Friday, February 24, 2012

Becoming an expat

Every year thouands of people chose to leave their home countries and become expats.  There are many reasons for this, the most common being work, family and dreams of a better life.  These are the positive things to expatriate for, but sometimes people do not have a choice to expatriate and may go due to expulsion or persecution. 

Becoming an expat is not a decision to be taken lightly, to move to another country is expensive and can be difficult.  There are many issues which need to be considered, housing, schooling (if you have children), transport and most importantly work.  If you are in a situation, where you need to find work to support yourself, much research must be done on this, before you make your decision, especially if you are going to a non-native speaking country.  Also if you are considering to open or start a business, be aware of the potential hurdles and how long it may take to get everything in place.  Other countries do not necessarily work on the same time scales that you are used to! 

In times like these where economies and therefore the people are suffering, to move to another place can be very appealing.  And historically in these difficult times, expatriation will rise as people try to find better conditions.  But on the downside, people can be ‘seduced’ by thinking the ‘grass is greener’.  In this case, you can never do too much research about the living and working conditions, but in these changing times, this cannot be relied on.

To become an expat takes a certain mindset, an adventurous spirit, someone who is open to new cultures and surroundings.  Those who go thinking life will be the same are the ones who end up hating their new life and eventually returning to their old life and country.  It is human nature to stick with what you know, and often you will find expats sticking with their own kind, creating their own communities within their new country.  This is not always a good thing, and kind of defeats the purpose of being an expat!    

Before becoming an expat, think carefully about why you want to do it, is it for the right reasons, do you really know what you are getting yourself into!  Times are hard, and emigrating can seem like a ‘sunny’ option, but it does not always work out like that.  I know!