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Expat Life

Updated on September 8, 2011
Flags at BYU-H
Flags at BYU-H | Source

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.

Byodo-In Temple, Kahaluu, Oahu, HI
Byodo-In Temple, Kahaluu, Oahu, HI | Source

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:

Night view of city
Night view of city | Source

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.


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    • homesteadbound profile image

      Cindy Murdoch 6 years ago from Texas

      Interesting. Another term I had never heard of. I can see where it would be hard to fit into either culture after a while. Thanks for helping me see something new and in a whole different way!

    • amazingchild profile image

      amazingchild 6 years ago from Phoenix, AZ

      Thanks for reading charmike! I think CCT can be helpful in some cases, but there's a danger of flavoring the traveler's perspective before they go. When my family moved to Saudi Arabia the first time we went through a program that gave us some ideas of what to expect, but also scared the socks off my parents. They probably didn't need to be as defensive as they were.

      That said, I can see instances where people are going somewhere radically different from their home culture and they could get some wonderful insights before they go. Some awkward situations could be avoided that way!

    • charmike4 profile image

      Michael Kromwyk 6 years ago from Adelaide, South Australia

      Thanks for your hub amazingchild. I studied international business at uni and found this subject to be fasinating. What's your view on cross cutural training (CCT) prior to departure?