Top tips to achieve expat happiness
March 5, 2018
Do you want to relocate to another country? After the initial excitement there is the risk of falling into the routine, and missing a lot of opportunities to discover and enjoy your new surroundings. But, not worry, we tell you our best tips to be a happy expat.
If you are planning an international move, you must know already that you are preparing for an unforgettable adventure, with a lot of thrilling and unique experiences. Of course, leaving your country and moving to another place is easier said than done, and you might have some moments when you are down, and feeling homesick. However, in order to reduce these moments to the minimum – and on occasion of the International Day of Happiness on March, 20th – our intercultural experts want to give you ten tips to live a happy expat life.
Advise from Jorge Gonzaga, Intercultural and Language Services Manager – EMEA
Embrace your new home country with a willingness to learn and discover new things. You are an expat, not a visitor. Your host country is very much your new home country. In order to be happy you need to see it as such. Step out of your comfort zone – by giving into your curiosity you will be able to adapt to your new surroundings.
Advise from Shaila Gidwani, Intercultural and Language Services Manager – APAC
See the move as a journey of self-discovery. Happy expats check in with themselves and reflect on their experiences regularly.
Advise from Alyssa Bantle, Global Curriculum Manager, Intercultural and Language Services
Allow a bad day or two. Cultural adjustment is a process. It’s ok to be down or feel overwhelmed. Just acknowledge the feeling and look for ways to take it a little easier for a few days.
Stay connected back home. Find ways to balance between creating new relationships in your new city and maintaining those back home. This keeps you feeling connected and makes moving back home less bumpy.
Advise from Sarah Britton, Intercultural and Language Services Manager – Americas
Learn the language (or at least a few phrases) of the country. This will not only give you cultural insights but is a great way to connect with others, too.
Talk. Share experiences with those you meet. It will make you feel more “normal” and you will learn from others, too. By sharing your experiences you’ll make new friends and settle in quicker.
Advise from Jo Latimer, Global Manager, Partner Support
Create a daily/weekly routine as soon as possible. Especially for partners who may not be working yet or just finding their feet. A daily routine offers the comforting sense of familiarity in an unfamiliar location.
Keep a travel journal/scrapbook of your ticket stubs, photos, restaurant menus, etc. This is a great way to remember your experience and celebrate what you have accomplished during your stay – especially if you plan to move back home.
Do something (within reason) that you would never do at home. If you can’t dance, take Tango lessons in Argentina. If you can’t sing, rent a karaoke box in Japan. Remember that no one knows you when you first arrive and as the saying goes, when in Rome…
Travel "locally." It can be tempting to focus travels on going back home or exotic top locations. Don't forget to explore the city you are in and even your own neighborhood.
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