Ah! The romance of living overseas. Meeting people from different backgrounds, exploring new places and being oh-so cosmopolitan! That's what living abroad is like, right?
Well, sometimes yes and sometimes no. Living in a foreign country can also be frustrating, confusing and downright scary! But those who call themselves "Expats" know that it's worth it.
What is an expat?
An expat (short for "expatriate") is someone living in a foreign country for an extended period of time. Those who spend a great deal of their lives abroad are sometimes referred to as "third culture kids" because neither their home culture nor their host culture are really theirs.
These people experience both culture shock going to a foreign country and reverse culture shock when they come "home" again. It may be truer to say that to be an expat is to be a member of an expat culture. There are some things only other expats will understand about your world view and experiences.
Connect with expats
For existing expats or those who are just interested to learn what it's like, there are many sites, forums and blogs that can help keep you up to date. Check these links:
- Expat Forum
Expat Forum is a community of expats that help people move overseas and find jobs abroad. All are welcome to join.
- Expat Network
Expat site for overseas jobs, forums, offshore finance, shopping and community
- Expat Blog, the Expatriate Community
Share your expat experience on expat-blog.com, the online expatriate community. You will find here everything you need to live abroad.
- British Expat - Online Community for Brits Worldwide
British Expat magazine home page - News, humour and information for Brits worldwide!
- Expatriate Living - For The International Lifestyle
The premier website and magazine for expats living or relocating to Great Britain.
Thinking of being an expat?
There are many ways to get yourself overseas and experience expat life. One is to get a transfer through your current job (if you work for a multinational corporation, for example) or find a job that will take you overseas. Consider working at an international school and teach the children of your fellow expats and perhaps locals.
If you are nearing retirement, you may consider heading to a country where your pension can be stretched farther. Check out the video at the bottom of the page from International Living.