Personally, I’m going to find it pretty difficult to write an awful lot about the negatives to being an ex-pat. Since I made that leap of faith almost 7 years ago, I feel like it was something I was always destined to do and have, for the most part never looked back.
What I will say to anyone who is still thinking about moving abroad is this – give yourself time to settle in! In my experience, it can take at least 12 months when you move to another country, even if your own language is spoken there. If you’re moving somewhere that will require you to learn another language, it could take even longer before it feels like home.
I for one will never denounce my roots. I’m English born and bred and there are a few things I do miss. For instance, I have lived in countries where my favourite things to eat were near impossible to get hold of. Whilst I lived without them, there were times when I would have paid a small fortune for that little jar of marmite, or hunk of mature cheddar cheese!
The other problem I had was missing family. It was just my husband and I that ventured out into the world and for a long while, I missed my extended family even though we spoke often on the phone, and made use of video calls across the internet. Again, this is something I’ve gradually learned to accept and these days I look forward to the long summer months when we’re descended upon by all our relatives. In fact, as nice as it is to see them, it’s also nice to have my own space back as winter draws in.
The only other slight drawback I can let you in on is the pace of life. When I was in England, I lived not far from London and was used to the hustle and bustle that’s synonymous with England. Getting used to the “manana” attitude wasn’t easy. Having said that, on the occasions I have visited my home country, I realised just how lucky I am!
No great long traffic jams just to reach the supermarket. No horrendously long queues once you finally manage to find somewhere to park and shop, and no sense of an intense need to be going somewhere all the time. Ex-pat life isn’t all a bed of roses, but quite honestly, I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Author: Julie Coburn