3 Expat challenges and how to face them
Becoming an expat is as exciting as it is scary. It can go either way: it can be everything you’ve ever dreamed it would be, or a nightmare that you can’t wake up from. How can you find out what it will be like for you? Only by trying, there is no other way. Whether you’ve already been an established expat for years or you’re just flirting with the idea of moving abroad, you’ll be interested in the solutions to these 3 expat challenges that can come up along the way.
Challenge #1: The language barrier
A tough expat challenge, because it can make adapting difficult for you. Not speaking the language of the country you’re in is like a wall between you and the outer world. But don’t worry, it’s a wall that you can break. 😉
Solution: Learn and practice every day. Take language classes before you move and continue them afterwards, until you reach the level you’re comfortable with. You can also spend time learning on your own. There are lots of language learning apps, websites, and books. The key is not to be afraid to jump in and use the little that you do know. Making mistakes is better than not trying at all.
Challenge #2: Making new friends
Many expats complain about this since they often become friends with other expats, who in time may leave to a different country or move back home. Also, making friends is always hard when you’re the new guy, when you have no connections in your new city, and you’re not feeling very comfortable about your life at the moment.
Solution: Meet people like you. Find something you feel passionate about that involves other people and you’ll be able to enter a group that is brought together by a common hobby. It’s a pretty good recipe for making friends that are compatible with you! Whether it’s learning a new language, taking a class, or volunteering, you’ll meet interesting people who in turn will find you interesting.
Challenge #3: Missing your loved ones
It’s one of the most important expat challenges, since it’s the first thing we think about when making the decision of starting a new life in a new country. Can we really do it without our family and friends? If you decide to go ahead with your plans, then you’re willing to try. But you soon realize this is no easy task…
Solution: Call them as often as possible. They say it is easier to leave than to be left behind, so it’s even harder for your loved ones to be without you. You are the one who should take the lead on sharing news, asking for and offering support. Make calling your family a priority to make sure you preserve the great relationship you have with them. Catching up, talking about your joys & challenges, or just small talk will make you feel closer to home.
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