smile on your face and enjoy the cultural experience.

Thanks to Rachael Cullins of girl, guy, globe

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4. Culture Surprise!

Marburg, Germany – Although cultural shock may be too strong, there is the occasional culture surprise from time to time! And, since the Atlantic Ocean is so wide, I take advantage of the webcam so that I don’t feel left out of family get-togethers. It’s not quite the same, but it helps. I also find it helps, and is rewarding, too, when I am able to enrich the lives of family and friends back at home by sharing my experiences with them. And, finally, I am happy to report that people are pretty much the same everywhere which is the message I wish to convey by getting the travel game underway.

Thanks to Cheryl Hornung of Heckery Dekkery Dot Travel Game Postcards for Children

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5. Million $ View For $600…

We are living and working at Lago de Atitlan, Guatemala. We love the warmth of the people, tranquility of the lake and gorgeous views, slower pace of life which allows us to reflect on life in general and step out of the day to day routine. We have to live without the convenience of everything at your fingertips like banking or a Target in the United States. You have to plan ahead, we ensured to bring all our chargers, internet cables and noted our daily activities in the US in detail so we wouldn’t forget things that we take for granted.

Thanks to Konrad Rzasa of Travel and Work

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6. Tip: Choose A Place With Americans–You Will Want To Have A Piece Of Home With You!

I have lived in Cuenca, Ecuador, with my husband for 15 months now. We, along with other Americans here love it because of what are called the Four Cs: cost of living (about 1/4 that of the US), climate (never need a heater or AC!), culture (plenty to do here, like concerts and museums, etc) and company (about 2,000 expats from the US, half of them full time). No matter how much you assimilate, when you are older you enjoy being with your own, and speaking your own language.

What I miss most is the lack of supplements and books in English. We have to order things from the US a lot.

Thanks to Susan Schenck of Live Food Factor

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7. Life In Buenos Aires

Living in Buenos Aires is never boring. There is always something going on, from street side buskers to free cultural events hosted by the city government. The city never sleeps and an evening can easily begin at 11pm for a dinner with friends before going to a milonga (dance hall) to dance tango until 6am. However with any big city there is a level of chaos that has to be dealt with. Traffic jams, strikes and noise. But the chaos is why people can often be relaxed about time. There is no rush and no anger if you turn up late to an event, you were probably just caught in traffic!

Thanks to Marlo Perry of Buenos Aires Urban Adventures

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8. I’m Developing Chile….Thoughtfully!

I live in Pirque, Chile, a rural farming and equestrian town (Pop. 16,565) located just outside Santiago.

What I love most about living in this country (sub developed & small) is seeing my impact in almost ‘real time’. I sometimes feel like I came from the future and I have a lot of influence on the way the country develops.

There are many things I miss about my hometown of Washington, DC and the USA from DC’s intellectual humor to our emerging creative economy, but after spending my first winter here, central heating comes to mind first. I learned how to build a VERY good fire!

Thanks to Shonika Proctor of (Teen) Renegade CEO’s

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9. A Bathtub? That’s What You Miss Most?

Since April of 2008, i have been living in the municipality of Jocotepec on the western end of Lake Chapala, Jalisco, Mexico. I moved here when i retired from my job in the US at age 60 because there was no way I could afford to live in the US as a retiree and afford health insurance.

I knew no one here when I moved, but had visited for a week in December of 2007. I was so impressed with Lake Chapala and with the locals and expats here, as well as the beautiful weather, I decided this is where i could happily retire. And I was right!

Thanks to Barbara Hopkins of bigskysouthernsky.wordpress.com/

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10. Taking The Good And The Bad In Seoul

1) I live in Seoul, South Korea
2) What I like most: While I have many of the comforts of home, I’m still living in a foreign country. — Sometimes I find life here so comfortable that I forget I’m 5,000 miles from home. However, I eat new food, get stared at by the locals and have new experiences all of the time.
3) What I dislike the most: A lack of “manners” — Especially the older folks, will push, bump into you and not say anything. They board the subway or elevator before allowing you to get off. There’s not much you can do, so I try my best not to let these little things bother me.

Thanks to Jason Demant of Unanchor.com

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11. Fast And Furious Thailand

1) Klong 6, Pathum Thani, Thailand. It is remote, not many Westerners in our village.

2) The smiling people. Although, verbal communication was difficult, the vibes that the locals emitted were extremely positive. Any type of gesture I made towards a passerby was met with a beaming smile.

3) The roads are fast and furious. Many drivers would take risky chances including crazy passes and fitting into tight gaps at high speeds. The style of driving reminded me of how teens in the States press their luck during their maiden, Saturday night drive when they first got the family car keys.

Thanks to Isaac Rau of iCheapAirfares

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12. Lucky To Be In The Lucky Country

Living in Australia, almost anywhere in Australia, is pretty much a joy. The Aussies don’t take themselves quite as seriously as we Americans, so life is just at a slightly different pace. It is still the land of opportunity with only 21 million people. You still have the chance to start new businesses, be creative, make a name for yourself. And lifestyle is tops! The quality of food and wine is superb – fresh and high quality. Yes, it’s a long way from any where, but I like it that way. Our little ‘corner of the world’. You think twice about going anywhere. And..I’m personally happy!

Thanks to Barbara Nixon of Gisborne Peak Wines

Where do you live and what do you like about your host country? Leave a comment below and let us know.

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