Expat Tales: first-hand accounts from life as an expat
There are many global mobility experts who will advise you on the technicalities of preparing for a global assignment and expat life. But if you want to know how it feels to be an expat, the best way is get them first-hand. Our selection covers some of the key issues that expats face – from family life to homesickness – recounted by people who have been there, done it and blogged about it.
The spouse experience
An international assignment can be more difficult for a spouse than for the assignee. Isabelle, a French expat in Ghana, talks openly about the challenges of life abroad and recounts how she has dealt with it.
Thriving with a young family
Kate Farr, a UK writer and editor living in Hong Kong, blogs frequently about her experiences. She shows a young family can thrive in an entirely different culture, and also how Kate’s editorial background and desire to share her experiences has enabled her to develop a reputation as one of the most interesting and prolific expat bloggers. Known to her followers as Accidental Tai Tai, you can find her here.
The homesickness blues?
Kristen Fellers (aka The Bike Wife) gives an interesting perspective on what she misses. As an avid cyclist, the stunning New Zealand landscapes are a constant source of both pleasure and blog post inspiration – but she can’t help missing California sometimes…
A first interesting take on assimilation into a new culture is provided by Sonja (aka MigratingMiss), a New Zealander who offers 12 things she has learned from living in Spain – and how it’s quite different from taking a holiday there.
Sharrell Cook is a fascinating and articulate lady who left Melbourne to live in India, and has blogged extensively on her experiences. In particular, her list of “10 things she has learned from 10 years in India” is excellent insight for anyone about to set off on a global assignment, particularly in terms of coping with a new and different culture.
Emily Vest also gives some interesting insight into how she has assimilated into the local way of life during her time in Bosnia. Read her post “Becoming Bosnian, Staying English” for an amusing summary of how her new surroundings have changed her (or not).
The professional everyday…
As well as getting used to living in a new country, global assignees will also have to adapt to a different office culture. The ‘Grumpy Goat’ is a British construction consultant working in the UAE who gives us an entertaining and honest peek into what office politics are really like in his adoptive country.