Expat is a term that is loosely used to describe people residing in countries other than their ‘home’ country. But what makes a person a ‘real’ expat and do you qualify as one? The word expat is a contraction of the word expatriate, which means someone who has left their home country to live somewhere else.
Expat was a term used to describe people who were temporarily living in a different country to which they were born and raised. But these days, expats often discover they can enjoy a better standard of living and quality of life in their new country and never return home.
Why do people become expats?
People become expats for many different reasons. Often they work for an international company which requires their presence in other international offices. These expats tend to enjoy the ‘expat lifestyle’ everyone hears about – where their living costs are covered by the company. In many cases, they are still paid in their home countries currency, while working in a country with a much weaker currency, so they benefit from the favourable currency conversion.
Other expats are people who enjoy travelling and experiencing different cultures. For them, a week’s holiday in Greece is not enough, they want to live and work and really experience the new culture.
Common expat attributes
Although, as you can see from this blog post, the term ‘expat’ covers a large group of people with many different characteristics, these are some common expat attributes:
- Expats tend to be people with an adventurous spirit who are not afraid to test drive new cultures and embrace new languages
- Expats are often more flexible in their approach to life. They tend to go with the flow, rather than require order and rigid routines
- Expats often have a high level of education and enjoy a higher than average income in order to cover their flight and relocation costs
- Expats generally have a resilient personality. They take cultural adjustments in their stride and bounce back after they encounter obstacles in their path
- Initially, ‘patience’ may not be an expat attribute, but it is one that comes with the territory. The longer you are an expat, the more patient and tolerant you become. These traits are essential if you have to deal with new laws, tax requirements, housing restrictions or anything that requires paperwork in triplicate.
- Expats are generally good communicators. Moving to a new country, even if the language is foreign, tends to be a lot easier if you are not worried about talking to people. Natural communicators gravitate to the expat way of life, whereas people who prefer their own company, and don’t relish interaction, often avoid the travelling lifestyle.
If you’re an expat living in any country in the world and need advice about your financial migration, contact us today and we’ll help you on the path to financial freedom in your new home.
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