Expats are absolutely great, we know that… but what do the locals think? Of course, no one is perfect, but there are certainly types of expatriates who arrive in their host country and behave in a manner that they wouldn’t dream of reproducing at home. What’s more, in the process they usually manage to annoy both the people of the host country and their fellow expatriates. Are you one of them? Here are seven habits that some members of the expatriate population seem to display wherever they go.
Pointing out how much better things are in your home country
Far too many people relocate to a new country and then spend the majority of the time pointing out how much better things are done in their home country. This can be really annoying for two reasons. First, of course things are done differently; if they weren’t, you may as well have remained at home and/or you wouldn’t be getting paid the big expat bucks for relocating to your host nation. Second, if you prefer the way things are done in your home country, why don’t you just go home. Not only can constant comparions between home and your host country serve to annoy people, it will also slowly start to demoralize you. You have moved overseas, things are different, live with it and embrace it.
Expecting to be treated differently
These guys are actually very similar to the above but they don’t stop at drawing comparisons, they actually expect people in their host country to change the way they live and behave. They simply can’t believe that important government agencies have the audacity to present them with forms that are not in English, they find it insulting that they have to follow strange procedures that they don’t agree with, and they are downright shocked that they are expected to follow the same laws and regulations as the locals: “I am not one of them.” Many of these expats feel so strongly about the fact that they should be treated with more respect that they outright flout the laws of their host country and refuse to tow the line. If the rest of the population are lucky enough, one day these guys do get their comeuppance.
Thinking you know it all, but don’t
Many expatriates arrive in their host country thinking that they know it all already. Perhaps they have done some online research, may have visited the country in the past and may even have attended some familiarization classes. These guys often behave like they own the place and arrive with an air of arrogant smugness and overconfidence that annoys both the locals and their fellow expatriates, many of whom have been in residence for far longer periods of time. Their know-it-all attitude totally grinds and all the passive by-standers can do is politely point out where their information is incorrect and/or wait to see them fall on their arse in spectacular fashion… preferably the latter.
Forcing your negative views on others
Perhaps you have lived in your host country for many years and the excitement of life overseas has long lost its shine. This doesn’t mean that you should ruin the positive outlook of others. All too often these guys display a “been there, done that” attitude that patronizes new arrivals and drains any excitement they may be feeling at the prospect of their new life in a new country. It may be true that there really is nothing to get excited about and that the host country is not all it is cracked up to be, but don’t force this view on others and dampen their spirits. Let them find out the truth for themselves.
Forgetting your manners
Yes, people in your host country are very different to you. They may communicate through an apparent tirade of exchanged shouting, spit on the floor and urinate where they please, but that doesn’t mean you should do the same. Many expatriates seem to develop new habits and behaviors that they wouldn’t dream of producing at home. You should always remember that while you are living overseas you are a representative of your home country and shouldn’t do anything that would put your native bretheren to shame.
Feeling and acting superior
This is very common for expatriates who are relocated on great expat packages and live in poorer countries where there is a strong divide between the rich and the poor. Perhaps you do become somewhat of a local celebrity or have many locals gazing at your car or belongings in admiration. Count yourself lucky that you have such a great quality of life in comparison to them, but do not consider yourself superior. Some expats go one step further and treat the workers they come across with complete disdain and a lack of manners. Always remember that you are no better than anyone else and you really should treat others as you expect to be treated yourself.
Refusing to mix with the locals
Perhaps one of the most common habits of all concerns expatriate’s tendencies to, where possible, limit their interactions to their fellow expats. While it is perfectly normal to want to mix with people who are from a similar background to your own, it is also important that you do try and get to know the country you’re living in well. The best way to do this is through getting to know the people who live there. Not only will this deepen your experience of living in a different country, it will also help you to get to know yourself and understand how your own ideals and habits are viewed and understood by others.
Are there any annoying expatriate habits that you have come across that we have failed to cover? Leave a comment and tell us what gets your gripe.