Wednesday, 14 March 2012

The Expat Expectation Gap

Expat Lingo
Expat blogger Expat Lingo shared this lovely cartoon with Expat Explorer earlier this week to demonstrate one little girl’s misconception of moving to Hong Kong. This is a very cute example of a child’s misconception of another place; however it is not just children who miscalculate where they are moving to. Other great examples from Expat Lingo about misconceptions most people have made about places they have never been, such as Australia is like “Crocodile Dundee” and Europe is like a muesli commercial.

A quick search on Google shows that expats from every corner of the earth are having the misconceptions and stereotypes of nations blown out of the water by their own experiences.

Clogs and Tulips posed a question to her guest bloggers:
Before you moved to the country you are in now, what expectations, ideas, (things you thought happened, things people did, etc) did you have then, that proved to be not true at all?

The following answer came from: Tales from Windmill Fields:
That she would hate cycling and that she would be the only foreigner! Both myths were quickly busted after moving to Holland.

The Ex-Expat explains in great detail the importance of appropriate expectation before embarking on an expat journey, and just how much they can affect your happiness and the success with which you make your life there, in her aptly named post: Expectations.

French Expat in Vancouver, Emmanuelle, and writer of Winning Away blog, writes that often when French people want to move to North America, they end up choosing Quebec, because it’ll be more like home. However, she writes that:

“they expect Montreal to be full of French people who happen to live in North America. What they find instead are North Americans who happen to speak French. That’s a big difference in terms of culture!”

Creative Commons: Flickr

When you moved abroad, what were your perceptions? Were they true, or misconceptions? Let us know in the comments box below!


  1. Glad you enjoyed the comic. Thanks for sharing it with others!

  2. This is such a great you mind if I re-ask it over on my blog (giving you credit and a link, of course!)

    I think I expected to live next to my pool. I didn't think I realized that expat life is largely just living your life in another country--I do pre-k drop off/pick up, the laundry, grocery runs, etc. There's very little reading by the pool.

    I have category called culture shock full of "wait, what....?" moments.


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