One of the hot topics being discussed on other InterNations forums is 'What's important in an Expats' life?'
Of course, it will really depend on the situation of the expat, who they came with, what they came with and what they wanted from their expat experience, but let's have a discussion and share a few stories. I'll start.
I think my situation is pretty unique, but not uncommon. I arrived to Adelaide with a job at hand, so didnt need to worry about that. The company sponsored my visa, and my transportation costs, and somewhere to stay for a month. I am in a committed long term relationship, as she is still finishing her studies in the UK, and infact, it was her who encouraged me to come here and give me the final push.
As an expat in this situation, I needed friends and a social life. I had always been very active socially and was not a shy person, I'm sure many of you can agree on that. I made sure that I lived in the city to start with, and with a flatmate so that I was not so bored after work in the evenings.
Finding friends has been pretty easy for me because of this set up, always being just 10 minutes away from anything happening in the city. I joined many different groups and forums and made myself always (mostly) say YES when asked to do anything or go anywhere. My low point was when I broke my elbow riding my bike and was out of action for a whole 3 weeks. Can you imagine that? 3 weeks without socialising!
I also think being in a committed relationship, though quite hard at times made it easier for me to meet people. Without the need to think of anything else other than forming a friendship, I was free to be myself without worrying what other people thought of me.
Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, it is now much easier to keep in touch with loved ones from back home. Skype, facebook, emails etc. My mother video calls me every Sunday. Its tough, but I actually see her face more now than I did when I was back in the UK.
So my personal tips:
- be a YES man, dont turn down opportunities to meet others
- find a group of friends you get along with, but dont stop there. Being an expat, friends come and go. I have experienced good friends from Adelaide moving onwards, leaving a hole in my social life. But it can be filled again!
- find time to stay in touch with your roots, set aside a regular time so that you can catch up with friends and family, and tell them everything you have been doing. This way, you wont feel so homesick, and will feel more in 'the loop'
What is everyone else's experience like?