The quicker you integrate into your new culture and embrace your new country and its inhabitants, the more likely your expat assignment will be a success. If you’re planning on moving abroad for work – or even a life change – here are some mistakes to avoid if you want your move to be the right one.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s a long holiday
If your assignment is just for a few years, it’s tempting to view it as a long holiday, but that mindset can quickly prevent you from really settling down. On holiday you don’t deal with the day-to-day frustrations and realities of the daily grind that living in a country for years can bring. You also don’t work hard to establish relationships and put down roots. On holiday, you know you can always move on if things don’t work out. Living in a country is very different. You have to take on all the paperwork, routines and bureaucracy of your new country – things you never confront when you are just spending a few weeks abroad.
Don’t try and stick to your old routines
You might like going to bed early and waking up with the birds – but if you move to Spain or Italy, you’ll discover your old habits don’t fit in smoothly with your new culture. A lot of expats make the mistake of sticking too rigidly to the habits of their previous country and discover it ultimately prevents them from making friends and networking with their colleagues. It pays to follow the old adage – “When in Rome….”
Don’t be too harsh with yourself
Many expats arrive in a new country with a foreign language and are determined to assimilate as quickly as possible – preferring to make new ‘local’ friends and actively avoid expat support groups. Immersing yourself into your local culture is key to your expat success, however local expat support groups can be very helpful with important tips and advice to overcome obstacles that established expats have already experienced. Learning a new language also takes time and can be very frustrating in the first six months. Be kind to yourself and get all the support you need from everyone around you. The more relaxed you are, the quicker you will learn your new language – and make new friends.
Don’t rely on your local partner
If you are relocating because your partner is a native citizen of your new country, don’t make the mistake of relying on him or her too heavily when it comes to translating your new language or ferrying you around. The quicker you can stand on your own feet, find your own favourite places, routes and friends, the happier you will both be.
Don’t try to fix your new culture
Yes, your company back home might have had a better way of doing business or your old barista a more efficient way of making and serving coffee than the one in your new country – but the more irritated you get with the way people are driving or simply living their lives, the harder it will be to settle down in your new country. You will also be creating an us vs. them mentality that won’t help with your adjustment.
If you’re thinking of moving abroad and would like to ensure your move is a success, contact FinGlobal for more information about how to financially make the move and unlock your wealth in your new home.