Monday, 18 August 2014

Seven signs that you’ve been an expat too long

As we all know, every expat has different plans for how long they’ll stay aboard. Some people decide to dabble for a year or so, while others spend decades travelling from country to country. Many find the place that they call home. But how do you know when you’ve become a truly seasoned expat?  To help, we’ve created the following list of the 7 signs you’ve been an expat too long… 

When you email visiting family members a two page list of all the snacks they have to bring from home
Although you don’t want your family to think you’ve only invited them as a courier, you tell them to fill their bags with all the food and drink you’ve missed.  Don’t forget to return the favour and take them to the best places to get local treats.

Image source: Creative Commons / Himeji Karinto
You think in two languages
If someone had told you this a few years ago, you’d never have believed them but you find yourself thinking in your local language. Not only is this very impressive, but it’s a true sign you’re completely immersed in local life.

When it takes 10 minutes to say where you live

‘My parents are from France but I was born in Hong Kong, studied in Switzerland and spent the last ten years living in India…’ As an expat, people often ask you where you originally came from – when you’ve been globetrotting around the world that’s not always straight forward. Just tell them you’re a citizen of the world!

Having tasted the real deal, you can’t stand the copycat restaurants back home
Whenever you go back to your homeland, your friends suggest an ‘amazing’ restaurant that serves your new ‘local’ cuisine. Unfortunately, you’ve spent years eating the real deal, so it just doesn’t compare and pointing out it’s not like the real thing is rarely a welcome insight...

You’re an expert at juggling your local social life with your international one
It’s tricky trying to balance your day-to-day social life with keeping in touch with old friends but after years abroad you’re a pro at scheduling Skype calls between dinners, bashing out emails on your commute and remembering to send postcards to your family whenever you visit somewhere new.

All the newbies come to you for local tips

It’s a proud moment when you’re the go-to person for new expats. The hidden restaurants, beautiful vantage points and the most interesting places to live – you know it all. If this is you, think about sharing your pearls of wisdom with other expats: visit our  Expat Hints & Tips tool and upload your best ones now!

Image source: Creative Commons / David Iliff

The country you live in is the place you call 'home'
The moment you first realise that the place you’re living now is the place you call home is pretty special – be sure to savour it.


  1. So true! "It takes 10 minutes to say where you live" applies to absolutely every expat. And it's fun :)

  2. This is so definately me and my family. I was an expat kid and now my children are too. It is a wonderful life and a real privilege. Just now filling in applications for the next school (hopefully their last!). On to another adventure in yet another country. How lucky am I?!

  3. So true - mine goes back a few generations so I'm convinced it's genetic! Italian grandmother, born and raised in China, mum born in Turkey, I was born in Scotland and have lived in the US, Japan, Australia, currently Indonesia and on my way back to Japan again next year....


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