On being an Expat

Being an expat has definitely given me a wider outlook on life. With all the people I’ve met and good friends I’ve made, I can definitely see a life with a lot of opportunity ahead of me: Not solely because of the connections I’ve made and people I have met, no, it’s much more than that. It’s the intrinsic vision in which you can value yourself, and know that there are more possibilities out there. No one should be tied down to one idea. That’s the same as the “put your eggs all in one basket” mistake.

Personally, I think it’s the fact that living in a place where people come and go all the time; it makes you a stronger, better, more confident person than you once were: you quickly learn that it’s not how people treat you that defines you, but rather the other way around: it’s how you treat other people. People you have never met will call you out on your faults, and others might like you for qualities that irritated people at one point.

That’s what happened to me in any case: before my dad moved away to his expat job, we were a normal family unit in the North East of England. I defined myself by how I was spoken to: how my parents spoke to me, how my friends treated me, and I played the part. I was malleable as a person, maybe not in the best way.

You soon realise that you can meet new people every single day, if you felt like it, and when you realise how different people react to you, you start to see that old, moulded form of a person you were told to be dissolves after a certain amount of time.

Of course, many aspects of you stay, but they were in your nature to begin with. When I say this, I mean the smaller things: not feeling like you’re good enough, social mishaps, bad habits, even your fear of talking to new people. You soon realise that you don’t need these things – they hold you back, and you throw them out – so to speak, just like you would throw out the old, battered, 7-year-old hifi before you filled the shipment container and sent it on a two-week journey across the planet, to your new “home” for the duration of your stay. “I’ll get a nice, new shiny one“, you’ll say. Without realising it, that’s what you’ll be doing within your own psyche. If you’re an Expat reading this, then you might think I’m stating the obvious, or you are soon to realise what I am saying is true, but if you’re thinking of becoming an Expat, or you’re brand new, then you’re sure to be welcomed with open arms. Maybe not from everyone: there are people that are disillusioned with making close friends then losing them to another job after a year, but it’s all about the experience.

You will find that the Expat Community pretty much anywhere you go is extremely diverse, and well respected by the locals, bar just a few countries. In some places it’s a Fringe High Society, in others it’s barely intact, as the locals can be just as if not more fun than the Expats. Oh, and watch out for the excessive partying.

If you’re worried that you’ll lose touch with your friends and family at home, don’t! It never changes with the best people, even after not seeing them for years.

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