Friday, 28 November 2014

Guest Blogger Series: Introducing… Melinda Gallo

Our latest expat guest blogger, Melinda Gallo, explores what it means to succeed as an expat
Image source: Flickr/ bernavazqueze

As an expat, I inadvertently meet a lot of expats. We always ask each other the same questions: how long have you been here, why are you here, how long are you here for, and what do you do. Many expats have the misconception that the length of time they live in a country is a sign of success. But, I disagree. Success for expats should be measured in how grounded they are in their home, how flexible and resilient they are, how willing they are to discover more, how much patience they have, and how accepting they are of their home.

All expats suggest the same qualities if you want to succeed: openness, courageousness, patience, and flexibility.

Increasing your curiosity
Being open to your new world, including its language, customs, culture, cuisine, environment, climate, and lifestyle is a must. It is your job as an expat to explore your new home and go deeper into understanding it. You cannot remain on the surface: you must dive in completely. While going deeper into discovering your new home, its language, its culture, and its people, you gain a greater perspective of your new home and the locals, but also a greater perspective of who you are, where you come from, and where you want to go.

Increasing your courageousness
Of course, you’ll need courage to take on the daily challenges of living in a new place. But also you’ll need courage to engage with strangers, to look awkward and feel out of place, to mix up your words, and to not know what will happen next.

Increasing your patience
It takes patience to succeed as an expat because you sometimes have to just let things happen. When you move to a new place, you quickly realize that everything happens in its own time, not in your time. Much to an expat’s dismay, most things take more time than you like, such as learning the local language, making friends, getting a job, and finding a home that suits you. Patience is not just a virtue; it’s a necessity.

Increasing your sincerity
When you move to a new place, it’s almost vital for you to take off your mask and be sincere with the people around you. If you don’t speak the language, it’s even more important because you can’t hide behind your words. Because the locals don’t know your history, they can only judge you based on how you present yourself, what you say, and what actions you take.

Increasing your faith
On your journey as an expat, always remember that everything works out for the best. It might not be what you initially want for yourself, but it is always perfect for you in the end. When you drop your expectations, you slip right into the arms of faith, which is exactly where you need to be to succeed in your life as an expat.
Remember that success is not some static point. You succeed as an expat by embracing the experience, opening yourself to discover and learn more, accepting your new home, and showing appreciation for what you like.

Just because you are an expat in a specific location, doesn’t mean you have to stay there. It might take some trial and error to find the perfect location for you.

About the Author

Melinda Gallo moved to Paris a few months after graduating college and has lived in Europe ever since. As an expat, she has lived in France, England, and Italy. For the past few years, she has been living in both Florence and Paris where she continually juggles two languages, cultures, and lifestyles. You can read more about her double expat life in her blog at You can also follow Melinda on Twitter at @melindagallo.


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