Here’s the biggest lesson you’ll learn about living abroad. It’s harder than you think it is. Yes, that expat adventure is going to be an absolutely brilliant experience.You won’t regret it and you’ll grow so much and be a better person at the finish line.
But if you are expecting an easy ride, forget it.
That’s the great thing about challenges. If it wasn’t challenging, there would be none of the really good stuff that helps you to grow, develop, improve and be deeply enriched.
It’s a new culture, and you’ll be surrounded by new people. There’s incredible freedom, and it’s an epic journey – but it’s also a place where pretty much no one will know your name. There are hardships, loneliness. You’ll grapple with officialdom, Homesickness,Money, and you’ll find plenty of lessons that you need to learn. Here are 4 of the big ones:
1. Bureaucracy is a bummer
If you have never tried to open an overseas bank account, brace yourself – you’re able to tackle overseas bureaucracy as an expat.
It’s the same with visa extensions, leases you need to sign, or utilities to connect to your place – and a million other brushes with officialdom that will test your nerves.
When you start to deal with public and private institutions as an expat, you’ll realise that something that should involve a 2 minute phone call can turn into an entire day (or three).
Life Lesson: Get ready for the headaches
2. Plans don’t always work out
If you’ve snapped up the opportunity to become an expat, it means you don’t shy away from an adventure or a challenge.It also means you need to give up the idea that things will always go exactly as you want them to.
Once you’ve spent a little time with things getting cancelled without notice, getting tied up in impossible levels of red tape, and everything running behind and off schedule, you’ll start to relax and let expat life flow
Instead of getting frustrated, you’ll smile, understand and embrace your patient side, and let go of the idea that you can control everything all of the time.
Life Lesson: Let it flow
3. Don’t let it flow TOO much!
The Life Lesson about letting things flow is a great one, but it’s important not to take things too far.For instance, when it comes to money, as an expat your supply of funds will almost certainly be seriously limited and stretched.It means you can’t go with the flow too much with your income, assets, living arrangements, investments, and insurance and tax implications.
Even the cost of living can really catch you unawares.For example, the simple act of transferring some of the money you earn in your adopted country back to Australia can cost you an awful lot if you let it flow too much.
Let’s say you now live in Britain.If you just use your UK bank, the Pound to AUD exchange rate can be a real killer.It can make much more sense to use a licensed FX provider, or keep up to date with currency news and forecasts when considering GBD to AUD exchanges.
Life Lesson: It’s your money – don’t blow it!
4. Become a local
Pretty much every expat loves their homeland.”I come from the best country in the world!” is something many expats declare and embrace.And when it comes to Australia, it’s a proud boast with a ring of truth that we all deeply understand.
But expat life is a lot easier if you really embrace the local attitude.Don’t just be local, be A local!If there’s a foreign language … learn it!It will help you to adapt to the important cultural nuances, feel at home and discover all the other little lessons and secrets that will make your adventure less daunting, lonely and scary.
Life Lesson: Live like it’s home
Expat life may be incredibly different to what you’re used to, but wasn’t that the point in the first place?You decided that there are whole new worlds to explore, and brand new parts of you that you want to introduce to yourself and the universe.
You’ll certainly learn a lesson or four along the way!