Things they did not tell you in the first place…
Adventures! New Experience! A MUST on every CV! It even makes you a better person, and worst-case scenario it is only for a while… Expat life sounds great on paper and it is great, but this coin has a flipside too. Here are some things you may encounter in your expat experience, you probably did not anticipate.
Profound Loneliness and Complete Inadequacy
Loneliness is likely to get you. You are somewhere new, the excitement is wearing off faster than you can adapt at your location of choice, you probably miss home, as a conclusion loneliness and a feeling of not-belonging may get to you.
You are going to be involuntarily funny.
The devil is in the details and it is impossible to shake off all your habits from home and adapt perfectly to your new situation. This includes little things like pumping gas at the gas station and small artifacts in conversations that you can’t shako off, peculiarities that you were not even aware of. People are going to find it ridiculous and won’t get enough out of it. They don’t mean any harm, even if it gets annoying in time. See the upside, laughing brings people together, even if you are the behind of a joke.
Cities are easier as towns
The math is simple, big cities attract many different people, hence there is more anonymity and diversity. Nobody will bother about new arrivals or departures, and you can start your life immediately. In little towns however, where everybody knows everyone, you are going to be the novelty and talk of town for a whole while. In small towns you are probably going to feel more like a stranger, than you would in a big city.
You have no friends
Yes there are people who are going to help you settle in and even look after you, and yes they probably are going to be your friends, but right at the beginning they are not, and that can get scary. Other expats are going to be your best friends in the beginning, because they all know how it feels to be new somewhere, and they are facing similar challenges and that’s what brings us together: similarities.
Simple life tasks are extremely difficult.
Do you want to bake your favorite pie with your grandma’s secret recipe? Calculate an hour-long frustrating supermarket visit until you have all the ingredients, and even then they are probably not the same. Even simple things can be hard at the beginning and may take an unreal amount of time.
Home isn’t going to be the same anymore
New experiences are going to change us and starting a new life somewhere else is a major experience. Whilst coming home and finding everything just as you left it, is going to be comfortable in the beginning, but in the course of time, you will feel estranged from your known home. This can lead to a feeling of losing home before finding a new one, but it’s natural.
do not despair
There are going to be difficulties through every step of life and everything has its downsides, but all the scenarios mentioned above are necessarily bad and shall not discourage future expats, because the positive aspects outweigh some stepping stones by far.