Thursday, 17 June 2010

The secret to a stress free expat life and why it’s good to talk!

Further to our post on the difficulties that can come with expat relationships, we wanted to take a further look at the complexities of settling in to a new expat life. Living the expat life can often be a stressful experience which is full of change and uncertainty in unfamiliar surroundings. Whilst many find this existence exhilarating, liberating and a welcome challenge, living abroad is definitely not everybody’s cup of tea. So what it is that determines how well people can adapt to life in a foreign nation? A new report seems to suggest that personality and susceptibility to stress may be crucial factors.

Writing for the Guardian, Dougie Marks believes that people who are prone to stress will naturally find it more difficult to settle into a new life overseas. Perhaps more worryingly these difficulties can often lead to many health problems such as headaches, insomnia and a lack of concentration. One of the main recommendations to come out of the report is the importance in developing a social support network as quickly as possible. Being able to call on friends and family is vital but when the nearest relatives may be thousands of miles away, local integration becomes crucial.

As Marks points out “it’s important to take time to make friends locally, both expat and native, to unwind with them and share your problems.” One of the immediate problems that comes to mind is the fact that often new expats find themselves completely reliant on the existing expat community. Obviously these networks provide a source of immediate support and advice but taking time out to engage with locals and really experience their culture can be equally important.

Getting involved with the local community is however not without its challenges and with language barriers, fear of rejection and cultural differences can be an extremely daunting process. That’s why on today’s blog were asking all our readers to let us know of any tips and advice they have on how to make building relationships with the local community as easy as possible. We look forward to hearing you thoughts


  1. The two things that really helped me settle: volunteering in a charity shop and joining a Scrabble club. It meant that I met people from all walks of life, not just people from my office.

  2. Thanks very much for sharing with us!


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