Have you ever been on vacation somewhere special and thought to yourself, “ I could live here!”? You feel like you could get used to the laid back lifestyle in Spain, or the counterculture coolness of Berlin.
The problem with this is that life on vacation somewhere is not even close to what life is in reality if you were to live there. The drudgery of the routine of your everyday life can happen whether you live on an idyllic Greek Island or in your hometown.
That isn’t to say that it isn’t worth it to move abroad and live as an expat somewhere. It can be quite enjoyable and you can really find yourself in exactly the place you should be living. However, it does come with some things that you have to understand. In this article, I will go over the things you need to know about what life is really like as an expat so you can decide for yourself if you want to move.
Many Americans and Brits don’t realize that you can’t just move somewhere because you like it there. You have to be made legal whether it is through getting a work visa or having dual citizenship. Getting the right information on the process of getting a visa and what it allows and doesn’t is the first step to moving abroad.
The destination country surely has a consulate where you live so get the information from them. You likely also will need to be insured privately since you won’t be part of the public health care system. Find the best international medical plans with policies that offer the requirements of coverage that the country in question demands.
Without being set up properly, you may not be able to get to the country at all, and even if you do it will be difficult living the way you want if you are not fully legal there.
Culture and language barriers
On vacation it is quite easy getting around using just English. After all, when you’re a tourist you are dealing with people whose business it is to speak your language.
When you live in that country, there is no obligation for anybody else to speak English. Dealing with bureaucratic matters will be done in the local language and this can be quite challenging if you don’t speak it well. Even getting around on a daily basis when going to stores or going to the bank can be frustrating when you don’t understand what people are saying.
There are also cultural things that you may not understand that cause some friction when you are living there.
It gets lonely
The people may be friendly towards you in your new country, but it can be hard to grow a social circle. This can cause you to feel lonely. At least at first. Eventually you will find your people and create a network of people you call friends.
This is why the first couple of years can be quite difficult and most people end up returning to their home country. If you can get through this period of isolation then you can find your way eventually.