4 things you can learn from expats
In a recent article for The Sydney Morning Herald Ben Groundwater, aka ‘The Backpacker’, discussed his interactions with expats/expat communities and what he thinks it’s possible to learn from them. Here are a few of the things which made the list!
How to be adventurous
We would wholeheartedly agree with this. After all, what’s more adventurous than packing your bags and moving to a foreign country, away from your family, friends and cultural background? Embracing the unfamiliar is a scary thing to do. It takes bravery, commitment and enthusiasm – attributes we can all benefit from. If you’re stuck in a rut and feel that you could be getting more out of life, follow the expat example and take a chance on that job, relationship or business opportunity!
How to make friends
When your established network of friends, family, colleagues and connections are suddenly beyond reach everything can seem that little bit more daunting. Consequently, expats have to make an effort to build up a whole new social group. As the very nature of the expat experience is temporary, many tend to adopt an open and accepting attitude towards others. Although making friends can be trickier as you get older, expats of all ages go out of their way to be friendly and establish relationships with neighbours, co-workers, locals and fellow expats. Going to expat social events, work parties, local celebrations and popular hangouts in your area can all be good ways of making new friends.
Appreciation for another culture
By befriending and spending time with expats you develop a tangible connection to a whole other culture and way of life. They can give you the kind of insight into a place that’s impossible to get from a guidebook or informative website. If you help them to acclimatise to your culture (or teach them about your own, if you’re an expat from a different nation) the odds are they’ll teach you things in return – such as language skills and insider knowledge of the housing market or job opportunities. Furthermore, if you ever visit their home nation you may be able to use connections established through your expat friend to help get set up there.
How to be organised
They say moving is one of the most stressful things you can do, but when you’re moving to another country that stress can increase tenfold. In order to emigrate successfully it’s essential to be organised and tackle every job head on. Some expats have said that the best way to approach the mountain of things to do is to list everything to be done, than break down the list into manageable chunks and double tick every box when complete. If you’re struggling with knowing how to manage all the factors involved in emigrating you might find it useful to sign up to an expat forum and seek the advice of people who’ve been through the process and learnt what not to do!