Wednesday, 22 April 2015

What kind of expat are you?

The word ‘expat’ conjures up many images for different people; from career focused individuals, adventurers, to families looking for a new life abroad.  As the results of the 2014 Expat Explorer survey revealed, the incentives to move abroad vary for every expat as do their experiences and behaviours once in a new country.  Here’s a lowdown on the types of expats you can expect to meet on your journey – and a few ideas for getting the most out of things along the way!

The nearly-native

You try to distance yourself from the word ‘expat’ as much as you can, with the term ‘local’ deemed to be most appropriate for you by most.  You know the local lingo, socialise with the local community, know where to buy the best food, and where to find bars hidden away from the tourist trail. 

Tips for the nearly-natives: Leave your map at home and get lost; take a wonder whilst listening to music and see where you end up after half an hour.  Who knows what hidden treasures you might discover!

The professional expat

You know your reason for becoming an expat – to further your career prospects.  Expat life for you is dominated by the workplace; exploration and adventure come second.  You tend to socialise with work colleagues more than locals, and your next move will be planned around where your job will take you.

Tips for professional expats: Get your work colleagues together and organise a Friday lunch.  Try a new restaurant and use it as an opportunity to take a break from the office.  

The expat parents

Your move abroad could have been related to a career change, but it ultimately came down to creating a new life for your family, and the desire to experience a new adventure together.  A big part of your decision to move, and the choice of your new home, was the quality of education systems and you’re well versed in the best places to raise children.    

Tips for expat parents: Take your family to a restaurant which serves a type of cuisine your children or spouse may not have tried before – it could mean the discovery of a new found love of food!

The short-stay expat

You don’t see your expat experience as a permanent one, but more of a short term adventure.  You have no shame in sticking to the beaten track – visiting tourist attractions, and taking weekend road trips around the country.  Since you know you won’t be there for long, you’ve picked up a little of the language, and know enough to get by, but fluency isn’t the be all and end all.

Tips for the short-stay expats: Find a group of like-minded expats and take a weekend trip to a new part of the city or country – eat well, drink well, and see what the area has to offer. 

The student expat

You’re lucky enough to have had the opportunity to study abroad, and you’re on a mission to do as much as humanly possible in a short space of time.  The student body of your chosen university provides a hub for social activities, which includes getting to know the local nightlife!

Tips for student expats: Get your friends together at the weekend and do a new activity together.  This could be anything from hiking to cycling around the city – something that doesn’t involve a nightclub!

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