Expat Life Can Take Some Getting Used To
Advantages of being an expat are many, but there is also another side of expat life
From a professional point of view, working abroad gives any individual a great opportunity to develop professionally. It provides a chance to gain skills and knowledge that are invaluable, not only in terms of career growth, but in personal development as well. Nevertheless, there are challenges to overcome. Initially, learning a language may be an obstacle, but when you finally get to the point of following the basics of what people are saying you will find the rest easy to pick up.
An issue often harder to overcome is in adapting to a completely new culture and environment. Culture shock can hit hard, but eventually when you really get to know your host country (or your new home) and its people, you may realize that such a transition can change you in many positive ways.
There are also anxieties associated with separation from friends and family. In this case the most you can do is take advantage of modern technology to stay in touch, but it may not make your emotional struggle less difficult. What you can do, while maintaining contact with your loved ones, is to make new friends and keep yourself occupied.
There are certain situations that can really make expats miss home, and few more than being sick in a foreign land. Being sick and feeling weak is always difficult, but without the care and remedies that you are used to it can be especially hard. Visiting foreign doctors and taking unfamiliar medications is stressful, and all you can do is simply trust people who can help you. It really takes time for an expat to adjust to such an extent not to be so homesick when sick.
There are also some things that an expat would not consider a problem, but can become an issue when they arise. One of those is the time difference, and the difficulties it may create in terms of staying in contact with your family. Waking up at three in the morning to talk to your loved ones may be fine for a month or so, but doing it for a couple of years will be wearisome.
It takes time to embrace and to adapt to a new culture, environment, foreign products in the grocery store, or even a different time zone. Just keep the faith that, in the end, it all becomes one great lifetime experience.
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