Friday, 12 June 2015

Doing your research vs. winging it - What's the best way to approach expat life?

Naturally, some of us are mindful planners, whilst others are more spontaneous in our decision making.  Depending on the kind of expat you are, how you approach expat life will vary, but one thing is for certain every expat is different.  Careful planners might study travel books and learn phrases in the local language months in advance, whereas ‘wing it’ expats might just turn up with enthusiasm and a smile.   So, when it comes to being an expat; is it better to wise up or wing it?



Depending on whether you are a first time or serial expat, your approach to research may vary with life experience.  Serial expats might feel more confident moving somewhere new as they know what to expect when arriving in a new country whereas first time expats may need to carry out some more research before they make the move. 

Certain things left un-researched can often be a pleasant surprise.  Unexpected food markets, cafĂ© culture, and local shopping opportunities are exciting areas of expat life to discover. Uncovering what places have to offer in terms of street food  and local markets can be one of the most enjoyable adventures of expat life.  Furthermore, exploring cities in interesting ways, such as graffiti trails or by the recommendation of locals, can show you the cities in a way that a tour guide could not. 

However there are some things that can’t be left to the last minute.  Sorting out the structural aspects of life, such as finances, finding accommodation, organising a healthcare provider, and arranging suitable accommodation are things that are not worth winging – and planning is crucial to help make the transition as smooth as possible.  If you are planning a move, see how our checklist can help you make sure you have everything you need. 

As well as these areas, it is a wise idea to research into the workplace customs and cultural faux pas of your new host country.  Without doing so, you may find yourself unintentionally offending someone – not the best way to start life as an expat!  Doing some research in advance regarding the language of your host country and learning a few key phrases for your arrival will be extremely valuable upon your arrival.


However spontaneous you may be in other areas of life, winging it all the way into expat life isn’t for everyone – whatever your approach, we can help. Take a look at our expat resources website to see how we can help you plan before moving abroad.  


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