Is the Expat Lifestyle Right for You? Points to ConsiderJanuary 18th, 2019 by Holly Godbey | Comments Off on Is the Expat Lifestyle Right for You? Points to Consider
The expat lifestyle can be rewarding and exciting. However, it’s a jump that’s not for everyone. There’s a lot to consider before you take the plunge into a lifestyle that’s far removed from what you might be used to. It’s not for the faint of heart. Here are good and not-so-good things to consider before you strike out into uncharted territory.
1. You’ll see (and live) things totally out of the ordinary.
The expat lifestyle sends many adventurers from the United States and United Kingdom to Asia. These people could be in for a shock, especially if they’ve never visited the continent before and aren’t familiar with the details of each country’s customs. For some, this can be absolutely terrifying. For others, it’s downright thrilling. Whether or not this sounds like something you’d enjoy, keep it in mind when making this life-changing decision.
2. You’re starting over.
For some, a new start is exactly what’s needed. Others might be reluctant to leave their familiar life behind. Think about it. You probably won’t be able to bring all your personal possessions to your new home. Your friends won’t be able to regularly come visit you, unless you have friends waiting for you in the country you’re moving to. Your family might not visit you either. You’ll have to buy new belongings, make new friends, and essentially start a new life.
3. Expats report less stress/more happiness.
According to one survey conducted by MoveHub, expats are happier than non-expats, and feel as if they’re making a good salary for their work. Many say the lifestyle enjoyed abroad is more relaxing and more affordable. After all, the United States has a notoriously bad work-life balance.
4. You might discover a more extravagant lifestyle.
Many who move to other countries for their jobs find their salary goes a lot further overseas than it did back home; they can suddenly afford a whole new lifestyle. When you move to a country where the cost of living is lower, not only will you realize the natives are making less than you, but by comparison, you are making quite the wealthy living, enough to buy luxury cars, take luxury vacations, dress in fine apparel, and rent only the best apartments in high-end buildings.
5. The travel opportunities are expansive.
For many expats, especially those from the United States, the ability to travel to new countries more easily than before is a big perk. For example, when living and working in the United States, it’s a bit of a pain to visit Europe and Asia, as it will take long-haul flights and endless hours of airport transfers, security lines and other hassles. But once transplanted to a smaller country, one surrounded by other unique and interesting nations, you find so much more to explore, and it’s much easier to do. At last, a weekend trip to a foreign country is quite do-able.
6. Attitude is important.
Building on the above, attitude is so vital for an expatriate. You — and your family, if you bring them — are completely alone. Everything is new and you’re relearning how to do things you took for granted in your home country. You might need to speak a new language. Everything is new, new, new and different, different, different. Therefore, it can be hard to not give in to feelings of frustration, loneliness and despair. Having the right attitude can make a world of difference in how your expat experience plays out.
7. What’s the ‘why’ behind your decision?
Before you decide to go live in another country, give it some thought. Why are you making this move? You want to ensure it’s something you really want to do before you plunge in, or else you could end up deeply regretting your decision at a later date. Are you following a significant other? Are you running from a problem? Are you hoping for a magic puzzle piece that will finally make your life the way you want it? Don’t put all your hopes into the expat lifestyle. While aspects of it are enticing, there are possibilities every potential expat must be ready to take on; potential loneliness, starting over, learning new skills, watching people back home move on without you.
“Whatever your reason for considering the expat experience, there are many aspects of the lifestyle to consider. It’s certainly not for everyone, but it can be rewarding in terms of your professional development, wealth accumulation and, of course, your travel goals,” says Jason Hartman, founder of Hartman Media and a globetrotter both for business and leisure purposes for the majority of his career.