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The most common expat challenges and how to overcome them

By September 22, 2016October 17th, 2023Emigrate

The most common expat challenges and how to overcome them

September 22, 2016

Expats have a lot to deal with. Moving countries can be very exciting, but it brings a complete culture change with it. Even if you are moving from one English-speaking country to another, the difference in culture, education and just the general ‘way of doing things’ can lead to a lot of unexpected problems and issues.

5 Expat challenges and how to overcome them

The loss of your network

Who do you call when things go wrong, or you want to celebrate something? The loss of your network and close friends can be devastating. The wonders of today’s technology mean your old friends might be just a Skype call away, but time differences and the barrier of thousands of kilometres can get in the way.

How to overcome it:

Set up regular Skype/FaceTime/WhatsApp calls with your old network and friends but also try and join as many clubs and local activities to start building a new network where you are. Of course you want to keep those ties to your home country and old network, but you should acknowledge that a fresh start means new connections.

Financial uncertainty

Moving from one country to another can be very expensive, especially if you don’t have a company sponsoring your move. You could also be moving to a country with a far stronger currency, which means your savings won’t go as far as you imagined they would.

How to overcome it:

Meet with a financial planner or financial consultants who have expertise in dealing with transferring funds abroad. They can give you the most effective advice about what to do with your savings and prepare for your retirement.

Business culture clashes

Countries have very different business cultures and you might suddenly find your easy-going style doesn’t suit the more aggressive approach of your new country. The important thing to do is keep an open mind and be flexible.

How to overcome it:

Observe your colleagues and see what works best for them. You’ll also find plenty of books and blogs advising you about your country’s work culture. It’s advisable to be prepared before you make your move, that way you can find your feet quicker when you arrive.

The language is proving to be a barrier

Moving to a country and learning a new language sounds exotic and often romantic. But when you’re there and trying to negotiate with a cashier or waiter, it can quickly lose its appeal. Fortunately, there are some ways to break through the communication curtain.

How to overcome it:

Start learning the language before you emigrate. There are many Skype and online tutors who can start teaching you the basics. Once you are there, join a local language learning centre or culture group. The ideal thing to do is immerse yourself in the language, rather than isolating yourself in your local expat community. The more you learn of the local lingo, the quicker you will feel at home.

My partner/family is not happy

This is a tricky one. It can take as much as five years before you and your family start to feel like your new country is your home. If your partner is not working, they can quickly start to feel isolated, depressed and homesick.

How to overcome it:

If your partner or children are depressed, you should seek professional help. Your expat community might have a specialist that deals specifically with these types of transitions. You also need to be sympathetic and understanding. Encourage them to accept any invitations out and to join local clubs and activities.

Emigrating is exciting and challenging. It can offer both you and your family tremendous opportunities and experiences, but in order to make the move as smooth as possible, it’s best to be aware of any bumps in the road that can occur – before you reach them.

If you are thinking of emigrating and need any advice about your financial migration, leave your details and we’ll help you out!
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